Vintages is a premium wine and spirits catalog that is published on a bi-weekly basis. Each issue features collections of products often themed by countries, regions, grape varietals, wine styles or occassions. These collections of products are editorialized and showcased as magazine feature stories. Subject matters tend to get a little repetitive due to the sheer frequency of the publication. For instance, a dominant wine region like Tuscany, is often featured multiple times a year. Sometimes there’s not much new information so we rely on layout and design to create some freshness and excitement. I also like to keep things fresh by trying new photography styles, illustrations, and even custom typography. Come January 2014, I would have been designing these catalogs for five years... which brings us to roughly 120 issues!
Fuse Magazine is a Canadian arts magazine that focuses on social activism and political ideology. It has been around for decades. My stint as art director / graphic designer ran from 2008 to 2010. The magazine ran on a tight budget so there’s hardly room to commission additional photography or illustrations. Most images are supplied by the artists and activists featured in the publication. Quality varied so you had to be resourceful. Sometimes the subject matters are quite dense and complex. It was a great challenge to do justice to the content while creating an inviting environment.
World Wide Mystery Library is an imprint that publishes all types of mysteries but with a penchant for “cozies”. Most of these titles go to a direct to consumer market, so many of the on-shelf retail rules do not apply. This creates enormous freedom for the design team. In addition, it was not a branded imprint, so each title can have its own look and feel, staying true to the story. It also allowed me to work with a huge range of talented people. It was one of my favourite projects to work on while at the publishing house. I was the art director for this imprint for a few years. By my count, we must have created almost 100 book covers. Here are some of my faves.
The "Cheers to 150 Years" campaign was developed for the LCBO in celebration of Canada's 150 anniversary. This integrated marketing campaign included multi-channel promotions ranging from in-store signage design, to packaging design for gifting and enviro bags, to web pages on lcbo.com and mobile app, to Facebook link and canvas ads.
Mira publishes a large deal of mass market paperbacks, which are governed by their own set of design and art direction rules. While on retail shelves, be it independent bookstores or Walmart, each cover is essentially competing for attention against all the others in the same genre. In order for it to succeed, certain visual cues need to be incorporated to help the reader decipher what type of experience is behind the cover, while essence of the story itself needs to be represented as well. I played art director on most of these projects and sometimes pitched in as graphic designer as well. As the art director, I oversaw these covers come to life from concept development with the editorial and design teams; to collaborations with photographers and illustrators; and finally down to overseeing print production, like specifying special print finishes and embellishments.
Every year, Vintages hosts an auction where consigners submit their rare and fine wines for bidding. Along with the grandeur and prestige of the event, Vintages also publishes a collectable auction catalog. In addition to the listings of the offerings, this catalog also feature some of the top notch submissions in provocative photography. For this project, I was the art director. The main responsibilities involved art directing the photoshoot and working with the graphic designer in laying out the 200+ page book. It was a treat to work with such extravagant subjects. Most of these bottles are accompanied with compelling backstories. The beautiful photography is done by Kevin Hewitt.
I love working with different illustrators. This is definitely something I miss since leaving the publishing sector. So whenever I get the opportunity, I try to pitch concepts that work well with illustrations. For instance, this whimsical map of Spain by Jojo Ensslin, the beautiful sparkling wines story and organic wines story, both by Tina Zellmer and the iconic wine critic by Edwin Fotheringham.
Here are some custom title type work by one of my favourite type designers, Hoffmann Angelic.
Here are a series of how-to videos produced for LCBO.com. As the art director, I participated in the planning, story board editing, music selection, art direction for the prop / wardrobe styling and on-set art direction of the video shoots.
LCBO's Chinese New Year campaign showcased a special collection of beverage alcohol products imported from China. Marketing collateral required culturally appropriate design solutions that translated well in multi platforms – from print to screen. Targeted media buys include Chinese newspapers, special edition supplements, web banners for lcbo.com, Skype and niche social media channels. Goal is to drive customers on-line to purchase the collection with limited availability in stores.
The creative direction worked hard to break through the clutter of CNY promotions during this time of year. Inspired by Pinterest and Instagram, macaroon cookies decorated with artful motifs grab attention and elevated the LCBO brand and offerings. Here are some examples of the print and on-line initiatives.
Here are some logos I’ve designed for various clients and organizations.
Next is an imprint that published womens’ fiction. Some of these novels dealt with the grimmer aspects of life, such as aging, relationship problems and family conflicts... which created rich content for cover design. At the same time, it became a challenge... if it looked too depressing, no one will buy it. At least that’s what the marketing and sales department firmly believed in. My role on this project was graphic designer. Working closely with the art director and two other designers, we developed concepts that tried to capture the essence of that particular novel. They often have subtle details and nuances that will hopefully capture a reader's attention, or at least make you linger for a few seconds longer.
Here are some samples of more expressive type work and the projects they fulfilled.
As per the title, these are some unpublished personal work and some miscellaneous projects.