Project 16 Prompt: Material Design

As some of you may know, the next generation of Android apps are getting a major UI upgrade (think the iOS7 design transition). With that being on the horizon for mobile, tablet, and eventually the next generation of web design, our next challenge is to do a digital redesign. It needs to be either your favorite app or website or a unique digital creation utilizing Google’s Material Design language as the guide!

For those unfamiliar, check out the details at Projects will be submitted throughout the day on Sunday, September 21st. 

Project 15: Earth

Hey guys! Sorry for the delay in my posting, I’m finalizing the move to San Francisco and am now in LA in a coffee shop making sure to post this before it’s late!

So, after spending a couple days at a friend’s wedding in Colorado I lost myself in nature and was in awe of how wonderful natural landscapes could be. Living and working in cities for most of my life made me take these things for granted, which is why my stamps are based on natural landforms. 

These amazing shots were actually taken from the International Space Station, specifically by the Crew Earth Observations. Check out their Flickr page, there’s some rad stuff there. Also, big thanks to Petr Kovar for the wood texture I used for these comps!


Project 15: Stamps - DC Comic Homeworlds

When I think of the artwork on stamps and in stamp collections, I think of stamps full of beautiful scenery. That may be a mix up between stamps and post cards but I put stamps on postcards so any additional though was deemed irrelevant. Having recently finished binging on the Green Lantern animated series, I knew I had to take a stab at my version of Oa and by association, other DC Comic homeworlds. Let me take some time to explain each one and yes, I did a bit of research to help validate certain things.

With it being the homeworld of the Green Lantern Corps and the Guardians, it is always portrayed and will continue to be as green, green and more green. I learned that in some arcs, Oa was mentioned as to be a desert like planet with the Guardian’s city rising out of it. The reason for having such a stark black contrasting the green is to nod to the Green Lantern oath…darkest night yadda yadda yadda.

Krypton is said to have been one of the most technologically advanced worlds so I used the buildings and their adornments to appear futuristic/spacey. Pulling from the mountainous terrain seen in Man of Steel, I added a mountain range and then the piece of controversy is the green kryptonite littered throughout the landscape. Additional research touched on how kryptonite is the substance at the planet’s core so I thought it could be interesting to see it present on the surface, especially concentrated where erosion could’ve uncovered more. I took into consideration that kryptonite is harmful to Kryptonians but found out that in more recent stories, the material is not lethal to them but merely strips them of their powers.

I imagined the Thanagarian soldiers living in and being surrounded by rocks that are reminiscent of Avatar’s “Hallelujah Mountains” (James Cameron’s). They would have great halls and watchtowers high off the ground to give them the greatest military advantage.

Using my knowledge of the Dark Knight trilogy and what Bruce Wayne’s dad said, I chose to showcase Wayne Tower and all of it’s grandeur dead center in the middle of the city.

I got better at illustrating as I went along so see if you can figure out the order in which these were made!


Project 15: Stamps, Lacoste, FR

I’ve been feeling pretty nostalgic lately for Lacoste and France in general. It’s been 3 years since I had the best summer of my life there and although the stamps are pretty generalized, it was fun looking through old photos for inspiration and thinking of all the memories I created there. It also didn’t hurt that I was drinking rosé all the while designing. 

Hope you all have enjoyed your summer!


Project 15: Stamps - NES Edition

For this project, I wanted to create a set of stamps that had some personal relevance as well as create a layout that used each stamp as a puzzle piece of a larger composition. To achieve this, I chose to illustrate one of the most iconic pieces of video game hardware ever produced: the classic Nintendo Entertainment System controller.

Moving forward, I think it’d be interesting to create a set of stamps for each of the milestone console controllers, from Atari all the way through to current gen hardware. 

I hope y’all like them!


Project 15: Stamps
For this project, I chose to make my stamps robot themed since I like robots. I wanted them to be kind of old and vintage-y looking so I hand painted the illustrations with an ink transfer on top and gave them a older off color feel on the mock up. I think its interesting to show the robots, which are so shiny and mechanical (obviously, since they are robots) in a handmade, rough setting. I am trying to get off the computer more so I figured this was a good place to start! 

