Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Keep the MAX

I just finished working on another sales incentive plan logo for a medical device company. There were a number of prerequisites for the design but the one that proved most difficult was keeping the pre-existing "MAX" logotype. I think a different font would have worked better with the diagonal aspects of the three letters, but this font still allowed me to garnish it a bit. Click on the image below to see a larger version.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Super Quick Super

Here's a quick vector-art illustration for a promotional logo. The client handled the text treatment.

After a brief career drawing comic books, apparently I am the expert on super heroes. My clients ask for this type of work quite frequently. For example, Target asked me to fix a brochure design for them that promoted their movie tie-in merchandise when the Hulk movie came out. It was strictly a graphic design project, but since I was a comic book artist too, I would know what to do. I'm not complaining... the brochure turned out great and I got to art direct a Marvel-certified artist for the cover illustration. That will be the closest I get to working with Marvel. (:

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Additional Cards

A while back I created iconic illustrations for two sets of activity cards for Alzheimer patients and caregivers. I recently finished 12 additional images for that collection. Please click on the image below to get a better view.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Happy Holidays!

We wish you joy and peace this holiday season as we celebrate the birth of our savior and the birth of a new year. Be of good cheer.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Great Party, Great Company

Last Friday (Nov. 14) I stopped by the Catalyst Studios mixer for a short while. The owner, Jason Rysavy (pictured here) mentioned they underestimated the freeloader variable and needed to run out for more beer almost immediately. (: Good times.

Seriously, I'm thoroughly impressed with how hip, smart and savvy these guys/girls are. If your company needs to find smarter, better ways of marketing (who doesn't in this economy)... you need to know Catalyst. www.CatalystStudios.com

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Viva Las Vegas

Here are two new images for a client's promotion. He wanted an early sixties vibe... which fits so nicely with the Las Vegas theme.

Friday, October 17, 2008

More Fun 'N Games

This is an addition game skin for the same client mentioned in an earlier blog. This Flashed-based game is based on the popular Frogger game we've all played as kids. And yes, I actually do get paid to create this stuff. (:

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Short-term Logos

I have a great client that consistently asks me to create logos for short-term promotions. Even though these logos don't receive the same scrutiny a company logo receives, they are still challenging. These marks generally are more light hearted in nature, but still require a compact and bold design to work effectively as a mark. Here's a collection of some recent work. Be sure to click on the image below for a larger view.

Friday, October 3, 2008

New Website

As many of you know, I'm focusing my business around logo and icon design. I still do a fair amount of illustration and design, but logo work is definitely my strongest gifting of my 20-year career. To reinforce that point, I've redesigned my website to showcase 60 recent logos and icons. Please take a moment to view the new site at www.Schwartzrock.com

If you've been to the site before, you may need to empty your cache.

Even though I designed the new site, the fine folks at Design Center made it come together. I love the little nuances of timing and programing ingenuity that makes this site polished and yet load quickly. I can't recommend these guys (and gals) enough.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Home Concierge

Here's my new logo design for a start up company that offers a unique service here in the land of 10,000 lake homes. Blackwood Management Group offers home concierge service for those who don't want to spend their vacation time taking care of the vacation home. Blackwood will mow the lawn, turn on the water, fill the fridge with food or whatever else you might request. Why hasn't someone else thought of this?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Playing Games

From time to time, I am asked to create vector art for on-line games that promote a product. Who says working for pharmaceutical companies is boring?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Retro Runners

Here's a recent illustration I completed for a client. He'll be using it as a background texture, but I like it in the version shown below... with bold color. This style is a nod to the great poster artists of the 30's and 40's.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Atonement Herbals

Here's a logo I recently finished for a new product line of herbal tonics from Erica Allen. I just love the look of this mark because it seems so unstructured and organic.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Favorite Things

Here's a some new images I just finished. As you can guess, I love line work. Making these swirly-type illustrations is just about as much fun as I'm allowed to have.

