Friday, December 18, 2009

Client update: Imperial Woodpecker

The branding/identity began with the name: IMPERIAL WOODPECKER, regal and ridiculous, perfect for a film production company that embraces the tension of making "Finest Television Commercials."

With the logo and look, I tried to evoke an enduring 19th century brand, steeped in history and mystery. (Much like the bird itself: Extinct or not? Who knows. Last siting was in 1954.)

Stacy and Doug breathed life into the brand themselves, not only by delivering a good product - they truly make fine television commercials - but through a series of artful, inspired and ridiculous decisions, like ordering artisan, hand-made-in-Great Britain apple crates for their company, sponsoring the Japanese National Cricket Team, and, working with photographer Corey Walter, taking formal, period portraits of each client/agency at the conclusion of every job.

(The above agency is DDB Chicago, and the tuba player happens to be Chris Carraway, an art direction student from Adcenter days.)

As a year-end gift to each agency they worked with, IMPERIAL WOODPECKER had me design a artist's folio case holding all of the prints. I was so excited to get this assignment, to have anything to do with this incredibly well-executed idea.

To begin, Riswold introduced me to Phil at Cirrus Digital, and Phil printed gorgeous epson prints on an all-cotton museum rag in two different sizes: 16 x 20" for the agencies, and mammoth 22 x 28" prints for the photographer and the Imperial Woodpecker offices. To my eye, they look like hand-dipped vintage photo prints. The colors and detail and feel of the paper are incredible.

After getting the prints made, I worked with Pam and Carol and JoAnn over at Grossenbacher Bros. to create cases.

Grossenbacher is a craft/art/design person's dream workshop. It's a huge warehouse full of vintage and scary punching and glueing and pressing and cutting and binding machines. They can make anything and their level of craft is superb.

I brought my kids along with me one morning and they were blown away by the place. One of them also noticed this sign.

For the smaller box, I wanted something that felt '30s-era, with humble and earthy materials. We found a remnant roll of cloth in the back of Grossenbacher's that looked great and took the brown emboss really well. Actually, really not well, and it bothered Pam a little to deliver it this way, but it was just what I wanted.

Here's JoAnn working on the larger box and you can get a sense for its scale.

It's styled liked something super luxury from the '20s, flat black cloth with gold emboss, a one-inch wide plum ribbon attached to the box bottom to help lift out the prints, the top lined in ivory moire satin. It's so pretty I want to eat it.

Design assistant candidates: there will be a bunch of fun stuff like this to work on in 2010.