Project 15: Stamps

For this project, I chose to make my stamps robot themed since I like robots. I wanted them to be kind of old and vintage-y looking so I hand painted the illustrations with an ink transfer on top and gave them a older off color feel on the mock up. I think its interesting to show the robots, which are so shiny and mechanical (obviously, since they are robots) in a handmade, rough setting. I am trying to get off the computer more so I figured this was a good place to start! 


Project 15: Limited Edition Chicago Forever Stamps

For this project, I wanted to pay homage to the city that’s been so inspiring for me - Chicago! Each stamp refers to Chicago in some way or another. Visually, I wanted to contrast the relevant, single-weight line drawings that are popular today with the color schemes and textures that give the stamps a rich, retro personality. This was such a cool and interesting project. I hope y’all enjoy!


Interview with Mark Manalaysay

As some of you know, our fellow LSo member Mark is moving onto greener, fruitier (har-har) pastures; an apple orchard to be specific. Okay, I’ll stop with the lame fruit jokes. But Mark is leaving the Mid-west for the best coast, California and taking a job as a Creative at Apple. We couldn’t be more happy and proud of Mark! However, he will be sorely missed. 

Describe your path to where you are now.
I first started off at a very traditional high school in Philadelphia, to the point that it was called a college prepatory school. The curriculum’s ultimate goal was to have us all end up in ivy league colleges and get positions like politicians, lawyers, doctors. Basically income focused jobs that were very respectable. I never wanted that. Even though it seems oddly mature at the time, 17 year old me didn’t know what he was doing, but he knew that he wanted to work a job where he loved doing what he did every day. Which lead me to decide to apply for and go to SCAD, which lead me to Razorfish and now finally my new position at Apple.

Did you always know you wanted to do something creative?
Yes I did! That was the one main thing I knew I wanted to focus on. Being honest here, I didn’t know initially what said creative field I wanted to do. It first started off with Photography, then Graphic Design and then finally Advertising, specifically Digital Art Direction.


If you weren’t a creative, what do you think you’d be doing right now? What was your childhood ambition?
Well, for some strange reason, which even know I don’t really know why, I’ve always wanted to be an astronaut. When I was a kid I loved space to no end, loved NASA and tried so hard to convince my parents I needed to go to Space Camp (they decided against it). When deciding in high school what major to choose for college, initially I wanted to do Psychology or oddly enough Theology. Psychology because I am always genuinely interested in people and love figuring things out. Theology was a more interesting one. It was less about the religious aspect and what really drew me to it was the historical aspect of it, that we have these stories that have lasted thousands of years to our modern day. In the end I decided towards art school, because I was too lazy to read all the textbooks that were considered required reading.

So, no big deal, but you’re the new Interactive Designer on Apple…how does that feel?
It’s a wonderful honor. I am excited to start my new job and working with my new team, who seem really awesome. It’s going to be scary working with the best of the best, but I think I’m up for the challenge!


Apple has always lead the way not only in terms of technology but design both product and UI. How do you feel about the trend of flat design?
I like it, especially considering that we have now gone away from skeuomorphism and stuff is much simpler and easier to figure out. But, I feel like that comes at a price and a lot of websites and apps I’m experiencing now try to make themselves too simple to the point that they compromise the usability. I get it guys, it’s nice to keep things minimalist but if you’re telling me that the thing I want to accomplish is hiding past two menu states it makes things annoying.

What will you miss the most about Chicago?
Well, the most obvious thing is all of my friends and people close to me here. After graduating college I feel like that’s when your adult life truly begins and I’ve been lucky enough to have a lot of awesome people here who I can proudly say will be connections that will stick to me for the rest of my life. So that sucks leaving everyone here so unexpectedly. I will miss having one of the best public transportation systems out there and how the grid system made navigating the city so painless. It’s tough transitioning but I know that while this chapter of my life is coming to a close there’s a new one waiting for me which will be as good as this one.


