Tuesday, September 15, 2009

CDFotM: 9/2009!

Hi all, The Cool Design Firm of the Month for September is One Trick Pony of Hammonton, NJ.

I first became aware of the company through their work for Turner Classic Movies — some of which has become relatively significant. They just completed a set of reimagined film posters for TCM's annual "Summer Under the Stars" campaign, which show a solid blending of conceptual thinking and visual style. It's at least apparent that they actually watched the films before they designed the posters, which says something. Ironically, my favorite of the bunch is their poster for Gilda, primarily for the great typography, though a part of me screams that you can't do a poster for Gilda and leave out Rita Hayworth.

The designers at this place are clearly at their best when they are putting together deep campaigns. They are quite good at carrying a design scheme through a broad variety of applications without the work getting redundant or stale. This comes from a devotion to sketching — it's easy to build a cohesive campaign that doesn't rely on a single piece of art when you sketch properly. All of those interesting little ideas that don't become part of the logo can have a second life and bring vitality to a brand after the corporate identity stuff is finished. Sketch them all out thoroughly and don't throw them away. Check out the Gorilla Coffee print campaign to see what I mean.

Their web work for Sony Pictures Classics is incredibly strong as well. Why? Because it doesn't look like web work. It's just solidly constructed design that would be just as applicable in any print application. Learn to design properly and you can design anything. Take for example their site for Redbelt, which lives or dies by the viewer's understanding of the type treatment. Web, print, tattoo, or skywriting — the concept comes first, appropriate style second, and the application a distant third.

All in all, a sharp firm that is clearly on the rise. I'm interested to see more work from them, especially in the identity / branding area. Though it's clear they can do the stuff, it doesn't seem to be a focus for them. There aren't many pieces shown at the moment, and they aren't as good as the web / print campaign stuff. A few of the logos are a bit derivative. They should move that category to the bottom of the navigation.

Note that they have an out of date "Now Hiring" link on their homepage. (Though Prall applied there prior to graduation and didn't get a whiff — sketchy!) There's some internship info in there for you New Jersey kids to check out though. This company is giving a talk in November for AIGA Central Pennsylvania that we'll be sure to attend.

See you next month!

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