Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Graphic Biography/Falcon Motorcycles

What is required to take an idea from a thumbnail sketch all the way to a final, finished, physical object? Besides some patience and persistence, there is always a lot of trial and error involved. During the process of design, multiple and alternative solutions are always revealed/discovered, and it's important to explore those options as they're revealed. Conversely, it's also important to remain focused and not to be distracted or overwhelmed by the infinite possibilities...

The above design for Falcon Motorcycles began as a variety pencil roughs, and originally intended to be executed as a quart-sized, steel can paper label wrap. I started the first thumbnails whilst on vacation, and that initial concept quickly evolved to a relatively tight, inked mock up. After returning home, I submitted the inked idea and some of the roughs to the folks at Falcon Motorcycles. They were delighted. They provided some feedback and wanted to see the graphic polished up...

Scanning the sketches and bringing it into the realm of digital syntax (via vector program) was the next step. Despite the simple composition, the craft of translating that analog idea into a tightly-kerned, well balanced and aesthetically pleasing piece of vector took many patient hours. Subtle variations on several of the letterforms were explored, as well as an endless amount of ruled borders, holding shapes and figure/ground, negative space/positive space dynamics. Key pieces of more presentable vector solutions were presented to the client, who was able to visually compare each subtle tweak, side-to-side. Or, as I always like to say, 'A/B them'.

With some gentle persuasion and guidance from the designer, Falcon was free to choose their favorite version. A final piece of vector was laid out onto a new artboard, with all of the paths compounded, joined and cleaned up to exist as an uneditable, and nearly tamper-proof, master file, bound for production with various vendors.

The physical form of the completed graphic now exists in two media, as a woven label that is attached to all Falcon Motorcycles cut-and-sew apparel; and as a small, semi-precious, die-cast metal lapel pin, with a contrasting finish of brushed nickel and black enamel.

The entire, above process spans from the first sketches, dated 10.6.2010, to the final, production wovens and die cast pins, which were approved and photographed in mid-December 2010.

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