And what’s on your bucket list of things to do before you leave? Besides getting patio beers with me….
Buying any and everything that’s Chicago related. Apparently not too many people from the Midwest end up over on the West coast, so I need to rep my pride as much as possible. That means going to all of my favorite shops and grabbing as many trinkets and souvenirs as I can. Additionally, I am basically trying to eat my way through all of Chicago’s best restaurants, which means I’ll probably gain ten pounds by the time I move at the end of the month, but it will be so worth it.


Sorry Mark, but you know how much I love cheese stix. Let’s pour one out for the homie!


Project 15 Prompt: Stamps

For project 15, we’ll be creating series of Limited Edition Forever Stamps! The guidelines are pretty straightforward, create at least 4 stamps for your series and be proud of what you create. If all goes well, perhaps we’ll be able to see them sent all over the country! The content and themes can be anything but must be cohesive. 

Submissions will be posted throughout the day on August 31st so be sure to stay tuned! In the meantime, check out our latest project below or head on over to our archives to see where we began.

Project 14: Book Covers - Tucker Max

For this project, I went and chose a favorite author and Chicago native Tucker Max. This is how he explains himself on his site:

"My name is Tucker Max, and I am an asshole. 

I get excessively drunk at inappropriate times, disregard social norms, indulge every whim, ignore the consequences of my actions, mock idiots and posers, sleep with more women than is safe or reasonable, and just generally act like a raging dickhead…”

As you can see, his books aren’t really that family friendly. In fact, here’s some quotes people have said about his first book, which he put on the first page as an introduction on his second book:

We protest everything about Tucker Max and what he stands for.”

"I usually like people. I truly pray that something terrible happens to you. You will end up drinking fire as the devil fucks you in the ass. Enjoy the line-light you alcoholic walking Petri dish."

"Your book made me laugh so hard I pissed my goddamn pants. I literally pissed in my pants. I don’t even do that when I’m drunk."

So that being said. coming from the guy who went and did Cards Against Humanity of course I would be one of the people who would love his humor.

Regarding my direction towards these new covers, I followed a concept that a lot of us in advertising follow called bent/straight. You see, when you have a book title like “Assholes Finish First”, the ideal way to make an impact is to marry that with an image that seems innocent on it’s own, but makes sense when you pair them together.

Each book is a collection of stories, but there’s always one story which stands out above the rest:

In “I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell” that’s The Austin Road Trip, where he and his group of friends end up in a mythical strip club.

The “Assholes Finish First” is Tuckerfest, where fans of his work throw him a celebration gathering which includes an amateur wrestling match.

Finally in “Hilarity Ensues” there is the “Miss Vermont” story in which he has a dysfunctional relationship with a beauty pageant winner

These summaries do not do these stories justice, so the good news is that a lot of his stories started up on his website and can still be viewed for free.

Who knows, considering how active the guy is online, I’m sure he might possibly find this unwarranted redesign and tear me a new one. You have no idea how excited I am if that happens.

Project 14: Book Covers - Ayn Rand

In recent years, these three Ayn Rand books have made the rounds with their anniversary edition covers so I wanted to take a stab at my own. I find myself reacting positively in bookstores to covers that jump out at me because of their colors alone so that is one of two reasons I went so bold. The other is that they serve to prompt a more definitive emotional response to contrast the lack there of in Rand’s writing style (can be argued but not with me please). I imagined the brightly colored portions to have the extra-vibrant velvety finish that you can find in stores today. That’d make them extra sexy!

For the iconography that takes center stage, I wanted them to portray the the spark that can insight someone’s mind to be different, a sample of a medium by which many people become second-hand individuals, and a means to the end of a cause, whether it be to build up or break down.


Icon Sources: Newspaper by Jens TärningFlame Icon by iconoci

Project 14: Book Covers- Dr. Jekyll, Frankenstein, and Dracula

For the book challenge I chose to do pixel Kindle covers to three classic books that I felt all went together: Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, and Dracula. I had a pretty fun time trying out using the pixel textures as a means of illustrating and hopefully will be able to incorporate using it more in the future!