Graphic Design 102: "It's Like That"

My homeboy DJ Darrell D (of the previously mentioned Jamille Records) recently asked me to do some design work for his label. The first job was a fold-out cover for the special edition version of Two-Tone's "Time to Rhyme/Jazz It Up" 7-inch vinyl record; the full piece folds out to a 22" x 14.5" poster. And the second job was for a Jamille Records promo sticker.

As you can see, the record cover (above) features a vintage photograph of the Two-Tone crew taken with one of those cheap, portable camera's that most of us had back in the day. The duo never really had a logo, so I roughed out a few designs and went with the one that I thought best reflected a crew named "Two-Tone."

The fold-out poster concept was based on something that Darrell sent me which was originally used by a UK pop duo–who shall not be named. All I will say is that it was not Wham. Since I was basically working off of a previous work, I was able to take some shortcuts on the front, hence the clip art-style images in two frames.

The dollar sign in the bottom frame was inspired by the large gold charm dangling from the chain of D.E. Fresh. Continuing with the gold theme, I added gold lightning bolts to the radio antenna. The name of the crew was also added to the cassette, but I decided that a blank tape worked best.

The front side has six sections that measure out to 7.25" x 7.25" squares, and it was a bit of a challenge initially to get the layout balanced for the actual folding. When I printed a miniature proof version, though, it came out perfectly–and that's mainly because I am a genius on the DL.

With the exception of the front and back covers, the secondary point of a production like this is the poster itself. As you can see below, another vintage Two-Tone photograph was used here, but the final version has the name of the crew in gold near the bottom right corner.

With the much bigger job out of the way, I moved on to the sticker designs. I actually wound up designing five of 'em, but I'm only posting the two primary stickers here.

As is the case with many DJs, Run-D.M.C.'s Jam Master Jay means a lot to Darrell D. Because my client is also a friend, I know that Fat Albert is his all-time favorite cartoon character. So, I went with an idea that incorporates those elements, remixed with the Def Jam Records logo. (The black bar at the bottom hints at the Run-D.M.C. logo.)

Who wudda' thunk that Fat Albert would look so fresh in a fedora? ME, that's who.

Taking the previous sticker design one step backward, it was only natural to try something using the actual Run-D.M.C. logo. Yes, I know that there have been countless permutations of this "remix" over the years, but I wasn't going to let that stop me from doing one to see how it would look.

When the layout was done, I thought that the "Jam Rec" abbreviation worked out perfectly and went ahead with it as my secondary design. D actually loved it when he saw it, and I was glad that I didn't let the fact that it's already been done deter me from what I thought spoke to Darrell D as a hardcore fan of Jam Master Jay and the Hollis Crew.


First Nick Fury, and now...

...Miles Morales, Marvel Comics' amazing new Spider-Man.

When the story first broke on Wednesday of this week, I didn't know what to think about the surprising introduction of a young, Tiger Woods-looking wall crawler to Marvel's parallel comic book universe (known as the Ultimate Comics line). After reading an interview with editor Joe Quesada @ Comic Book Resources, I've since made up my mind and look forward to seeing just what fan-favorite writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Sara Pichelli will do with this 21st century web-slinger.

If you're already getting a steady four-color fix, I don't have to tell you how to 'score'. But if you don't know the whereabouts of your local comics dealer, just toss your preferred zip code into the handy dandy Comic Shop Locator and...SHAZAM! You're on your way to unlocking the mystery of all that has been missing from your life.

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #1 will be in stores on Wednesday, September 7th. Mark your calendar and make sure to swing by your friendly neighborhood comic shop.


Jamille Records rocks the radio!

Jamille Records is a small independent label that specializes in limited edition 7" vinyl. The label was founded by my homeboy Darrell D to pay homage to the hip-hop music that was coming out of his beloved hometown of Milwaukee in the '80s and '90s. Two weeks ago, the Jamille label was given a 30-minute dedication set on Minnesota Public Radio's Redefinition Hour. Listeners of the show got a nice audio Polaroid of the fresh music that was being made in the beer capital of the world back in the day. The show starts off with a classic track by the Ill Chief Rockers ("I Got A Rock And I'm Gonna Hit You With It"), and continues with a great set of not only music, but really interesting Milwaukee hip-hop history. If you want to get a serious taste of some old school Midwestern flavor, just lick your chops and head over to Redefinition Radio by clicking here.


The Deadly Art of Black Dynamite

On August 8th (next Monday), the pilot for Cartoon Network's Black Dynamite will air during the network's Adult Swim. To mark this righteous occasion, I've whipped together a lil' gallery of some of the super bad BD-related imagery that I've seen during my various trips down the rough-and-tumble back streets and alleyways of the internet.

Submitted for your perusal, the deadly art of...

Click any image to enlarge

David Choe

Dustin D'Arnault

Dan Barrett (WonderDookie)

"Black Dynamite vs. Sugar Hill" by Armando Zanker

Jeremy Wheeler

Jun Lofamia

"Black Dynamite Machete" by Elvin Hernandez

Unfortunately, the actual show doesn't begin airing until Spring of 2012. Based on what can be gleaned from the teaser trailer, though (uh...you have seen the teaser trailer, right?), Cartoon Network will be rewarding Black Dynamite fans handsomely for their patience.