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Echoes – Week 19 (Jan 18, 2010)

posted by Matt Ward on Jan 18, 2010.

Echoes: Week 19 – Jan 18 2010. This is the nineteenth 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.

What a week! I am still kind of reeling from the devastation that occurred down in Haiti, which actually hits very close to home for me. I’ve already started doing some design work to help drum up funds for the relief work. I’ll be posting more on that, and my own personal connection to Haiti later.

I’ve also been extremely busy with client projects – specifically, I’ve been working on a couple of websites, both of which are approaching completion. I’ll also be posting about those once they’re all done and have gone live.

All told, that’s why it’s been a bit quiet here on the Echo Enduring Blog this week. I do have a long line of content lined up though. It’s just a matter of getting in written, polished and posted. Hopefully you will see more of that over the coming weeks!

Now on to this week’s Echoes!

Logo – Living Grace Lutheran Church

It’s always great to see a well designed church logo that moves beyond the simple cliches that so many of them seem to use – a dove, a simple cross, a globe. This week’s logo is just such an example!

Living Grace Lutheran Church

Living Grace Lutheran Church

Okay, so the logo is not entirely devoid of the cross image, but I’ll cut the designer some slack. The cross is the quintessential symbol of Christianity, so it only makes sense to have it reflected in a church logo. What I like about this one, though, is that the designer didn’t just fall back into the same old version of the cross. Actually, the cross shape is almost secondary. The first thing most people will see when they look at this is the tree.

There is actually a scriptural basis for the tree metaphor. In the book of Acts, the apostle Peter refers to the cross as a tree, and throughout the Gospels, Jesus presents several parables in which he talks about trees. I won’t get into the specifics here, but the image of the tree works very well for a Church.

It also does a nice job of dividing the background of the logo into four quadrants, which are coloured differently, to suggest the four different seasons. This suggests that the church itself is a church for all seasons, or, if reading the metaphor a bit more deeply, for all ages.

Art – Chaos

Even though I got a lot of my inner geekiness out in my “If Photoshop Was Batman, Then Illustrator Would Be…” post, there’s always room for a little bit more with me. So, when I came across this incredible painting of the Joker, I just knew I would have to feature it here in Echoes.



I feel that the composition of this piece perfectly reflects the damaged psyche of the Joker character. The image itself is broken and distorted, just like the Joker himself. At least, we assume that the Joker is broken and distorted. It is entirely possible, however, that he is actually quite sane – and just completely evil. But that’s an entirely different can of worms.

There is something very interesting about the eyes in this one, though. They look almost calm and serene, states of being that are certainly not traditionally associated with the psyco-sociopathic clown. The make-up is also made to look more like paint, which appears to be melting off of the Joker’s face, further suggesting that the maniacal persona is exactly that, just a persona that the Joker puts on.

An interesting idea, and an awesome painting.

Tutorial – Design a Surreal Desert Scene in Photoshop

It’s been a while since I’ve featured a complex photo manipulation tutorial here on Echoes, so that’s what we will be looking at this week. The tutorial is from Tutorial 9, and provides in-depth, step by step instructions on exactly how to create a surrealistic scene using an interesting variety of different pieces of photographs.

Design a Surreal Desert Scene in Photoshop

Design a Surreal Desert Scene in Photoshop

Like most photo manipulation tutorials of this type, this one involves a lot of cutting elements out of their backgrounds, layering them over top of one another and using a variety of blending modes and other techniques to bring them all together into one cohesive looking final image. I don’t find that there’s anything really all that mysterious in this one. It makes some interesting use of levels for some colour adjustments, and does a good job of creating realistic shadows. Basically, though, it’s just a solid exercise in blending different photographic elements.

I also particularly like the techniques from the final few steps, which use some gradient maps and blending modes in order to really brighten up the image and give it that dreamy, surrealistic look. Those techniques are enough, in and of themselves, to make this a valuable tutorial.

I just have one question. Why does so much surrealistic art want to include clocks? Think Salvador Dali…

Website – Denise Chandler Website

Here’s a cool little site that came across in one of the CSS galleries that I frequent. This one has a pretty cool design, with a few interesting features.

Denise Chandler Website

Denise Chandler Website

For the most part, this is a minimalist site. The design elements themselves are relatively simple, and there is not a lot of excess decoration going on, and virtually no texture. Of course, the big, bold header of a question contrasts beautifully against this minimalism, giving the site immediate weight and impact from the moment it opens in the viewer’s browser window.

It’s also the first phrase of what seems to be somewhat self-effacing copy throughout the site. It’s all carefully chosen, of course, and crafted to make it seem like Denise doesn’t take herself too seriously (and she probably doesn’t). I’ve noticed that this is kind of a trend these days on designer sites. I wonder if the humour is beneficial?

The coolest part of this site has to be the bees though. The two very simply rendered little insects buzz merrily around the top of the page. This is a great example of how to give a bit of life to a static design without using flash. The bees exist simply as animated GIFs. Yes, that’s right – animated GIFs. They do still exist, and can have a purpose in the modern web beyond just advertisement banners! Very cool!

Well that’s it for this week’s Echoes. Which ones were your favorites? 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!

And please do keep the people of Haiti in your thoughts and prayers. Thank you.

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Also from Echo Enduring Media:

An Unfolding Tale

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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