Today’s design is a spoof image in honor of the new MacGruber movie in theaters today! I honestly can’t say I am a huge fan of MacGruber and I probably won’t see the movie until it comes out on DVD/BluRay/On demand. But I think the original Saturday Night Live bits are pretty funny. Mostly I like the intro scenes of the explosions with MacGruber standing in front of them.


MacGruber is a spoof of the hit TV show MacGyver. I have always enjoyed spoofs so today I am posting my cat, Q, in front of a MacGruberesque explosion and overlaying the logotype to spell MacQuber (I actually do call him MacQuber sometimes). It is a spoof of a spoof!

Here is a side note on the logotype since, after all, this is a design blog. In the Saturday Night Live skits the logo type is set with a font called Copperplate and modified a bit. They have modified the logotype a bit for the motion picture using a font that looks to me like Banker Gothic. I chose to use Copperplate for the MacQuber logotype since I am partial to Saturday Night Live’s skits.

See you all tomorrow.

Basic Shape Forms 18

Today’s design is a simple illustration of a bee using mostly ovals. Nothing too exciting to say other than I think its pretty good. Enjoy.

basic shape forms 18

I urge everyone to check back tomorrow for a special post in honor of the new MacGruber movie. I will give you all a hint – my cat, named Q, is sometimes called “MacQuber”.

See you all tomorrow.

Basic Shape Forms 17

Today’s design is a simple illustration of an owl. I have been noticing a lot of owls around lately which inspired me to create this one. No, not real, live owls. I’ve been seeing them drawn in some other illustrations and in clip art. I was also at a garden center last week and saw some owl sculptures created from round stones. I didn’t have my camera with me at the time or I would have taken a photo. They were kind of neat. Anyway that’s my owl story. I may be inclined to create some more detailed owl illustrations in the future.

basic shape forms 17

If you haven’t read my supplimental post from yesterday about submitting ideas for the next project please read the details here. I am looking forward to your ideas. Thanks.

See you all tomorrow.

Basic Shape Forms 16

Today’s design is a simple illustration of a light bulb, but I used basic shape forms to create it. This is were I’m headed with the Basic shape forms, using them to create simple illustrations of common objects.

basic shape forms 16

The bulb is created using a circle, the filament is a triangle with repeated circles to represent the coil. The base is created with a square with overlaid ovals to create the basic effect of the screw threads. Very simple stuff but with the proper placement of all the components and the right colors, it’s a pretty effective image.

If you haven’t read the previous post about submitting ideas for the next project please read the details here. Thanks.

See you all tomorrow.

Audience Participation Please!

After I finish up the Basic Shape Forms project I will spend the remainder of the month of May experimenting with textures. Texture and color are important aspects of art, imagery and design. I have used the previous Typographic Shape Forms and Basic Shape Forms projects as a means to experiment with color and I will continue to experiment with color in most future projects. But, I wanted to finish out the month of May with another basic concept before moving on to more exciting things and I think texture is a good topic to explore for a few days.

Beginning In June I will begin the first installment of more exciting things. I’ve been thinking about a theme for creating some basic layouts that can incorporate both typography and shape forms and I have been recently inspired by some images of some vintage book covers, posters and album covers. So, my idea is this; I am thinking about taking a word or a short phrase and creating a design around that word or phrase by combining typography with basic shape forms.

I don’t want to tie myself to a specific style but the imagery that initially comes to my mind for inspiration on this project is the graphic design of Saul Bass. Saul Bass became wildly popular in the 1960’s for revolutionizing the title sequences of movies. He used typography, basic color and basic shape forms combined with animation to create opening title sequences that would set the tone for the film. He also designed movie posters, among many other things. You will recognize his work if you are familiar with the movie art work used for films such as, Vertigo, The Man With The Golden Arm and West Side Story. These are just to name a few. This is roughly the the style I will be inspired by to get me started.

I have started jotting down interesting words and and phrases to get me started, but I wanted to illicit the assistance of my audience. It will help me to build up a library of potential words and phrases to draw from. It will also be more of a real-world creative challenge for me to use concepts provided by different people rather than coming up with all of them on my own. Here is what I am looking for, any single word that seems interesting, any common phrases or figures of speech, any actual title of a book, album or movie, or any arbitrary combination of words that sound interesting together. Here are a few that I have come up with:

1.) black and white
2.) puddles of destruction
3.) Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter
4.) blood from a stone
5.) the eleventh hour

Please submit any ideas in the comment field below this post, or any other post. I will appreciate any ideas submitted but please keep them PG/PG-13. I will not accept profanity or other tasteless content so be nice:).


Basic Shape Forms 15

basic shape forms 15

Today I am revisiting the 4 sided shape, the square. Like yesterday’s post with the triangles/pyramid, I am going 3D again with the image. I created a large green cube and thinking back to my thoughts on the square as a foundation, I cropped in on the cube making it seem like a platform. I then created a second smaller cube to rest on this platform. After playing around with the image I decided to have the golden cube appear to be floating. To create this effect I created a shadow below the golden cube and used a light to dark gradient of color in the background (sky) to give a feeling of light from above. This helps to further define the shadow under the cube and enhances the overall effects of dimension and light, as well as make the golden cube appear to float. All hail the hypnocube!

See you all tomorrow.

