Monday, September 29, 2008

How to give a damn about the election without getting in your car!

For the 2008 Presidential election the Orange County Registrar of Voters is anticipating a 75% turnout and a lengthy ballot. That's not good news for those who don't have a lot of time but want their vote to count. To bypass all that, we helped develop a multi-lingual brochure display designed to help encourage voters to set up permanent vote by mail status and avoid the frustrations. Point of purchase displays, such as the one shown above, have been placed at post offices throughout Orange County, along with many Wells Fargo Bank branches. If you can't make it to any of these locations, you can visit the Registrar of Voters' web site and download an application there. So whatever you do, get out there and make your voice heard!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

How do you wrap a 40 foot bus anyhow?

With all the fleet graphics we produce, there are bound to be questions by colleagues and clients on how the wrap is actually applied to the bus. To answer that, I placed a call to Glen Deltondo at Applications Unlimited International, Inc. to get more details. Here's the inside story.

Think of a bus wrap graphic as a giant crack and peel sticker carefully applied on all four sides of a 40-foot bus. These decals are printed on a unique 3M material that is slightly thicker than a credit card and output in 52² inch wide sections, then painstakingly seamed together so they match perfectly. The back is coated with a strong adhesive that will endure the harsh southern California sun, as well as the nightly run through the bus wash.

Application of a bus wrap takes place in one of OCTA's three bus yards and normally requires 24 to 30 man hours to complete. A crew of three is typically used to adhere these huge stickers onto the bus. It requires a good eye and great Exacto knife skills. The most time-consuming part is all the careful cutting around the doors, ventilation ducts and windows.

So how long will they last once you get them on the bus? Manufacturers will guarantee the product used on OCTA's buses up to 4 years against fading, peeling and cracking.

Oh the joy of removing the wrap!
It takes up to 4 man-hours to remove a bus wrap and a lot of brute strength. Most 3M adhesives are temperature sensitive and will peel off easier when heated. Due to the flammability of the Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) stored at OCTA's bus yards, no open flame can be used to heat up the bus wrap. Instead the buses are parked outside to soak up the sun and "loosen up." Then comes the tug-a-war to pull off the wrap. Luckily the windows stickers contain only half the adhesive and peel off quickly.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The secret torment of an overzealous art director

My visual torment is nothing new to those in the creative field. We are the ones who find ourselves art directing everything in our lives. Righting the crooked picture on the wall. Wanting to re-kern poorly spaced type on the restaurant menu. Making sure magazines tossed on the coffee table are displayed correctly. While some might see this as being mildly anal retentive, I view it as keeping my world in some sort of visual balance. And I don't understand how others can't see the same visual discord.

But when art direction becomes a dangerous game of braving traffic to adjust a manhole cover that doesn't quite line up, that's where the line (pardon the pun) must be drawn. Maybe the saying should be "visual ignorance is bliss."

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Knot Caslon

Where do type designers get their inspiration? Perhaps the answer can be found in the hidden hieroglyphics of the trees surrounding my office, where letterforms can be found in the remnants of old branches and peeling bark. I think as designers, it is somehow part of our inner being to be acutely aware of everything visual that surrounds us each day. Color. Texture. Even patterns in nature. To that end, I find myself continuing to stockpile mental snapshots that have formed a massive data base that I draw on for different projects. So it makes one wonder if William Caslon, in 1725, during a walk to his London type foundry, was inspired by a similar tree to design one of the classic fonts of our time. And yes, thanks to Emigre, there now is a font named Not Caslon!