Author: Author

I'm a designer living and working in the Kansas City area. I'm into art, design, music, food, adult beverages, auto racing, architecture and more.

Ed Ruscha and Jack Kerouac – Motorized Photographs Of Sunset Blvd. And Other L.A. Streets

Ed Ruscha has always been one of my favorite artists. When I was in Art School at the University of Kansas he had a heavy influence on the work I was producing at the time. Not so much his photography, but definitely his paintings and print works. The video above was Commissioned by The Getty Museum on the occasion of their 2019 Getty Medal to the painter, draftsman, photographer, and bookmaker, Ed Ruscha.

Produced by Matthew Miller the Getty Research Institute’s preservation and digitization of over a million images from Ed’s Streets of Los Angeles photo series. Miller then had Ruscha record a voice over for the piece using excerpts from Jack Kerouac’s “On The Road”.

I think this is a wonderful way to experience Ruscha’s photography of Los Angeles in a new way. If you are unfamiliar with Ruscha’s books I recommend checking them out. If you Google “Ed Ruscha Books”, you’ll be able to find them. Start with “26 Gas Stations”, or “Some Los Angeles Apartments”. They’ll give you a solid insight into where Ruscha’s head was in the early to mid-1960s.

Art or Ads?

Since 2010, Bombay Sapphire has partnered with the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation to showcase artwork from multicultural artists through its Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series competition.

To encourage votes for 2019’s competition, BBDO New York created a Google Chrome extension called Artifier’ that replaces banner ads with works of art. Viewers who see a piece of artwork that catches their eye can click on that painting to vote for the artist behind the piece of work. Voting ended on Nov. 7, but the extension is still available.

I really like what Bombay has done here. it’s a nice workaround if you don’t have an ad-blocker running in your browser. It promotes the artist competition, shows Bombay’s commitment to the arts, and it gets rid of all the targeted advertising that gets rammed down your throat with every browsing session. This is a subtle way to promote the Bombay brand without using heavy-handed advertising tactics. Plus my guess is that Bombay knows after most people install the extension, they won’t turn it off so it will continue to promote the Bombay brand all year. Clever.

Miller Lite The Original Social Media

During the height of the internet boom of the late 1990s and early 2000s one of my favorite TV commercials was the Miller Lite spot “Evil Beaver” produced by Traktor. Like so many ads at that time the commercial was completely insane and unlike any beer commercial being run at the time. The thing is though, it did its job. It was fun, memorable, associated the product with the brand and got people talking. And it was part of a larger campaign that tied everything together with a single tagline “Art Directed by Dick”. All of the Miller Lite spots were well-produced, clever, and really thought out, but “Evil Beaver is the one that stuck with me. (probably because it’s so off the wall)

FAst forward to 2019/2020 and Miller lite has scored another home run as far as I’m concerned. Working with DDB Chicago. they are playing into the current zeitgeist of people pulling away from social media and the backlash of fake followers, likes, and the overwhelming need for continuous engagement in these spaces.

Building on its campaign positioning of Miller Time as the ‘original social media,’ Miller Lite is bringing a limited number of its dark-coloured Offline Cans to bars across the country to inspire more drinkers to take a break from social media and spend time with friends over a beer. The limited-edition matte black cans will be available in more than 500 bars and taverns in 27 states starting this week. Miller Lite’s Offline Can will be supported by two new TV ads, social media (ironically) and a point-of-sale marketing campaign that aims to inspire drinkers to invite friends for a night out over Miller Lite.

In select bars where the cans are available, Miller Lite will reward some drinkers for going offline with their own Miller Lite Offline Can, where permitted and while supplies last. Using Facebook’s new ‘SideFlix’ technology, bar-goers can invite their friends to join them in putting down their phones and ‘going offline’. If the group collectively puts their phones down for 30 minutes, they could be eligible to receive a Miller Lite Offline Can. SideFlix is a digital experience using Facebook Instant Games and Facebook Messenger that offers friends the opportunity to share in a connected experience across their devices when they’re together in real life (IRL).

Both DDB and Miller Lite saw the potential to leverage this technology to encourage and reward ‘device-down’ connection when friends spend time together over beers. Miller Lite is one of the first brands globally to utilize Facebook’s SideFlix and this is a first-of-its-kind experience for Molson Coors Beverage Company. Created by DDB Chicago, Miller Lite’s new 15-second spots, meanwhile, focus on missed connections — people staring at their phones instead of interacting with friends. Like the first ‘It’s Miller Time’ spot, ‘Followers’ that began airing in fall, the new ads finish with the tagline: ‘Here’s to the original social media.’