Satisfied Reader

Here's a quick post showing some recent poses from a quick project for my local daily newspaper, the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Ironically, these images will be used on their on-line version of the paper.

Friday, September 12, 2008

LogoLounge 5 Winners

Months ago I mentioned posting logos to LogoLounge.com in hopes of getting into their next book, LogoLounge 5. This week I was notified that not only did I get in, 38 of my logos were selected . I'm pretty excited since the judges had over 33,000 marks to choose from. I'm honored to be included in this latest book because they are by far my favorite series on the subject.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Employee or Boss?

John Reger was my employer at Design Center for nearly 10 years. I learned a lot from him as a boss and as a good friend. In 2003 he sold his business and retired. Five years later the tables have been turned... John will now be working for me as an account executive. I'm very excited to work with him again, to say the least. And, since he spends half of the year in Florida and Atlanta, he'll be representing us outside of Minneapolis. Branch offices is a stretch but it will be nice to get some more southern clients. (:

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Logo Poster II (on steroids)

A short while back I offered a free PDF logo poster. The response was so positive, I've printed (yes, real paper not just pixels) a revised version. This new poster, which also accordion folds into a neat package that can sit on your shelf, boasts 358 logos and icons. Amazingly, this is not a complete collection of all of the marks I've created, but rather just the ones for which I could find digital files. Just like last time, if you would like a copy, please email me (s@schwartzrock.com) your address and I'll pop one in the mail.

p.s. To see a larger view of the poster, click on the image below. Also, notice that the squares with color form the letters of my name. (:

Monday, August 18, 2008

Moving On Up!

As many of you know, I've moved my office at the beginning of this month (which explains the lack of postings). For the last 7 years I worked out of my home studio in Winsted, MN. It was idyllic in many ways... it had a nice view of the surrounding countryside and lake with a 20 foot commute. But, to grow my business I felt it important to be closer to the city. So now I'm on the 10th floor of the 601 Carlson Tower in Minnetonka. It still isn't the "city" to many of my clients, but I can at least see downtown Minneapolis from here. (:

Friday, July 25, 2008

Journal Cover

Remember the Four Horsemen of Revelation drawing I did a number of years ago? What made that assignment challenging was the need for each horse and rider to be used separately but also work well as a single composition. Dayspring had a similar need for their new "tween" journal cover. Each of these five characters was designed as a group and built independently to be used by themselves inside the book. I also was able to create my own type... which I love to do.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Being Challenged

Recently, a favorite art director of mine, John Eastman, and I were working together against a tight deadline. John requested an illustration and I provided the one below. In the back of my mind I thought it was a little cartoony for the subject matter but I liked it over all.

John also liked it but asked me to push it a little further. He wanted to see more depth in the composition. He was right. The second illustration was the result and we both liked it much better.

You don't hear artists raving about art directors very often, but honest and quality relationships make a world of difference in this business. Treasure it when you find them.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Fresh Start Logo

Recently my church consolidated all of their recovery ministries under one umbrella. They asked me to create a mark for "Fresh Start"... a fitting name. The idea of sprouting seed seemed to me to be a perfect metaphor. And since it seems that all church logos need a fish or a cross in them, I made the "t" in the word start do extra duty. Hey, it was low hanging fruit.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Alzheimer's Flash Cards

I just finished these illustrations for a series of Alzheimer care flash cards. I have a difficult time defining the difference between my logo/icon work and the kind of illustration I do. What would you consider these images: icons or illustrations?

Monday, June 16, 2008

From the Archives

I was recently paging through some old work of mine and came across this unused logo. It was created sometime around 1993 for a floral shop in the Foshay tower, downtown Minneapolis. The client chose a different mark from the selection we presented... and I liked that mark as well. I consider this one, however, to be one of my all-time favorites. I just love the delicate lines.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Icons vrs. Logos

For me, icons are much more difficult to create than a single logo. The difficulty isn't so much with any one image, but rather, rendering each so that they look like they are part of the same family. The subject matter for each icon can vary greatly, but the style in which they are rendered must remain the same.


