Monthly Archives: October 2014

Book cover design concept illustration

La Seconda Occasione: Book Cover Design Concept IllustrationMinimalism is the secret for Digital Publishing!

Here goes a quick concept illustration I made a few years ago for Marco Calò’s book La seconda occasione (“The Second Chance” in English). It’s a novel about a girl and her relations  during the Second World War in Italy.

The goal of a good cover is to communicate what the book is about. So the main idea for the cover was to transmit the uncertainty of life, especially in war time, and the feelings of the protagonist forced by the war to travel away from her family. Loneliness as a trigger for catharsis. It’s a subject that is well represented in a particular episode inside this story, where a girl finds herself waiting for a train alone and starts to think about her life. It’s a classic theme of blues songs: «I’m waiting in the station with a suitcase in my hand».
I thought that a simple, minimalist design (another good rule for amazing and catchy book covers) mixed with the metaphysical style and melancholic landscapes of Italian artist Giorgio de Chirico was a nice choice to start with. Because another reason to keep it simple and clean, is the technical problem you have when searching for books on a virtual bookstore: what customers see is not a full size cover, it’s just a small thumbnail next to dozens of other little previews, icons, links, promotions, banners, ads, and lots of other disturbing-flickering-confusing-noisy-buzzy stuff. So you have to keep scaling on mind while designing a good selling cover, especially for digital devices and eReaders such as Kobo (.epub), Kindle (.mobi), tablets and iPads. A cover stuffed with too many graphic elements will be viewed as a messy and ugly thumbnail.

I will upload on another post the final version of this old unfinished vector illustration for Marco Calò’s eBook!

Unfinished Art: Obi-Wan Kenobi Digital Circlism

Obi-Wan KenobiThe “non finito” style as a proof of creation.

Leonardo da Vinci, the Italian genius from Tuscany, is probably one of the most famous painters in the world. Everyone on this planet (planet Earth, for our readers outside the globe) knows at least one of his paintings: La Gioconda, a.k.a. Monna Lisa. The thing most people don’t know, he completed only 30 paintings in his life. Not a great number for maybe the best painter of all time! It’s a problem when you have so many thoughts your hands can’t follow your brain. An idea gets obsolete as soon as a new one comes in. Sometimes it’s just a matter of seconds.

There’s another famous Italian artist who even made of unfinished art his own style: Michelangelo Buonarroti. The huge amount of unfinished statues he left after his death makes scholars think Michelangelo did it intentionally. It’s not about not having the time to complete his work. Unfinished was actually finished.
Probably, due to Neo-Platonic influences in Michelangelo’s philosophical view, the reason for non finito lays in the attempt to fix into eternity the moment of creation through an eternal media as marble.
The spark, the momentum, the quantum leap of the creative act, the transformation of non-being into being by the mind of man through his hand . The birth of an idea that from the immaterial plane of a mental concept takes shape on the physical plane through the mental and physical processing of the artist-creator that unites, thanks to his sensitivity and his creative will, two different levels: the physical and the metaphysical, the world of the divine with the secular world, the celestial world with the Earth, the dream with reality.

Giorgio Vasari, the Italian painter, architect and founder of Art History, wrote a biography on Michelangelo in 1550. It was the first biography he wrote on an artist who was still living. But the artist was alive and angry: he didn’t like the book about him, mainly because it was all second-hand information. In fact Vasari never interviewed Michelangelo and met him just once in his early life. But he did write good things too. About unfinished art Vasari states: «many painters achieve in the first sketch of their work, as though guided by a sort of fire of inspiration a certain measure of boldness; but afterwards, in finishing it, the boldness vanishes». This perfectly fits Sir Joe’s theory on non finito or unfinished art!
Let’s see how Giorgio Vasari relates Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo Buonarroti to non finito philosophy, starting with Leonardo: «He began many projects but never finished any of them, feeling that his hand could not reach artistic perfection in the works he conceived». And here’s what he says of Michelangelo: «The works he envisioned were of such a nature that he found it impossible to express such grandiose and awesome conceptions with his hands, and he often abandoned his works, or rather ruined many of them,for fear that he might seem less than perfect».

There are many other examples of unfinished art philosophy in History, such as Benedetto da Maiano (a prominent Italian sculptor of the early Renaissance based in Florence), or even in music  with Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony, Puccini’s Turandot or John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Unfinished Music album series.
The last but not least, we have Sir Joe Works’ series of unfinished work. And there are so many that I could make a Sir Joe Unfinished Works website! Here goes something for Star Wars followers: a digital illustration of Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi. I made it a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…! I was trying to mix the idea of saints portrayed on stained glass in old medieval cathedral windows with Pointillism and Digital Circlism theory and technique by artist Ben Heine. Plus I like how the non finito-unfinished style renders a kind of holographic effect, giving the idea of the moment the hologram appears. The moment of its creation. Like Michelangelo’s statues.

Logo Design for Melomangio: original Italian and Mexican food mix!

Melomangio Logo Design
Strategies and making of a logotype.

I’m proud to introduce you to Melomangio, an on demand restaurant specialized in an original mix of Mexican and Italian food. It is based in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico and it offers food for delivery.
We followed this project from its birth: the customer wanted our help to create and develop a concept idea for a new kind of business related to food. Basically, we decided to go through these steps:

  • Study and Research of the local area to find and target a new branch and market
  • Idea and product preliminary concept developing
  • Branding and Brand Management
  • Marketing strategies defining and developing of the product
  • Advertising

About Melomangio Logo design.
For this logo I wanted something solid, simple and clean so to communicate and stimulate confidence, limiting a cultural “resistance” from the public to a new product, especially when it has to do with food and you are in a very conservative area where people have a strong attachment to their traditions.
It was important, at the same time, to give the idea of a brand related to food: the silhouette of an open mouth. Obviously we had to add some elements related to the two countries, Mexico and Italy. So first we came up with the name, Melomangio (that can be translated with a one-word I-eat-it), made from the two Italian words melo and mangio. The word melo has the same meaning in Spanish, so it’s easy to remember for Mexican customers. Plus the word mangio has that little catchy Italian sound a-like touch that gives a bit more attention which helps to remember the brand name even more! So we have this first level of connection between Mexico, Italy and food. Then we have a more graphic level. The red symbol coming out of the mouth reminds the typical Mexican chile. But it also recalls the smoke or steam glyph used in Mayan artwork representing words or thoughts. These are the elements anchoring Mexico. On the other side we have the face silhouette that also has the shape of a boot, because of the boot-shaped Italian peninsula. And there is one more connection between the two countries: the colors. Green, white and red are the colors of both, Italian and Mexican flag.

Logo design is not only about graphic design. It’s a symbolic design. It’s about finding the right archetypes, a path to subconsciousness.

Sabor mexicano, estilo italiano.
This is the slogan, meaning “Mexican flavor, Italian style”. Once more we have something creating confidence, with a message like “Hey, don’t be afraid to try this, the taste is not too different from what you’re used to eating”. Plus, again, playing the Italian wild card: Italian food and style are recognized all over the world!

So next time you are visiting Guadalajara, remember to try the delicious and original Italian-Mexican mix of Melomangio!