Sometimes You Have To Toot Your Own Horn A Little.

I have been maintaining this blog site for more than 10 years now, and it has also been a place to showcase my portfolio and resume for freelance and contract opportunities. For the last 5 of the 10 ten years, I’ve been posting to Modular 4, I’ve been saying to myself I really need to create a separate site that is exclusively focused on the work I’ve been doing and remove the portfolio and resume form here. Unfortunately, life just always got in the way. I’d think about it, procrastinate, fiddle around with a new site layout, get caught up in something else, forget about it, try to come back to it and never actually get anything done.

Well, guess what? I finally got off my butt and got something done. The new site for Wade Johnston Graphic Design features projects that I have worked on over the last 10 plus years, and services offered. It took me long enough, but the site is finally live. So I’m tooting my own horn and saying I’m open for business. That’s a bit of a lie though, I’ve been open and doing design business for the last 30 years. That doesn’t mean I’m not open to new opportunities though, so if you need design and advertising help give me a shout. I’ll be updating the new site regularly with new featured projects and projects that showcase specific skills, so if you are interested check back every so often. I’m also in the process of connecting the new SquareSpace site to my social media accounts so new pages and posts should start populating publically soon.

I’ll continue to post here but within the next few weeks, the menu items for my portfolio and resume will be removed. This website will continue to be what it has been for the last decade, a place where I can sound off about whatever I want, however, I want. If you have been one of the people that have read my posts here over the last 10 years, thanks. I really appreciate it.

If you hop over to the new site, I hope you like what you see.

Furniture Lust to Kick Off 2020 – The Woolsey Smart Desk

Four years ago I was lucky enough to be chosen for the IKEA Home Tour when they were here in Kansas City. My video got me a home office makeover that turned out really nice. All of the furniture was supplied by IKEA and the Home Tour Squad spent 3 days redesigning my office. Part of the office makeover package was a sit/stand desk that I have used ever since. BEKANT.

I have to admit I have mixed feelings about the BEKANT Desk that I’ve been using since it was installed. I’ve had to replace the drive solenoid on it twice now, and the controls to raise and lower the desk can be a bit temperamental at times. The slightest variation in pressure and the desk comes to a stop. The work surface is ample, and the motor raises and lowers the desk in a fluid fashion which is nice. The problem is that the desk feels a bit on the cheap side, and when you spend 8 to 10 hours a day sitting or standing at your desk, you begin to think about better quality, or how you can hack your desk to make it feel like a higher quality piece of furniture. The other thing that pops into your head is “Should I just replace it with a better quality desk?”

Yawn

The thing I find true about most sit/stand desks either look like they were designed by an engineer with no value on aesthetics or they have a very traditional look that doesn’t really fit with my personal style. What I want is a really nice piece of furniture with solid cable management, features, with a modern flair. So, I began my quest and while cruising the internet today I came across the “Woolsey Smart Desk” by Sean Woolsey.

The Sean Woolsey Smart Desk is available in two different materials – walnut or white oak allowing you to choose a material that works best with your current office or workspace. The Smart Desk is filled with all sorts of features I love. Cable slots so you can charge devices in the drawers out of sight. The motor control is hidden in the right drawer helping to keep your workspace tidy. The control unit also allows you to program 4 specific stop heights for different users. (very handy for me. I’m 6 foot 4 and my wife is 5 foot 4″) The motors that drive the desk give off very little noise (BEKANT is loud as hell) There is a built-in surge protector. It has a built-in QI Charger for wireless charging. Oh, and did I mention it’s absolutely gorgeous?

Click through to Vimeo to see the entire series of videos on the Smart Desk.

Just look at it. The shape is subtly rounded. Drawer hardware is removed so that the front of the desk becomes an uninterrupted shape. The monitor riser is unobtrusive. Cables are hidden away out of sight. It’s simply stunning.

Clearly, nothing has been left out when designing the Sean Woolsey Smart Desk with real attention to detail in the materials used and the little design touches which set it apart. Sean Woolsey wanted to include everything for the busy professional to stay organized with a luxurious yet functional design that offers everything you will need to keep yourself motivated and creative day in, day out.

I just need to figure out how to afford this. At $3000.00 it’s a hefty investment for sure. If I plan on dropping that kind of coin on a desk it’s going to need to become a family heirloom and something I plan on using for the next 20 years.

Creating Hyper-Real Sports Indents for AD Sports TV.