Here's a recent image created for a poster. The end client is a large beverage manufacturer and distributer. The art director wanted it to capture the feeling of the old Russian WWII posters. Luckily, red is also the client's color.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Best Laid Plans...

An art director requested a couple drawings for a Christmas lintecular ornament. Lintecular is that funny plastic that when moved up and down, you can see a different image. The art director's idea was to have the baby Jesus with his arms out wide in the manager. The alternative image would have Jesus on the cross, with his arms out wide. I added emphasis by having the cross wood an element in the manger scene as well as keeping some of the cloth folds the same. I thought it was a wonderful idea. The plan was scrapped yesterday by the marketing department.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Hush Hush

This year I've been fortunate to work on some high-profile projects. Target has graciously allowed me to work on some small, but fun elements promoting their movie tie-in products for Speed Racer, Hulk and most recently Clone Wars. Several other clients have requested me to agree to non-disclosure agreements as well.

So as much as I would love to show you the work, I'll leave you with this fun piece instead... but I won't say who it was for! (:

Monday, May 12, 2008

Illustrator Wizardry

For most of my career, I've been a Macromedia Freehand devotee. Even though Illustrator has been an industry favorite, I remained stubbornly committed to Freehand. Not long after Freehand was bought by Adobe and subsequently discontinued, I realized I simply must make the switch. Now, having made the transition almost a year ago, I'm in love with Illustrator. I especially love the transparency and dropshadow capabilities. To achieve those results in Freehand, I needed to import elements from Photoshop... time consuming and awkward. I also love knowing that Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign are siblings. The transitions are seamless.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Logos Galore

As you know, I've been uploading logos to www.LogoLounge.com. Bill Gardner made my day recently when he called to say that some of these marks will find their way into his next book collection, Logo Lounge 5.

To celebrate, I designed a digital poster of nearly 200 logos and icons created mostly from the last 7 years of my now 20-year career. If you would like a PDF of the 11" x 17" poster, please email me and I'll shoot you the file as soon as possible.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Limited Color

Here's an image I just finished intended to be letterpressed. If you're not familiar with the letterpress process, visit www.StudioOnFire.com to see some lovely examples. Letterpress printing is very tactile and very beautiful to feel and see.

I don't handle printing much anymore, but when I was a graphic designer years ago, we would regularly select colored paper and print Pantone inks. After we started using Epson printers (with white paper) to mock-up projects for client approval, and 4-color printing became much more economical, our design solutions evolved into ever increasingly 4-color process designs printed on white stock. Today, where full color is everywhere, I think it's interesting that limiting your designs to one or two colors actually allows your work to stand out in the crowd.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Moose Heads

To follow up an earlier post, the Moose Head Hunt was held last night at the B.A.N.K. restaurant in downtown Minneapolis. Nearly 30 Moorhead State University design alumni showed up to reconnect with old friends and pay tribute to "Moose", Professor Phil Mousseau. Those in attendance were, Karen Schwarz, Amy Crews, Bret Hummel, Michael Byzewski, Susan Hofmeister, John Tschohl, Cory and Jessica Docken, Chris Cornejo, Jeff Johnson, Cedric Hohnstadt, Mark Lofthus, Travis Olson, Jon and Amber Erickson, Brent Gale, Eric Vermilyea, Jason Rysavy, Karl Peters, Nicki McCracken and Charles Youel, Scott Thares, Sarah (Nelson) and Jon Forss, Barry McCullough, Roland Eidahl, Sandy Mousseau, along with my wife, Leah and I.

I was struck by how much impact one person can have in this world. This group was just a fraction of the talented designers that came through Phil's program... and yet these alumni are some of the most talented and successful designers in the Twin Cities.

Click on the photos for a larger view.

These photos were from my own camera. Sandy Mousseau shot many more and when I receive them, I'll update this post with selected images from her.