Taking more photos

Tina all bundled up

I’ve been taking a lot more photos recently, which you might not know if you aren’t my friend on Flickr. Well, now you can check that out, or if you’re into Tumblr, you can check out da.vehoffman.com for photos and the occasional doodle.

I will probably save only my favorite photos to post to the official Dave Makes Blog.

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Dave Makes Redesigned for 2011

DaveMakes.com redesign 2011

Just completed a massive overhaul of Dave Makes dot com last night. This marks version 3 of the site, and definitely my favorite so far. There are still a few things I’m tweaking, which makes this “beta” I suppose, but what isn’t “beta” on the internets?

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The Internet VS Privacy: A Helpful Venn Diagram

Internet VS Privacy - A Helpful Venn Diagram

Inspired by a little chat about privacy leaks on Facebook and beyond, I created this infographic and quietly posted it to Flickr. It seems to have really taken off on Twitter, Tumblr, and other realms of the blogosphere, so I figured it probably belongs here as well.

Update: Thanks to Techcrunch, Laughing Squid, Gizmodo, and all the other folks out there who liked this enough to link/post about it. You’re all lovely people. There’s no greater reward for a designer than when his work resonates with other people.

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Goodbye. Hello!

McAninch Arts Center Mural (and me)

I designed this mural for the College of Dupage McAninch Arts Center. They put it up over the summer, nice that the school has something to remember me by. It was a wild ride, COD!

But wait, how did we get here? My time at the College of DuPage ended with an absolutely insane portfolio night (which I will have to cover in another post), after which I finally earned my associate’s degree in graphic design. Then there were the parties, and the month-long road trip, and finally the move to Milwaukee.

That’s right, I am now officially a student at MIAD, and in two years I will have a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Design. I’m already up to my eyeballs in projects, so look forward to seeing some new work soon. It’s good to be back!

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Mørk package design

Mørk  - Norwegian Black Tea

Most tea packages are flowery, bright, and look like they’re aimed at yoga instructors. When considering what kind of package would stand out, I came up with the idea of an all-black box that would cut through all the noise on the shelf and suck you in like a black hole. But who would want to buy an all-black box of tea? Probably fans of Norwegian black metal.

After a few failed mockups with black type on black paper, I decided to switch to a metallic silver stock for the box to improve legibility. I decided that this was a good compromise that didn’t diminish the mood I was trying to convey with this design. And just to make sure, I incorporated an illustration of a burned-down church. (note: I do not listen to black metal or condone the movement’s church burnings and other nefarious activities. I do find them fascinating, however, and juxtaposing such an extreme and unpopular group’s imagery on something as mundane as blackberry tea tickled me to no end.)

Mørk  - Norwegian Black Tea

The positive reaction I received during the critique of this project was surprising. The overall response was that if they saw this on the shelf, it would be too weird to pass up. So, as a completely tongue-in-cheek oddity of a product design, I think I can call this a success.

Mørk  - Norwegian Black Tea

The text on the back reads:

Leaves of blackberry, the most hideously demonic of all berries, dried and combined with Norway’s blackest black tea. This obsidian brew will warm you so thoroughly, you may believe Ragnarock has begun within the depths of your hollow soul.

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Feed Me!

Feed Me!

I drew this comic for digital illustration class. The two biggest questions about it have been, “How did you do that?” and “Where is your beard?” Well, I sat down with my Wacom Bamboo tablet and drew the whole thing in photoshop, and that’s my beardless alter ego in the comic. Nobody asked if this was a true story, which it is.

"Feed Me!" photos

I’m very happy with how this came out, and I learned a lot in doing it. I will definitely be drawing more comics in the future.

"Feed Me!" photos

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Portrait of a Dork

Dave Makes at computer (by Dave Makes)

The nice folks at MIAD sent me a couple of postcards with some drawings on them, so I thought it only right to respond with a little illustration. A pretty accurate self-portrait, I think, except I probably wouldn’t be wearing shoes.

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Dave Makes Identity

One reason I haven’t taken the time to customize the fugly default WordPress skin yet is because I’ve been hard at work on an update of my personal brand. I’ve become known for my beard and big square glasses, and up until now I’ve been using this little doodle self-portrait.

Beardy doodle

This worked fine as a kind of “signature” on my student work, but it didn’t fit in with any of my cleaner design work, and I couldn’t find a suitable typeface that worked well with it. I was struggling to find a solution, until I had a design epiphany with my Portfolio Night 2010 identity, and then it all came spilling out. The answer: DOTS.

