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Keeping the Ugly Baby at bay!

ugly babySo let me tell you a tale about an ugly baby that I almost adopted.

Last year I had a chance to bid on a project to create a fitness dvd. I put in a reasonable bid as per the information given to me. Well, I didn’t get the job, it was awarded to another business of which their name and location will not be named. No harm in losing a bid, it happens and it’s not the end of the world. So I put the whole experience out of my mind until while at Market Street Faire I was approached by the person who asked for the bid. I was told about how horrible this production had turned out. Things like the sound being bad, the video being shaky and grainy and how this person is embarrassed to show anyone how the project even looks so far. Also it’s now summer and the DVD was supposed to be out in spring in time for pre-swimsuit season. Oh and to top it all off, how a lot of money has been spent to get this incredibly bad project.

So ignoring the fact that I should have been the one to do the project from the beginning and now I’m being asked if I can help fix this persons bad decision, I offer to look at the project and give my advice on whether it can fixed or shot in the head and reshot. So i get a dvd of the project as it sits now. This being after four revisions. To call it an ugly baby would be kind. The menu system is as badly put together as a Yugo, the footage is not lit correctly (turns out there were no lights used), it’s grainy (camera was on high gain), the audio sounds like she was standing in the middle of a gym room and they didn’t put a mic on her (strangely, they didn’t put a mic on her). I wanted to give the first producer the benefit of the doubt, so I told her if she could get the raw footage I could give her a definitive answer on what to do. She did, and well just like in a horror movie when the scientist creates an unholy beast, it had to be put down.

We decided to reshoot the entire project. Along with that reshoot means a complete reboot of all the project, new graphics, new DVD cover, new footage, all the way down the line. All of at this point I’m pretty good with. The only qualm I have is the picture that was on the DVD as the image quality is so so. I mention I’d like to reshoot it as it’s not quite right. I am told that it took a lot of work to get the shape she was in to get that shot and she would rather not if she didn’t have to. I’m also told that the original is better than what was printed on the disc. So I put together a new quote as this is now almost a full year from the original quote and things change. It’s a fair quote given the amount of work involved, hiring a second camera person and the amount of DVD copies she wants to make. Well, in this time as I’m working on the quote, I am emailed the cover shot to use and some quick pics to see what the old DVD cover design looked like for some reference. The cover shot is rough. It’s a low resolution, poorly lit, poor color, and grainy. In short, not an image that belongs on a cover of a DVD, Facebook maybe, but not on a DVD for resale.

I send over the quote and my concerns regarding the picture. I offer some options regarding the picture. We don’t have to shoot it right away, we can wait further in the food chain as I wouldn’t need it right away. We can also shoot it in my studio and light it correctly. The response I received was that she would go over the quote and that she would not reshoot the picture. I responded with a polite email (I even had it checked by someone, way friendlier than me), explaining about while this DVD project is her project and her name is on it, mine is as well. Mine is actually the first reputation anyone sees when the pick up the DVD and that I have a reputation for quality work and I want to keep that reputation. In short if she wasn’t willing to reshoot it to help make this the best project it can be, that I would have to pass on the project.

Sometimes you have an ugly baby try to attach itself you like an albatross around your neck. Thankfully, I was able to escape before the knot tightened and choked me….Whew! That was close!

Juvenile Firesetter Prevention Council Logo Creation

So a good friend asked if I could hep them out with a logo for a joint program with their organization (Youth Violence Prevention Council) and the Shasta County Arson Task Force.  The project is called Juvenile Firesetter Prevention & Intervention.

As you may have read here before, a lot of times I have some grand massive scheme to the entire logo. Well this one I did and didn’t at the same time. The type portions were pretty straightforward in my mind right from the beginning. I went with a large JFPI because nobody ever really calls these things by their full names, so emphasizing the initials made sense. That lead me to the smaller type for the acronym definition. The two blue lines, the blue being cool as oppose to the hot colors of the flames, are used to enclose the definition, keeping everything from floating in empty space. Then below the lower blue line the partnership information. For the typefaces I went sans serif with a nice linear face for the JFPI as I wanted that “official” and “straightforward”. The full name I wanted something less imposing to balance out the big initials and the partnership text almost as a “disclaimer” only in small caps so it retained some interest.

Now the “flames” actually serve two purposes. One, well the organization is dealing with firesetters, so fire makes iconographic sense. But there is a second meaning in the flames. This group helps people change and grow or if you prefer be reborn. So what is a better icon of flames and being reborn than a Phoenix. In Greek mythology, a phoenix  is a long-lived bird that is cyclically regenerated or reborn. Associated with the sun, a phoenix obtains new life by arising from the ashes of its predecessor. So if you close there is a subtle nod to the Phoenix and all who will be reborn thru this program.

I hope you had as much fun learning about the process as I had making the logo!


Outlander Creative JFPI Sketch