Simply put—as an Art Director + Designer, I feel incredibly inspired. Due largely to the people I collaborate with, I'm continually motivated and energized to progress as an artist.
I'm passionate about the process—my current state of mind, the intense frustration of intricate details, the influence that the time of day and music I listen to have on me while creating work. Everything from the brainstorm to the completion is significant and no one piece outweighs another. To me, each is as connected, distinct and significant as the next.
Doing strong work for clients whose passion for their causes rivals my own for design gets me out of bed in the morning.
These projects are a mixture of personal, freelance and pieces created at Firebelly. Note: Please contact me to see LOTS more recent work.
TYPEFORCE 2 CATALOGUE / This is both a catalogue of typographic artistry, and a recount of the gallery reception experience. Broken up into three distinct sections, we set out to mesh a sense of tradition and energy through colorful visual cues; the motivation (blue), the substance (full color), and the experience (red). Graphic Arts Studio.
This project was a collaboration between Darren McPherson, Will Miller, Nick Adam & Ohn Ho. Made possible by our incredible sponsors – Andrew Dembitz from Unisource, Mike Dillon at Graphic Arts Studio with their 6 color printing and Domtar with the Cougar Smooth White, and Vellum Blue paper.
2ND ANNUAL TYPEFORCE INSTALLATION / With so many of our projects demanding a unique vision for life in print, a simple thank you goes to Graphic Arts Studio and all involved. We see them as much a part of our design process and decision making as our client conversations and brainstorming sessions. Using materials kindly given to us by their team, we set out to create a big “thanks” inspired by their mark, materials they use and processes they play with. Without them, so much of this show, this install and our craft could not come to light. Thanks guys!
All letters hand rolled on reclaimed paper from prior projects at Graphic Arts Studio.
527 Hand-rolled paper tubes, 500 Recycled press sheets, 17 Rolls of tape, ~550 Yards of fishing line, 14 Paper cuts and 7.5 Hours of sleep each over an 86 hour stretch.
This project was a collaboration between Darren McPherson and Will Miller.
SASKTEL SASKATCHEWAN JAZZ FESTIVAL 2011 / With a lineup of artists hitting almost every music genre possible, it's hard to believe we call this the "Jazz Fest". For their 25th anniversary, we set out to re-invent the festival through pushing them in a much more energetic direction. Rich, and filled to the edge with a bold clash of typographic details, pattern and color, this years materials embraced a spontaneity and energy unlike any before.
LOGOS + TYPE TREATMENTS /
WE GOT IT IN WPB / This advertising campaign for the Chicago neighborhood Wicker Park Bucktown began as a way to revamp the sense of humor and character in the area prior to the holiday season. With the main goal of bringing people back, we set up a range of witty, crude and at times, just plain odd combinations of one of a kind items, eats and services.
THREE SQUARES STUDIO /
NEIGHBORHOOD PARENTS NETWORK / The Neighborhood Parents Network connects a diverse community of families with the resources they need to navigate parenting in the city. This website was designed to maintain the overwhelmingly friendly and approachable persona of our client, while developing a completely immersive visual (and functional) experience.
TYPEFORCE CATALOGUE / This small format book was created after the Typeforce exhibition as a way to show off the incredible talent within – designer/artists. While creating the book we wanted more than anything to promote the artists featured, but also to open up the spectrum of possibilities for the years to come. In order to question the limits, we separated out each artist with neon orange spreads containing everything from flaming pastry type to sign language.
This book was a collaboration between Darren McPherson and Will Miller, with design assistance from Plural. Made possible by our incredible sponsors – Andrew Dembitz from Unisource, Jennifer Beil at Graphic Arts Studio with their 6 color printing and Domtar with their Super Smooth paper.
Artists included: Jeremiah Chiu, Renata Graw, David Weik, Billy Baumann, Matthew Hoffman, Chris Eichenseer, Chad Kouri, Ryan Thurwell, Luke Williams, Tnop, Andy Luce, John Pobojewski, Darren McPherson, Lora Fosberg, Margot Harrington, Greg Calvert, Aaron Pedersen, Duncan MacKenzie, Will Miller, Nick Adam, Damian Abraham. Show put together by the Public Media Institute and Firebelly Design.
UMIDITÁ 1832 / In order to achieve the feeling of humidity and intense confinement within the letter forms, the relationship between thick slab serifs and hairline verticals was exaggerated quite heavily. Pairing this treatment with large, perfectly proportioned italian serifs helped to maintain a dominant sense of unease.
This re-interpretation of an 1832 wood cut by Caslon was created for the Spring 2009 edition of the literary-arts journal Ninth Letter.