I began by creating a custom dot matrix typeface and a series of icons.

New Dave Makes Logo

A digital aesthetic with an essence of humanity. Technical, yet playful. Right and left brain bouncing ideas off each other like an endless game of pong inside my head. It pays tribute to the 8-bit games of the 80’s that were so essential to my generation, but leaves room for infinite interpretation across media.

New Dave Makes Logo

It comes from deep down inside my being, and I hope you’re looking forward to its implementation across Dave Makes dot com as much as I am.

New Dave Makes Logo

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Portfolio Night 2010 Identity

Portfolio Night is the culminating event for the College of DuPage Graphic Design program, and every year the Design 4 students compete to create the logo and identity for that year. I’m thrilled to announce that the department has chosen my identity for Portfolio Night 2010. This is a huge honor for me, and marks a turning point in my design thinking (not to mention a boost for my confidence).

Previous portfolio night identities had heavily relied on the image of a traditional portfolio case as a primary design element. I felt that this was too obvious and overdone, and not representative of what a portfolio even looks like now. I wanted the logo to connect to high school students (read: prospective graphic design students) who live in an increasingly digital world and may not even have any point of reference for what a portfolio case is supposed to be. I felt that it would be more appropriate to create something that represented what graphic design meant to me, so I began with typography and a grid.

Portfolio Night 2010 (by Dave Makes)

I created a custom typeface in three weights with a modern, modular approach with a dash of pixel art thrown in. The type follows a strict grid system, but still displays a lot of character in its little quirks and idiosyncrasies. I chose a bright, enthusiastic color scheme that reflected the excitement that surrounds portfolio night.

Portfolio Night 2010 (by Dave Makes)

The modular nature of the typeface gives the logo a nice rectangular shape, which can be reconfigured for a vertical banner…

Portfolio Night 2010 (by Dave Makes)

…or even patterned…

Portfolio Night 2010 (by Dave Makes)

…infinitely. (This was a little gag on fellow design student Alex Yaeger who has a penchant for displaying his designs in faux-macro perspective. I kid because I love.) This pattern of the logotype can be read horizontally and vertically, and creates an interesting diagonal colored stripes.

Portfolio Night 2010 (by Dave Makes)

Graphic design school is intense. We regularly spend long nights pulling our hair out agonizing over concepts and bleeding our imaginations dry for the best work we can muster. Portfolio night is a celebration of the fruit of our labors, and I wanted to acknowledge and even celebrate this struggle in the promotional poster.

Portfolio Night 2010 (by Dave Makes)

The poster reads “Blood Sweat and Graphic Design. See the top COD Graphic Design students and the work that nearly killed them.” Playful, tongue-in-cheek, yet honest.

Portfolio Night 2010 (by Dave Makes)

You can see the typographic pattern on the close-up. (The date is not official, don’t mark your calendars quite yet.)

Portfolio Night 2010 (by Dave Makes)

The back of the poster is a brochure outlining the details of the event.

Portfolio Night 2010 (by Dave Makes)

It’s portfolio night tradition to print t-shirts emblazoned with the logo, so I mocked up some possible designs.

Portfolio Night 2010 (by Dave Makes)

Notice the logo pattern appearing again as a subtle grey-on-black in the background. This version could be used throughout the actual night of the event, giving it a more refined, classy feel that may appeal more to guests from the professional design world.

Portfolio Night 2010 (by Dave Makes)

The logo looks pretty slick on a dark shirt as well.

Portfolio Night 2010 (by Dave Makes)

Portfolio Night 2010 (by Dave Makes)

And finally, because there is a custom typeface to work with, all supporting materials match and support the identity and stand as unique and unmistakable pieces of the whole. For instance, a slide in the actual Portfolio Night presentation might look something like this:

Portfolio Night 2010 (by Dave Makes)

I’d like to thank my teachers, family, and classmates for all the encouragement and support. I put a lot of myself into this design, and it feels amazing to hear how much other people like it. This was a big step forward in my personal relationship with design, not just because of how it turned out, but how I thought about it, and I couldn’t have achieved it without all of you.

Thanks for everything.


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WordPress, GO!

I have officially switched the Dave Makes Blog from Blogger to WordPress because Blogger is phasing out FTP support. I haven’t had time to pick at the CSS yet, so we’ll all have to deal with the fugly default style for now, but I promise I will get to it.

Thanks for being my internet friend.

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