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Perfect Storm


The Venn diagram says it all. My teacher Jill Miller has written a book called "The Roll Model" (it's available for pre-order on Amazon, publication date of November 4), I received my advance copy Friday. I've been working with Jill and her husband Robert on packaging and other branding materials for Yoga Tune Up® and Tune Up Fitness® for about four years now. We've collaborated and produced projects I'm proud of: The Massage Therapy Kit; the Tune Up Fitness® logo; the Roll Model logo; hangtags; and most recently...the front cover and technique icons that appear in The Roll Model.

I am particularly proud of the icons for this book. As a graphic designer, iconography is one of the hardest jobs I do. Well, icons and trademarks. It is a device of pure visual communication. You must boil down the essence of your message to a simple symbol. Sometimes that symbol has typography but most often it doesn't. In fact, "if your symbol can't communicate without type as an explanation of what it does, it's not successful". At least that is what one of of my mentors, the great Charles Goslin (truly a genius...that's for another blog) told me.

My process involves bullet-nibbed black markers and tracing paper, lots of tracing paper. Pen to paper sketches. Sometimes, the first thing you draw is the answer, sometimes you have to circle back, but most often the solution is somewhere in the middle of dozens of pages of black scribbles. I've been doing this long enough that I sort of know when I hit it. But exploration is everything.

The icons/symbols I was tasked to design for this book had to serve a specific purpose. To show the ACTION or FEELING of the Yoga Tune Up® therapy/Coregeous® balls on your body. A feeling? That's hard to articulate, no less boil down to a one inch-ish square in black and white (That's the other things with symbols that Charlie said, "Always in black and white first! If you have to add color to make it understood, it doesn't work!". The icons were presented/approved only in black and white. Color was added later). I was very grateful that I had experience as both a practitioner and teacher of said techniques. Even with that familiarity, it took weeks of thought, playing with the balls, sketching more, putting the pen down/going back, sketching again.

I wanted to design art that would ultimately stand the test of time. That with exposure and repetition of use, to create visuals that will relate specifically to the context they are presented in. To support and visually explain the concepts and rolling techniques that Jill so beautifully demonstrates on every page of her book. And while I can hear Charlie's voice in the back of my brain, even eighteen-years later saying "Get rid of the type!", then I looked at them and say "No." They are exactly right and exactly what they need to be. Beautiful.

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