In 2015 Dubai UAE based Les Follies Design Haus, commissioned Frame to create eight over the top idents for the re-launch of the Abu Dhabi sports channel AD Sports TV. This is a series that I somehow missed when it dropped. The look is absolutely outstanding. The first video below is the behind the scenes recap explaining how Frame pulled this off. The second is the directors cut of the indents.

In a collaboration with Obeida Sidani, Executive Creative Director at Les Folies, Director and Creative Director Anders Schroder at Frame came up with the idea of having top athletes of various sports performing in the streets with the iconic buildings of night-time Abu Dhabi as the backdrop. As they are performing the surroundings would transform into their respective playing fields.

The team at Frame creative directed, conceptualized and animated the transforming floors under the athlete and the particle systems around them.

Anders wanted a still photography HDR look that would be the polar opposite of the popular organic film look with shallow depth of field and handheld camera shake. He wanted to achieve a look that was almost synthetic and videogame-like with extreme angles and razor sharp infinite focus but all achieved in-camera. A look that would be synonymous with high performance rather than the performers themselves.

To take its a step further Anders suggested to recreating this look in live action. The technique is based on the idea of shooting with multiple exposures and then combine them in post. Furthermore, Anders wanted to shoot high-speed with zero motion blur and considering this was a night shoot which added tremendously to the difficulty.

Together with DP Zubin Mistry they asked themselves: How do we shoot fast paced action high-speed, everything in focus, no motion blur, at night, with both the buildings and the sky and athlete fully exposed?

The answer was motion control, an insane lighting package, Master Primes wide angles, Phantom Flex 4K, and lots of compositing. Using the motion control rig they filmed each shot in several passes moving the massive light rigs out of the shot each time background and buildings were being shot. The motion control rig enables the team to be able to squeeze in another cool gimmick; slow motion athletes in the foreground and time lapse cityscapes in the backgrounds – in the same shot!

The result is a spectacular and hyper-real look that feels almost CG-like even though most of it was shot in camera.

The Time Shop for Chick-Fil-A

I’m probably going to be the odd man out here, but I’m not a fan of Chick-Fil-A. Not for politically correct reasons. I simply don’t like their fast food. Now, with that said it doesn’t mean the don’t have some great advertising. Marie Hyon, of Psyop has pulled out all the stops in her latest work for the chicken chain crafting “The Time Shop” which extends the message of “Together Time” that McCann put together for Chick-Fil-A this holiday season.

This is such a great example of excellent copy/script writing, high production value animation, and a well thought out concept being brought to fruition for the holiday season. The video below is the full two minute online version of the piece. I haven’t seen the 60, 30, and 15 edits. It’ll be interesting to see how they maintain the storyline through the broadcast versions, especially the 15 second cut.

Director: Marie Hyon
Executive Producer: Justin Booth-Clibborn
Senior Producer: Suzie Cimato
Assistant Producer: Simone Miller
Designer: Victorior Wanchana Intrasombat, Pedro Lavin, Samantha Ballardini, Felipe Hansen, Robin Joseph, Andrew Serkin, Dionisius Bangun, Marie Hyon
Storyboard Artist: Ben Chan
Lead Technical Director: Briana Franceschini
Previz Artist: Pat Porter, Nick Dubois, Doug Litos,
Modeler: Eric Cunha, David Soto,Anne Yang, Ieva Callender, Briana Franceschini, Brian Kim, Chris Santoianni, Pedro Conti, Kevin Ferrara, Ryan Kirkwood, Casey Reuter, Krista Albert
Additional Modeling: Aldrich Torres, Nitesh Nagda, Leonstudio, Basilic Fly
Look Dev/Lighter: Ieva Callender, Briana Franceschini, Matthias Bauerle, Eric Cunha, Brian Kim, Thao Dan Nguyen Phan, Anne Yang, Kwan Au, Susie Hong
Lead Animator: Pat Porter
3D Animator: Nick Dubois, Doug Litos
Lead Rigger: Zed Bennett
Rigger: Ohad Bracha, Daishi Takishima
Groom FX: Eric Cunha, Ieva Callender, Briana Franceschini, Chris Santoianni
VFX: Eban Byrne
Cloth/Hair Sim: Jordan Harvey, Scott Hubbard, Daishi Takishima
2D Lead: Matthias Bauerle
Compositor: Aaron Baker, Matthias Bauerle, Herculano Fernandes, Manu Gaulot, Lane Jolly, Tingting Li, Carl Mok
Compositor Assistant: Keigo Tanaka
Matte Painter: Felipe Hansen, Pedro Lavin, Marie Hyon
Editor: Loren Christiansen