Tag Archives: FIT Alumni

SUCCESSFUL ROMANCE NOVEL COVER ILLUSTRATOR’S LIFE AFTER THE DEATH OF THE ROMANCE NOVEL COVER

For more than 20 years, Leslie Peck, Illustration ’87, painted the covers of romance novels, bodice ripper and genteel love story alike. Although the contents may have been tawdry (Hue wouldn’t know), the covers were often masterful. Take a look at some of those covers in Hue’s summer issue.

But they didn’t come cheap, and, as publishing houses looked to cut their spending, these lush paintings went by the wayside. Peck, looking for a new career, turned to painting the world around her: farm animals, still lifes, potraits. Hue thinks she gets them just right.

See more painted beauties on Leslie Peck’s website.

WHY IS THE NEW AMERICAN AIRLINES LOGO SO ABSTRACT?

In Hue’s summer issue (coming out very soon!), John Malozzi, Advertising Design ’96, explained how he, along with his colleagues at FutureBrand, developed American Airlines’ new logo and brand identity. Hue is excited about the new logo, a beakish abstraction penetrating a diagonal line.

American Airlines’ new logo.

But why is it a good logo? Hue turned to Malozzi’s favorite FIT teacher, Eli Kince, associate professor of Communication Design, to talk about American’s logos over the years. Here’s what he said.

“Fine artists were the original graphic designers. They used to call them commercial artists. When logos first came out, they were literal imagery of products that appeared on buildings and on packaging. American’s first logos were examples of commercial art.

American Airlines’ early, quite literal, logos.

“By 1968, the AA logo had equity. It takes time to build familiarity like this, to convince people to believe in and trust your company. When they get familiar with your logo,  you can make it simpler and more abstract. In Massimo Vignelli’s successful 1968 logo, the ‘AA’ was structurally sound, monolithic, beautiful. The blocky shape of the ‘A’s communicated solidity, dependability, safety, and security. Graphically, we see triangles as dangerous, round shapes as warm and fuzzy, blocks as secure. Of course, people want to fly on a solid airline.

The highly recognizable 1968 American Airlines logo by Massimo Vignelli.

“In the computer age, consumers are ready for even more abstraction in logo design. A modern logo isn’t a combination of colors, it’s a combination of energy. You use color and lines to create vibrations. It’s like a relationship between people: after we get to know each other, the energy of who we are begins to show up. After a while we don’t even see each other, and we know each other by energy or spirit. The abstractness of the eagle form coming out of this vertical line, it says direction, it says this airline is going against the grain.”

 

INSIDE THE JEWELRY DESIGNER’S STUDIO

Independent jewelry designers can often be found at the bench, hammering away at itty bits of metal. But corporate designers work much differently. Charu Mehta, Jewelry Design ’11, associate jewelry designer for the Adelington Design Group, part of Fifth & Pacific (formerly Liz Claiborne), gives Hue Too a rare glimpse into the mass-market design process, using a pair of Kensie earrings as an example.

First, the design team shops at high- and low-end stores for inspiration. They liked these resin earrings—and neon is hot right now—and wanted to create something better.

Back in the studio, the designers make dozens of sketches, based on materials chosen by the product development team. The design director picks the best one—in this case, the one on the lower right. She thought the teardrop shape with just one ring of stones looked special without costing too much.

Next, Mehta makes a clear and informative technical drawing that is sent to the manufacturer.

The manufacturer takes a “first pass” at the earring, and the designers tweak it. In this case, they wanted the blue resin piece to look shinier and asked for it in a range of colors.

Mehta’s work is done when the showroom sample comes in. This piece, in Kensie’s Spring/Summer 2013 collection, sells for $38 at Lord & Taylor and Macy’s.

THE BEST DESIGN JOB YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF

In the Spring 2013 issue of Hue, textile designers and developers at four companies talked about their process. A fifth, Yuko Yamaguchi, Illustration ’10, at Tom Cody Design, didn’t fit in the issue. But Hue thinks her job, and her work, is seriously awesome.

A design by Yuko Yamaguchi that combines floral patterns with a leopard print. Originally the design was much flatter; Cody suggested adding brushstrokes for texture.

The Garment District-based company designs patterns and embroidery—about 200 a week—and sells them to fashion designers high and low. Those clients might use the pattern for one garment or an entire collection. Most similar companies are based in Europe; Tom Cody Design is one of the few American companies in the business.

Cody, who started his company after taking a Textile Design course with Professor Lee Stewart at FIT, employs three FIT-trained illustrators and designers on his team and would look favorably upon applicants from FIT’s Illustration or Textile/Surface Design majors (hint, hint).

A design by Yamaguchi inspired by winter foliage.

Using a computer and tablet pen, Yamaguchi creates two to three patterns per day. Those that Cody and assistant art director Yat Yee Tam approve are printed onto mock garments and shown to clients. The job, though demanding, is a satisfying creative outlet for her.

Yamaguchi finds inspiration from runways and street fashion and just about everywhere else. “I think fashion is related to the economy, politics, art, music, literature, news, psychology, technology, and architecture,” she says.

The catch? She can’t get credit for her designs when they hit the runway. Once a design is sold, it’s treated as the buyer’s intellectual property. It’s sort of like having an affair with a celebrity: You get all the fun but none of the status.

“It’s kind of hard,” she admits, “but the good thing is, you’re not bored. When Yat and Tom accept one of my ideas, it’s so exciting. Where I was working before, I’d suggest an idea and they’d deny, deny, deny.”

An abstract painterly design by Yamaguchi. Fewer colors makes the design more appealing to cost-conscious fashion companies.

COMMENT THREAD: HEADPHONES IN THE ELEVATOR?

In Hue‘s fall/winter issue, etiquette experts Yvonne and Yvette Durant ’72 solve common office quandaries, on appropriate outfits, cubicle decor, and texting during meetings, among others. Our beloved Liz Starin ’09 illustrated the piece.

Now Hue wants to hear from you, gentle reader! We’ll be posting some of the most contentious topics in the coming weeks. This week, let’s talk about headphones:

Please leave your thoughts in the comments field. (Be nice! Hue is a stickler for decorum.)