CHICAGO WOMEN'S HEALTH CENTER / Chicago Women’s Health Center, recipient of the 2011 Grant for Good, underwent a complete rebrand to more accurately represent both their mission and clientele. The new, more inclusive identity reflects the organization’s evolution over their 35-year history into both a women’s and trans-friendly health care provider in the city. Their new website serves as a source of information on CWHC’s services and programs, as well as a tool for client payments and users donations.
Created while at Firebelly Design, this project was a collaboration between Darren McPherson, Will Miller and Ohn Ho. The event was a collaboration between Firebelly Design and Pivotal Productions, with photography by IShootRockstars.
MUVE MUSIC FROM CRICKET / This logo was designed for Cricket Wireless and their first phone plan with an unlimited music experience. It embraces a sense of confident energy and represents a break from old ways, cutting the cord, releasing the music.
The mark is part of a custom typeface I made for Cricket. Derived from Lubalin Graph, the thickened mixture of hard and soft edges almost flicks the eye along with a sense of ease and life.
HYLASOFT / This site was created to re-define the identity, while retaining the logo, of the international consulting company Hylasoft. I pushed for a sense of presence and confidence through large imagery and bold type, to set them apart from the relatively flat competition. Utilizing some breathing room with the toned down palette I was able to maintain a sense of approachability in a much more accessible form.
Everything from structuring the sitemap to type layout, design and coding the multi-language site in Wordpress was done on my end, with aid from Sarah Kowalis on the imagery. See the site: hylasoft.com
TYPEFORCE TITLE WALL INTALLATION / As designers, we see one path has the ability to influence many. Looking forward and anticipating the problems of tomorrow, we shape the environment and framework of discussion for today.
We pursue this role with a desire to influence new ideas, future form, expression, technology and ideology. To inspire not only those who are here, but those to come. To both create an impact now, and leave an imprint upon where we have been. For us, allowing design to address and solve issues moves designers back towards the role of thinkers, explorers and problem solvers.
This project was a collaboration between Darren McPherson and Will Miller. Photographs by IShootRockstars.
PROCESS / View the time lapse video here.
This project was a collaboration between Darren McPherson, Will Miller.
AIGA DESIGN WEEK / Through emitting Chicago's talent and energy outward, the boundaries begin to fade away.
Created while at Firebelly Design.
SKKY / Inspired by the delicacy and precision of calligraphy, Skky attempts to merge geometric tension with structural imbalance.
This custom typeface was a collaboration between Darren McPherson and Will Miller.
INTERSECTION / Merging the expressive nature of graffiti art with modern type principals, Intersection upholds a unique balance of style and structure. It combines the individualistic personality of graffiti art with a level of typographic consistency, allowing it to work well as both display text and abstract form.
INTERSECTION: DIMENSIONAL TYPE / Based off of the letter ‘x’ from the Intersection typeface, this sculptural representation explores the dimensionality of letter forms while referencing the jagged and planar nature of the typeface. It also aims to create a junction between sculptural expression and a graphic mindset.
MAKE BELIEVE / When stores in the Wicker Park Bucktown area were disappearing in large numbers, we devised a plan to bring the business and foot traffic back. Enter, Make Believe – an initiative aimed at finding talented artists to create and execute imaginative art installations in vacant storefronts throughout the neighborhood, drawing attention on both the artist and space itself.
THE CHILDREN'S PLACE ASSOCIATION /Developing the new Children’s Place Association website entailed generating compelling visuals and an intuitive interface. With the site redesign, we aimed to increase donations by attracting new donors and encouraging existing ones to regularly visit the site. Vivid graphics and a clear structure create an engaging online experience. Users can read personal stories about programs and families from Chicago and abroad, from Haiti and Botswana to southern Africa. Individuals, emotionally connecting with children in need, are motivated to give and give again.
Created while at Firebelly Design.
ISPACE GRAPHIC DESIGN EXHIBITION / This identity design was selected to represent the University of Illinois' senior graphic design exhibition at the Ispace Gallery in Chicago, 2009. It was developed to promote the sophisticated mindset of our senior class and references our dimensionality through the fact that we have all worked outside of the expected confines of graphic design. I created a post card, custom typeface design, and a string and nail based installation in the gallery space itself.
PRATT INSTITUTE SHOW / It's not that we don't take design seriously. It's just that much of our best work is born from embracing spontaneity and following our instincts. Two things hard found with a narrow focus.
We believe in paying forward the good that has come through our doors, proving through education and influence that passion inspires action.
We feel a constant stream of inspiration from the fire in our clients, the encouragement of our collaborators and the world we work and live in.
These intersections are where this exhibition begins.
PROCESS / View the time lapse video here.
Copyright Darren McPherson 2011 · All rights reserved · firstname.lastname@example.org