Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Music To Design By

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A student recently asked me what music I find is good to play while I'm working on design projects. He asked me after liking some of the music I was playing in my Type As Art class the week before. As anyone who knows me knows, music is a key part in both my personal and professional lives so I was happy to create an overview of my approach to scoring my creative sessions. However, the answer is anything but simple and straightforward. Here goes…

If the project is music-related, I typically listen to the artist themselves or bands similar in tone to them. That puts me in the spirit of what I'm designing, of course.

If I'm just starting out a project and am working through the tedious frustrations that can accompany the initial try-and-try-again steps, I need to listen to something calm and soothing – otherwise, I get agitated with the loud or heavy music and switch to silence. Speaking of the latter…

Silence is always a good option to break things up. Never understand its power.

When I reviewed my iTunes catalog and typed out the names of bands and albums I enjoy creating to, I realized there wasn't a true method to the selection madness. However, there are some common elements to be explored here.

I love the Rudy Van Gelder Remaster Jazz Collection on Blue Note, namely:
• Cannonball Adderley, Somethin' Else
• Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers, Moanin'
• Sonny Clark, Cool Struttin'
• John Coltrane, Blue Train
• Miles Davis, Birth of the Cool
• Dexter Gordon, Go
• Hank Mobley, Soul Station
• Lee Morgan, The Sidewinder

Jazz is so discordant, lively, and (by enlarge) wordless that I absolutely love creating to it. You'll notice that the above titles date from the late-40s through the early/mid-60s. There's never been a better era of jazz and Blue Note is king, by far. If you only listen to a few of these, Somethin' Else, Go, and The Sidewinder would be my recommendations.

I also tend to enjoy dark, ambient records like Automaton's Jihad – Point of Order and Brian Eno & Jah Wobble's Spinner. These are both wordless, artistic soundscapes that never fail to do the trick, especially late at night when things quiet down.

Modern indie rock like Chelsea Wolfe's Apokalypsis has found a home alongside other favorites of recent years in Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi's Rome, the The Good, The Bad & The Queen album, Massive Attack's Heligoland, Pelican's Australasia, and *Shels Plains of the Purple Buffalo.

Now, if the process is moving along quite smoothly, I'm fully capable of playing the most brutal metal and kick-ass rock 'n' roll in my arsenal at high volume BUT I must be on a roll in my design while knowing this music will be silenced immediately upon a roadblock of any kind.

And finally, a few great bands that can be played at nearly every moment of my design process – Radiohead, namely Kid A, Amnesiac, In Rainbows, and The King of Limbs, Pink Floyd: Atom Heart Mother, Meddle, Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, and Animals, The National: Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers, Alligator, The Cherry Tree EP, Boxer, and High Violet, and Joy Division: Unknown Pleasures, Closer, and Still (studio)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


(click images to link to website)

I didn't see this coming, I must say: Swissted is a series of posters for punk rock shows in the style of Swiss Modernism as designed by Mike Joyce. Yes, you read that right. Punk and Swiss Modernism together as one. I must say, I'm a fan of several of the designs.

Sure, some of the bands featured are not exactly punk but, regardless, you should check the entire series out here. That they're being sold, royalty-free, is… well, another issue…

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

For Print Only: My DTP Book Project

(click image to link to original FPO post)

"Achingly elegant design elevates metal musician Devin Townsend’s image to a much higher octave in this deceivingly quiet box set. Bejgrowicz visually distills Townsend’s work into a museum-quality presentation, helping us see the melody behind the noise."
– Jessica Mullen, For Print Only

What a fantastic dose of (blush-inducing) love for Valentine's Day! While I don't enter design contests, I did submit this work for consideration by FPO – one of my favorite inspirational design sites on the internet today. Much respect and many thanks for the kind words.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Draw On! (2012)

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Dorothy Frey and the fine art department have been putting on the Draw On! for a couple years now, and this was the first time I had the pleasure of joining in. A great showing of students, adults, and faculty alike worked on figure drawing, mono prints, and still life work – all without the worry of being graded!

I went straight to the sparsely-populated still life room and sunk my teeth into meshing a tea pot, a corn cob, and some beautiful drift wood with my pencil, pen, and ink styling. Normally I don't draw objects that actually exist but after I shook off a little rust (and a few nerves resulting from drawing in public once again), I had a lot of fun hanging out with my fellow roommates. Not until I got home did I realize just how much I was channeling Georgia O'Keeffe and her male counterpart (pun intended) that day! Wow.

Great conversation, pure passion for the craft, and an incredible turnout fueled by pizza and snacks – I left feeling like I better spend a lot more time sharpening my skills (pun intended) for next year's event.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Ice Cube Celebrates Eames

For a set of fun, typographical wood blocks for children of all ages – go here.