Hey friends! I haven't been blogging regularly for a while, what with a lot of life happening recently, moving from Denver to the SF Bay Area, settling into a new and exciting city. However, I want to make an effort to begin sharing more of the process behind my work, whether cursory looks at simpler projects or in-depth step-by-step process documentation. When I started working on this project for Swissgear, it seemed a perfect place to start.
If you're unfamiliar with SwissGear, they're a pretty widely distributed manufacturer of travel gear—backpacks, suitcases, etc. The project brief was to emphasize mobility and versatility and how the product can help maintain a mobile lifestyle despite the summer drawing to an end and everyone buckling down to work after their vacations. A traditional lettering style ended up being the best route, but I pitched the textural approach of using many strokes to evoke motion and connectivity, visually incorporating some key thoughts from the brief.
As usual, I started with hella scribbly sketches, beginning with tiny ones to work out basic composition of lettering and photography, and gradually getting larger as I fleshed out the letterforms. My process isn't very glamorous, but it's particularly unglamorous during the "tiny scribbles" stage.
In keeping with the truth that a freelancer wears many hats, I also directed the photo shoot to match the sketches compositionally. I guess I can add "Director of Photography" to my résumé—look out, Hollywood. This means I also had to use the backpacks, which the agency asked me to do as part of the project anyway. I'd been using a canvas Frank & Oak backpack, but I actually upgraded the heather gray 5311 ScanSmart backpack to my day-to-day. It isn't unwieldy but has a gazillion pockets, to keep the iPad, MacBook, sketchbooks, cords, camera, and pencil collection from jumbling around, and the heathered texture gives it that slightly classy vibe even though it emphasizes practicality. I also tried out the 6752 ScanSmart TSA bag, which is slightly more austere but larger, and can fit a week's worth of stuff. I preferred the heathered 5311, but my girlfriend co-opted the 6752 as her day-to-day and it's worked pretty well. I think my favorite thing about the backpacks is that they're the kind of bag that you can take to Yosemite for the weekend and then dust it off and take the BART downtown on Monday to lunch with a friend and then work for a few hours at a coffeeshop because you have your entire office with you on your shoulder. Which I in fact did. All in all, a great day-to-day bag in the 5311, and then the gargantuan 6752 ScanSmart TSA that I'd take on a flight to Alaska or something.
Anyway, back to our regularly scheduled programming. With photos in hand, I revised the sketches to fit the visuals and pulled them into Illustrator to vector it up. All those little strokes were a time-consuming task, using a mix of Illustrator Blend Tool wizardry and manually pen-tooling it as a form of self-torture. I tried to vary the gaps a little to maintain that feeling of motion and avoid weird gaps that distract from the composition.
And there we have it—2 pieces for a social campaign, from start to finish.