Basic Shape Forms 14

basic shape forms 14

The illusion we are looking at today is perceived dimension. I know what you all see here but now look at the image again. It is basically 2 triangles side by side. Coloring each of them with slightly different colors creates the illusion that you are actually looking at a 3 dimensional pyramid. The use of color contrast in the background and foreground not only enhances the the 3D effect but additionally creates the illusion of light and depth of field. It’s like you are looking west at sunset in Egypt, but you are really just looking at a couple cleverly situated triangles.

Enjoy! See you all tomorrow.

Basic Shape Forms 13

The remainder of the BSF designs will begin to verge, or segue, into actual illustrations. I will attempt to demonstrate how the basic form can be manipulated into more abstract shapes to create not only an actual representation of real world objects, but the impression of other abstract concepts such as motion, and dimension.

basic shape forms 12

Here we have several circles on  dark blue field. The repetition and distortion of these circles transforms the image into a speeding comet or meteor streaking across the night sky, or through outer space. This is what we see immediately and after some study of the image we might break the image down to its basic circular roots. Only then will we actually see the circles for themselves. For most of us, all we see is the comet and stars.

One of the most enjoyable challenges for me is finding the appropriate balance between the obvious and the subtle in a given composition. Here I wanted you to first see the comet screaming through space and notice the circles later. I hope that I accomplished that, It was a fairly easy task. But, in some designs the appropriate balance is more challenging. You might want the viewer to not see the image until after seeing the circle. You might have 3 or more levels of imagery or message in a composition and you want the viewer to see each in a particular order. That is the challenge of design, guiding the viewer in a way that maximizes the impact and understanding of the composition, layout or illustration.

See you all tomorrow.

Basic Shape Forms 12 (my thoughts on the square)

The circle is a dynamic shape, the triangle is a catalytic shape. So what is the square? The square, to me, is stability. Like the foundation of a house or the solid barrier of a wall, the square defines the limits of a given situation. Visually, it is a solid, grounding force.

We can move beyond the square at this point and also include the rectangle in this lot. The 4 sided shapes in our world are the building blocks on which everything else securely rests. They create the walls which keep us safe from the outside elements that might otherwise harm us. The 4 sided shapes give us structure. Their 3 dimensional forms are solid blocks which can be joined to form a secure structure. They are also a hallow box which is a structure in and of it’s self.

basic shape forms 12
This type of structure is almost always man made. It is our way as humans to attempt to create stability and control in an otherwise seemingly chaotic universe. The square, the rectangle, the block and the cube all represent structure and stability visually. In design the objective is often, to juxtapose this feeling of stability by creating the 4 sided stable form and then interfering with it in a way that creates visual interest. This is why being creative in your thinking is often referred to as “thinking outside the box,” which is what I am building up to with the daily design challenge. First we must understand the box and draw it, only then can we know how to go beyond it and interfere with it’s stability to create a visually interesting image or design. Most of what I’ve done here so far has been my attempt to rediscover the proverbial box. Gradually I am moving toward thinking outside.

Today and tomorrow, look around and see all the squares, rectangles, blocks, boxes and cubes that are in our world. Contemplate and attempt to understand them well. For only then will you be able to think beyond them.

Have a great day! See you all tomorrow.

Basic Shape Forms 11 (my thoughts on the triangle)

Yesterday I sang the praises of the circle and stopped short of saying that God is a circle. Today I would like to share my impressions of the triangle. The triangle to me indicates a catalytic force. It’s shape is a device that affects action. On a more coincidental level, the triangle often indicates that an action has taken place.

The definitive shape of a triangle are the angles at which the shape’s borders are situated. A trinity. Three sides, three angles The equilateral is symmetrical in that all three sides are situated at a 30 degree angle. There are triangles of all shapes and varying degrees however. One aspect of the triangle symbolizes to me a means to an end. It is a device used to affect another object. A wedge to hold open a door, a ramp to more easily move another object from one level to another or the fulcrum of a lever to accomplish seemingly impossible tasks. In design, the triangle serves many purposes. It guides our eyes along the edges to the sharpest point beyond which you can usually find an important element to focus your attention. This is typical in advertising design were we see arrows pointing to an important message or object. The triangle also warns of the need for caution. The sharp corners of the triangle can elicit a cautionary feeling or provide an element of harshness. Many things in our natural world that contain such a point.

The other aspect of the triangle symbolizes to me evidence that a change or a reaction has taken place. The triangular shards of glass from a broken window speaks that something has taken place. We may not know what happened but we can infer with certainty that there was action that resulted in the breakage. The triangle indicates the inception or result of a change but not the actual change itself. The triangle gives us a feeling that something can, will or has happened. Given this, the triangular shape is a powerful one indeed.

On a side note, the pyramid is often symbolic of a device that collects and channels energy from its base up and through it’s top point. I won’t get all mystical, or ancient Egyptian on you but I thought I would just bring that up.

basic shape forms 11

Today’s design does not illustrate the channeling aspect, but I get the feeling of a gear that could be used in conjunction with other gears to do an important job. So these triangles do represent catalytic power that can take action at any time. Or, maybe it’s just a dart board:)

So today and tomorrow look around, particularly in advertisements and see how triangular shapes are used to focus you on a particular area. In the world around you take notice of triangular shapes as well as how they make you feel. Tomorrow I will be back to sing the praises of the square.