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Design Craft: A Look at Design Trends and Inspiration

Posted by: Elan Cole on January 22, 2014
Bart Laube

This is the first in a series of four posts in which we look at the foundations of great work: Design Craft, Creative Ideas, Creative Leadership, and Brand-led Innovation, through the lens of our Consumer Branding practice.

In this first installment of a two-part interview, Elan Cole, Global Executive Creative Director, Consumer Brands for Interbrand talks design process, craft and knowledge with Bart Laube, Senior Designer, Interbrand Cincinnati. Bart is responsible for some of the world’s most recognizable identities (Bounty and Charmin, to name a couple), which he develops by hand, on paper.

Cole: Who, or what, inspired you to pick up the pencil and draw?

Laube: I remember being young and not being able to sit still long enough. To be in a classroom listening to my teachers for hours at a time was torture. The only time I enjoyed school was when I would draw. I would just put my pen on a piece of paper and scribble. Eventually the scribbling started to look like something…

Charmin sketches

Cole: Who have your influences and heroes been along the way? Who do you admire today?

Laube: Winsor McCay was particularly inspirational. He could draw elaborate scenes with hundreds of snowmen having a snowball fight in an architecturally accurate snow palace in ink without a sketch. Natural ability. He invented many modern animation techniques in 1914 and Disney considers him the father of animation. I aspire to do as well as he did.

Charles Schulz also inspires me. He taught me that proportion and simple lines could touch millions of people. If you look at Charlie Brown’s face, it is very simple – two dots, two lines and a scribble. He created a world with those lines that lasted past his death.

Today I admire Chris Ware, Daniel Clowes and Art Spiegelman. They are great visual storytellers responsible for the creation of the graphic novel. Mcbess is interesting stylistically. I also am a big fan of Max Fliescher who influenced Mcbess. I am always interested in distinctive style and less interested in derivative works.

Charmin Designs

Cole: What is a design trends you find particularly inspiring today?

Laube: Hand drawn treatments are being used everywhere these days. The Levis “Go Forth” Ad campaign has a great inspirational feel to it. The Red Bull TV commercials use hand drawn cartoons to communicate humor.

Charmin Logo

Cole: What's the difference between working on paper and working with pixels? How (and when) do you transition between the two?

Laube: Working on paper is simple and less about process and more about having a thought. Computers though are great at efficient task management. I usually think on paper and execute color on computers. The color can be changed and tweaked easily on a computer. They can print and make copies, but computers will never have a good idea.

Drawing well is reaching that Alpha Brain Wave state or relaxed consciousness. That is why great art speaks without words. The hands are connected to the brain.

The key is to not take every line seriously. Let it flow out. Just start drawing. Scribble in rough lines or shapes. Just relax and watch what you are doing. Don't over think it. Trust yourself.

Skittles Design

Stay tuned for more from Elan Cole and Bart Laube’s design craft conversation and share your thoughts on design craft with us on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.  

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