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Echoes – Week 10 (Oct 27, 2009)

posted by Matt Ward on Oct 27, 2009.

Echoes: Week 10 – October 27, 2009. This is the tenth edition of my weekly Echoes posts, in which I feature some of the best work that I have found on the web. Features one logo, one piece of art, one tutorial and one website.

This week’s Echoes is a bit late. Sorry about that. I’ve been a little under the weather lately and on Sunday night, between coughing, trying to finish up a design and convincing my daughter that going to sleep was actually a good idea, the evening just sort of evaporated on me… I also seemed to develop a bit of Pink Eye on Sunday, so Monday evening I went to the hospital in hopes of seeing a doctor quickly and getting some antibiotics.

Six hours later, I got home at almost midnight, in no condition to finish this post.

So here it is – Tuesday – and I am finally finishing it off! I really do apologize for the delay. Anyhow, let’s get on to the Echoes before something else goes wrong! (kidding… I think).

Logo – Eighty Three Studios

This week’s logo – for a company called Eighty Three Studios – is a nice and simple play on the configuration of numbers. It’s a really basic design, but it has a lot of impact.

Eighty Three Studios

Eighty Three Studios

The playfulness here isn’t too hard to see. Basically, we have the cut off 3, superimposed over the 8, essentially compacting the two digits from 83 into a single mark. This also works very nicely because it gives precedence to the 8, which comes before the 3 in our number. So , in a sense, the mark actually emulates the number 83.

I also really like the colour choice here. That lighter sky blue is really bright end inviting, and contrasts really well against the black. On the other hand, though, the logo does not rely on colour and could very easily be changed into a greyscale or even a pure black and white format.

Art – Wrath

This week’s piece comes from a series that I have been admiring for some time now – The Seven Deadly Sins by Marta Dahlig. In this series of seven paintings, the artist personifies each of the culturally famous seven deadly sins as a woman. In this case, we have Wrath.

Wrath by Marta Dahlig

Wrath by Marta Dahlig

Pretty isn’t she? Each of the pieces in this series uses a single basic colour scheme to represent each different sin – in the case we have a strong red, representing anger. The artist also employs strong visual metaphor. Notice the barren landscape in the background, as well as the destructive energy in the lightning bolt and the fiery hair. Additionally, the whip in her hand suggests wrath and anger by means of corporal punishment.

All of the paintings in this series have that kind of attention to detail. The other thing they have is an incredible rending of cloth and fabric. Each sin is appropriately garbed in some sort of dress, and the artist shows and incredible ability to render complex folds in the cloth. Personally, I appreciate this all the more because it’s something I have definitely struggled with in some of my own art.

So yeah. The sins themselves – not so cool. These metaphorical representations, though, are totally awesome. You can check out the rest of the series over on DeviantArt.

Website – Design an Album Cover Using Spectrograms

One thing that I would like to be doing more of as a designer is CD covers. As somewhat of an amateur guitar player, I have a strong love for music, and I don’t think that I will ever fully embrace the concept of buying music online, from places like iTunes, because frankly, I love having a nice, solid CD case to stick on my shelves. I also love having beautifully printed CD covers and jackets to look through. Our tutorial this week will show us how to make a CD cover.

Design an Album Cover Using Spectrograms

Design an Album Cover Using Spectrograms

The tutorial actually has a really cool idea for how to achieve this particular effect. Basically, it starts with a program that will create a Spectogram – a visual representation of sound – out of a WAV file. It’s an interesting starting point for a design, and a great reminder that sometimes we need to look beyond the obvious, everyday sources of inspiration, toward something a bit different.

As for the actual design, while you may find that it is really pretty simple, it is also quite stunning. I especially like the way that the spectograms are given a slight angle and the way the big, bold title is partially obscured by the lowest spectogram. It’s a really cool effect.

The tutorial also goes beyond just the creation of the cover art. It also shows you how to create a simple photo manipulation, placing an image of a CD case onto a textured background and then adding in the cover art and some reflection. This makes a really nice effect for presentation purposes. With the use of Smart Objects, it could also make an interesting way of creating a portfolio. Definitely worth checking out!

Website – Futon Media

For this week’s website, I actually went looking specifically for a site in which the design revolved primarily around the excellent use of typography. In my search, I found Fulton Media, a wonderfully beautiful site in which the minimalism really emphasizes the choice of type.

Futon Media Website

Futon Media Website

There is really not a huge amount going on in this site. The home page explains a bit about Futon Media, the About page provides biographies of the two guys behind the website and the blog – well the blog is a blog, though a bit sparse and not updated in a few months.

What I really like about this site is the nice, almost chocolaty brown colour in the background and the way it contrasts against the bold, serifless type. The text is also nicely blocked into three even columns, creating a wonderfully symmetrical look to the design on the home page. The other pages are a bit more open in their concept, but still equally as elegant.

What this site really showcases is the real power of typography as a design element. Aside from some simple horizontal rules, there is actually no “graphical” elements to the design on the home page. Even on the other pages, the graphics are kept to an absolute minimum, all to startling effect. Nowhere does the design feel lacking or incomplete, in spite of its lack of graphics. The variation in the weight, size and colour of the text is enough to create visual interest. That’s pretty incredible in this age of graphically rich – and in some cases graphically over saturated – web design!

One last thing on this subject. A while back, I wrote a post called Quick Tip: Simple, Glossy Text in 3 Easy Steps, in which I outlined a method for creating simple, glossy text similar to the big, bold header text on this website. Be sure to check it out if you want to know how to add just a bit of flair to your text.

Well that’s it for this week’s Echoes. Hopefully next week’s will be on schedule. As for this week, which ones were your favoirtes? As always, if you know of any designs, tutorials or art that merits being included in a future post, feel free to let me know about it!

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About the Author

Matt Ward is a digital artist who lances freely under the moniker of Echo Enduring Media, and specializes in graphics design, illustration and writing. He is also the Creative Director for Highland Marketing, a creative direct marketing company based out of Waterloo, Ontario. You can follow Matt on Twitter

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Oct 28, 2009

justBcoz says:

Wow! Marta’s work is incredible …

Oct 28, 2009

Matt Ward says:

Hey Sue! Yeah, mind blowingly talented. I wish I had half that skill!

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