Illustration

Nipponpaint Automotive “LOOP”

Director/animator Kakeru Mizui has created an animated short for the Nippon Paint Automotive Coatings division that develops new paint colors for the company. I’m not going to claim to understand the logic behind this. It’s titled “Loop” and is being presented as a “brand film”. I don’t get the brand part of it, and that’s OK. Maybe it’s something that is getting lost in cultural translation between my American Brain, and his Japanese creativity. None the less it is a wonderful animated short that feels heavily influenced by the late illustrator Charlie Harper. It also has some 1980s color pallets and gradients going on which pair nicely with the illustrative style of the animals and other nature elements. Does it make me want to buy paint from Nippon Paint Automotive Coatings? No. It does however have me watching this for the third time now.

A Campaign for Alzheimer’s Research

4 years ago this December my late mother had a stroke that affected her ability to read. She tried to describe what was going on, but couldn’t put into words how her brain was failing to process the words on the page. She used the phrase “jumbled” on more than one occasion but always said it was more than that. I could never fully wrap my head around what she was going through no matter how hard I tried. All of this leads me to the ad campaign shown below.

This is such a simple concept and executed so well. Produced by BBDO in Düsseldorf, Germany this campaign for Alzheimer’s research visualizes the confusion and fading memories Alzheimer’s patients experience in a way that the average person can instantly understand. Using the metaphor of a jigsaw puzzle reinforces how the memory slowly fades away piece by piece and how finding a cure for Alzheimer’s is truly solving a giant puzzle.

Great imagery, combined with simple and direct copy nail it. The only thing missing is a statement on how the viewer can help the Alzheimer’s Research Initiative.

Agency: BBDO, Düsseldorf, Germany
Chief Creative Officer: Wolfgang Schneide
Creative Managing Director: Kristoffer Heilemann
Executive Creative Directors: Daniel Haschtmann, Tobias Feige
Creative Directors: Sebastian Steller, Jacobo Concejo
Art Directors: Martino Monti, Dejan Handjiski
Jigsaw Idea: Alma Haser
Copywriter: Sebastian Steller
Post-Production Company: Stefan Kranefeld Imaging
Photographer: Stefan Kranefeld

How To Be Alone – for the On Being Project

Having recently gone through the loss of my second parent, I can tell you that even though you are surrounded by loved ones and friends, you are at times overcome by a complete sense of “aloneness”. And it’s OK. The feeling will sneak up on you and be triggered by the smallest of things. You are caught up in a memory, and then reminded that you are in a sense an orphan even though you’re still married, have siblings, close friends, and extended family.

Today while catching up with the latest On Being podcast I bounced over to Vimeo to watch one of their latest animated shorts. It was on a topic that is reflective of what I wrote above – being alone. This wonderful short animated film by Leo G. Franchi was written and read by Pádraig Ó Tuama for The On Being Project. It brings up the topic and places it in front of the viewer delivering its message with a calmness that captures those feelings, that that are sometimes, more often than not associated with being alone – anxiety, quietness, distance, awkwardness – and lets you know that its OK. That you simply need to breathe. To be aware of yourself and know you are alive at this moment in a universe that is forever changing.

LA Trance by Ben Radatz

I’m going to date myself with this post. Back in the early 1980’s, probably 80 or 81 I was at a shopping mall and happened to be in some store that sold home furnishings like plates, containers, small appliances, glassware and such.

The reason I remember this so well is because at the time I was blown away by row after row of teal, baby blue, and cinnamon-colored plastic items that looked like a mash-up of 1930’s art deco, and mid-century modern. It was as though the designer of this particular line of products had been channeling 1930’s Raymond Lowe and 1950’s George Nelson, and filtering them through 30 to 40 years of separation.

It was as though a faded memory of what these periods were like, or a memory that somehow blurred the line between the two periods and imposed a kitschy rendition of what it must have been like to have been there a few decades back.

This was common in the early 1980s. Look back at TV graphics from this period and you’ll see the same 1950s aesthetic applied with loads of pink, black, and teal all run through a New Wave blender creating a unique look that lasted a few years. Maybe I’m feeling more aware of this because of the album covers of bands I listened to back then.

Ah New Wave records from the early 1980s. 1980 to 1985 was such a good decade.

The reason I bring this up is that the video below brought all of this back to me this afternoon. The video itself is really well done, featuring some solid animation, great illustration qualities, and an electronic music soundtrack by Four Tet. The thing is though, it feels like a 2020 take on a 1980’s take of something from the 1950s. And there is nothing wrong with that. It just got me to thinking about all of the trends that get resurfaced, reworked, and filtered through decades of separation and made into something new.

The timing and transitions to the changes in the music are fantastic. The style of the illustration while reminiscent of something familiar to the late 1970s and early 1980s is original to Ben Radatz with an elegant look to them. The color pallet enhances the feeling of the 3 minute short and captures the city of Los Angeles. He even features Miss Donuts and Circus Liquor (an LA icon you should go if you are ever in the San Fernando Valley area)