I’m a creative, experienced, multi-purpose artist and art director
who can take projects start to finish in a variety of styles.

Good designs sell –
my designs sell out!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

"Prehistoric"

I did this art for Mrs. Fields' cookies. You can buy it here (24-ct Tin, 12-ct Tin, or Gift Box), though I don't get anything other than personal satisfaction when someone appreciates my art. Maybe I should consider licensing and royalties? Mrs. Fields makes good cookies, so it's a win/win for you especially since the tins are on sale.

Do reindeers fall under "prehistoric"? Yes, definitely, after a quick trip to Wikipedia to look up Megaloceros. I think my reindeer look very similar, and I had already decided to post them since I think they're of the season and offer insight into the package design process.

A new banner for this blog was long past due, and I have lots of art for the holidays because I've worked years on Christmas projects, or Hanukah, or whatever holiday you'd like to celebrate -- which is pretty ironic since I'm not a holiday kind of person. (I'll just delete my ranting so it doesn't compete with the PBS soprano, Country Music Christmas, or kids singing Rudolf...)

Packaging is planned far in advance of the holiday. I showed my original design to the client at the end of February, and it was already too late for that year's catalog. My boss and account manager hated it. (Now I'm deleting my tirade about office slugs making design decisions...) Maybe it's my anti-Christmas sentiments, but I liked the graphic black with red and green. Luckily, the creative director at MF has taste and vision, or maybe I just think that because he often agrees with me, but in any case, the project moved forward the next year when I resubmitted it.

The original design only had 1 reindeer. Blue was deemed friendlier than black, and 2 reindeers deemed friendlier than 1. But wait! Maybe red was better after all? I was partial to my original design, but meetings were held, executive wives and the UPS guy were consulted, catalog layouts were revised, and I made changes accordingly over the next months. I'll admit some of these changes were even my ideas, and good direction from the CD yielded great results.

Final art was sent to China. This was a pretty straight-forward project except for my pleas to the Chinese printer for metallic silver ink and explanations to the customer that gradations of silver would be iffy at best, if not impossible. All of this was made more difficult due to a power move by the account manager, who instigated an in-house policy preventing artists from talking to clients. The policy was reversed after complaints by the customers, but reinstituted when a new guy was hired. (I'm sure you're already onto the fact that I'm deleting some more choice observations here...)

I, of course, handled all of this with grace and courtesy since nobody in Utah or China could hear my muttered profanities or how hard my fingers were striking the keyboard.

Printing samples came in the summer. You know how it goes by now. There were more meetings and more secretarial consultations. To tell the truth, I think this is a good time for secretaries' opinions because they can hold the product and represent the buying public. They understand objects better than layouts, and the questions to ask are "Would you buy this?" and if not, "Why not?". There's still time to adjust things if necessary, but usually things proceed with approval and final directions to the printer.

Real samples come in late summer, and hopefully everything is perfect. Once I hear everything is approved, I forget about the project until I actually see the catalog. Other people jump into a flurry of photo shoots, copywriting, and domestic printers. I've done that before, but this job was all about the packaging for me. I spend a blissful October looking at fall leaves and attending Halloween parties -- until November when they start with those incessant carols and holiday specials again.

-- Special note -- My friend Geof is in the hospital. He and his wife Korki are 2 of my favorite people. Prayers and healing thoughts for both are much appreciated. Thanks!!

26 comments:

  1. Love this design! It was all good as it turned out! And it works for a nice new banner, too! :o)
    Sending my prayers for you and your friends. This is a difficult time of the year to be dealt added concerns. Hope all is well soon.
    Hugs, Michele

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great design! I can imagine lots of beautiful tins filled with cookies under many happy trees.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks Michelle! I hope all is well soon for my friends too. It is harder for people to be in the hospital during holidays, and he's already missed Thanksgiving.

    Thanks for the nice words and the follow Sharon! #50 was one of my goals. Yay!!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Fantastic work Linda!
    Have a nice weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Healing prayers for your friend Geof. Linda, the tin for Mrs. Fields cookies is BEAUTIFUL!!! I want one. I went to Mrs. Fields and I almost short circuited my keyboard. I drooled! You really are terrific. What a collectible tin!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Linda your posts really make me smile.I enjoyed reading between the lines and I am quite sure you smiled sweetly all the way through the design process! Reindeers still seem quite prehistoric in their look,a bit like the rhino,but I'm not sure a rhino would look quite so good on a biscuit tin! Great to see you work in the flesh, you must be very proud.
    Sending get well wishes to your dear friend.
    Keep well,
    Jane x

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks everyone! Especially for good thoughts for my friend Geof.

    Ces, you cracked me up. I hope your cookies and tin bring you much happiness :)

    Jane, I feel like designing something with a rhino now. It does give me a burst of pride when I see things I've designed mass produced. It's one of the rewards for doing commercial work.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Art by committee is never easy, but the outcome is lovely.

    ReplyDelete
  9. What a beautiful tin! You REALLY should consider licensing. There is a blogtalk radio show I listen to - Artists Helping Artists. They did a show on licensing with lots of useful info.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thank you so much!

    @Deb, thanks for the tip about the radio show. I'll look for that episode.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'm glad the tin turned out so well in the end! I thought the black "megaloceros" was very striking, but the silver looks great too.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I do love a prettily designed tin! You seemed to have gone through a lot of trouble, but the finished product is beautiful! Although I did also like the touch of blue.

    ps. Thanks for your comment!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Like everyone else I really like the design on the final product. Sometime it takes many revisions to get to the final one. I love to see more works from you.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thanks! I liked both the black and blue versions too, but in the end, I think they picked the version that would sell best.

    @Xiao Mei Lin, thanks for the follow!!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I always enjoy a good 'graphic item'...very nice lines and shapes here...the flower underneath this really knocked me out as well...definitely items to show the students...

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hey Linda! Your megaloceros.... er I mean reindeer designs are splendid! I love them all! Your work is delicious as Mrs.Fields cookies. A match made in heaver! Great post. I will keep Geof in my prayers for sure.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thanks guys! I'm especially happy at the moment because it's been pointed out to me that the gift box sold out. Like I said, I get nothing out of it, but I love it when my things sell out. It's kind of like getting a gold star from the teacher :)

    ReplyDelete
  18. great site - you might also enjoy Whimsical Wednesday - come join the play if you get the chance: http://dthaase.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hi Linda, your reindeer tins look amazing:)

    ReplyDelete
  20. Great design Linda - I know just how clients can be!
    Hope your friend is ok

    ReplyDelete
  21. Thanks, and thanks for asking about my friend too. He's still in the hospital and still needs prayers and happy thoughts. We need to keep the good people around!

    ReplyDelete
  22. My goodness what a lengthy process! Well, I love the way it turned out! Hope all goes well with your friend.

    ReplyDelete
  23. You designed this tin! Ooooh, it's beautiful, beautiful! Aww, after all that hard work and muttering and key banging, I would hope you'd get more than just personal satisfaction. It's really a gorgeous tin.

    So sorry to hear about your friend. Sending prayers.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Thanks Bella for the compliment and the prayers. I saw Geof today and he is doing better. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

    ReplyDelete