should be made
but not simpler.
What a treat recently when going to the Turner Classic Movies website to check out the schedule for the coming month. In their the Flash banner of their homepage I saw an illustration style that I instantly recognized. It was the elegantly simple style of illustrator Michael Schwab.
I already give a tip of my hat to the TCM folks for the retro designed flare of their site and for their genre icons which were designed by Charles Spencer Anderson, one of the great influences on my early design career. They further show their good taste with these new commissions for their Summer Under the Stars series.
Michael Schwab has a style that I have been a big fan of for many years. It's one that is so simple in it's execution that it is incredibly deceptive as to how hard it is to create. I know because I have tried before to emulate his style on a logo or illustration project and found it very difficult to get the look down. With the selective use of color, minimalist technique and brilliant use of negative space, his illustrations have a very iconic look to them – completely appropriate for classic movies.
I highly recommend you check out the the full series of illustrations HERE (navigation from one to another is at the bottom of the screen) and check out how much this guy communicates using so little. Be sure to also check out his website for more inspiring images. From the TCM homepage you can also enter a competition to win a complete set of the 31 movie cards Schwab designed – but you don't want to do that (unless you plan on giving them to me), right?
I find these powerful designs leave me with two questions:
1) How can I strive for the simpler solution in my own work?
2) How can I encourage clients to shun the desire to fill up every nook and cranny of white space in favor of a solution that is simple, impactful and elegant. I think that is always in order, regardless of your positioning, product or brand essence.
The maxim that "good" is the enemy of "great" may be true – but sometimes being great can mean backing away, stripping things out and going with an elegantly simple solution.