Tag Archives: black

Soulight On: Dave McClinton

spotlightlogo_DMSoulFul Design is proud
to present the series
Soulight On: a showcase featuring designers of color across different creative fields. My purpose is to shine light on fellow creatives that we don’t see in the mainstream design trades. My goal is for you to be inspired, be informed, be creative.

Designer and artist Dave McClinton launched his one-man design concern in 2004. Technically, though he had been taking on clients since his school days at Texas State University from a small sign shop to an alternative newspaper for tech start-ups and then out on his own. In the 20 years Dave has been working as a graphic designer, he has never lost his love of the work. “I still get excited about every project during the initial discussions,” he says. Early on, he was taught the 2 of 3 principle—fast, cheap, good… pick any two. “My heart is bigger than my wallet as I often help folks out regardless. It’s very hard to walk away from a creative opportunity,” Dave states.

He currently runs his design business while juggling a designer T-shirt line, Drivn Apparel, an advocacy newspaper, TODO Austin, and his own personal artwork. Late nights are a regular occurrence. After the phone stops ringing, emails calm down and those ‘real quick’ requests are over, the night offers peace to actually design something. Dave’s work has been published in Print‘s Regional Design Annual, Typography and Enclosures, the 4th book in the Master Library series, Shapes and Symbols, the 3rd book in the new Master Library series and Logo Lounge Volume 7.

1. How did you first become interested in graphic design?

As a kid, I was always interested in art. I’d scour over posters, magazines, illustrated books, and in particular, album covers. I didn’t know what the job titles of the people creating them were but I knew I wanted to be a part of it. During my senior year of high school, the first three hours of everyday was a class called ‘commercial art’. This is sort of old school, as the profession had just started being referred to as graphic design. This is when I first thought that I could make a living being creative. Continue reading Soulight On: Dave McClinton

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Design Inspirations: Richard Baker

During the ’90s, US magazine was one of the many magazine titles that inspired me as a young art director. US magazine is not the same title that US Weekly is currently. Today it exists as just another gossip rag. No real design, no real photography—just an assembly line of pages. US magazine during the 1990s was a well designed, informative and creative publishing force. The innovative photography and clever typographic pages each month filled me with immense joy and energy that motivated me to strive to its creative level. As each new issue hit the newsstands, I felt so fortunate to be part of the publishing game because of titles like US. I felt even greater pride when I learned that its Art Director was Richard Baker, who happened to be African-American.

Richard Baker art directed US with such innovation, energy and boundless imagination. The way he played with type in his feature spreads worked so harmoniously with the photography and illustration that created such emotional connections between its readers and subjects. His work made the readers understand the personalities of the celebrities featured. He approaches seemed simple in construction but were actually complex in its smart use of connecting the heart of the story with its readers. His work was a staple in the Society of Publication Designers’ annuals. Richard Baker’s work really pushed me in my role as Art Director while working on a business title owned by Essence Communications. With his fantastic magazine work, adding the fact that Richard Baker happened to be African-American really lifted my spirit as I’d come across so few magazine designers that look like me. Eventually, he moved on from US magazine and went to Premiere, another one of my favorite titles during the ‘90s.

Richard Baker brought that same creative innovation to Premiere and really elevated the title to new heights where I still saw his pages in the SPD annuals. I lost track of him after he moved on from Premiere but I remember he was at LIFE magazine the last time they resurrected the iconic title. Today, I don’t know where he has landed but wherever it is I know he is on to a new level of creative innovation. Personally, I would just like to let him know how much his work has inspired me over my career and that he really helped me discover my passion for magazine design.

Thank you, Richard Baker.

September 11th Ignores Way Too Many

Portrait of Felicia Traylor BassMore than just white firefighters and wealthy traders died that day but you couldn’t tell from ten years of coverage.

I lost my wife and the mother of my first-born on that sunny day of September 11, 2001. Her name is Felicia Yvette Traylor-Bass and I was her husband.

Such a beautiful start to the day ended with me falling into the darkest period of my life. Watching that huge gaping black hole in the side of the North Tower, I instinctively knew we would never see her again. With both towers collapsing, the realization of my instinct became official for everyone else. The following few months showed how great humanity can be with unified cooperation, consideration and empathy that not only helped my son and myself but also thousands of other family members. My heart swelled with pride and hope. Unfortunately, it was too short-lived.

We are days away from the tenth anniversary of the attacks of September 11th and the bombardment of specials and shows revisiting the day’s events and its aftermath have begun. Over the past ten years, I’ve watched, read and listened to numerous tales recounted by survivors, family members, politicians and the good old media about this horrific day. If I had never heard about September 11th and relied only on these accounts, I’d believe that the only folks who died that day were firefighters and wealthy financial traders who were all white men and good Catholics. From nearly all the brochures, websites and other promotional material from various organizations dedicated to September 11th including the National September 11th Memorial & Museum, that same imagery is reinforced with the association that the people who died in this tragedy happened only to be white, male and Catholic. Continue reading September 11th Ignores Way Too Many

Stop All The Shit!

Why don’t you become a doctor?

Why does it seem to be that communities of color don’t support or encourage the creative arts as much as the mainstream community does? Why are families pushing to their children that being a doctor, a lawyer, an accountant or Wall Street power player are the only ways to have a career? Why do we buy into the notion that the creative arts are a luxury—something that only the mainstream, i.e. white, folks can enjoy, understand and execute?

Many of times I’ve witnessed this underlying cultural fallacy in clients who feel that when I, a graphic designer who is black, informs them of the need to invest in a visual plan for their business, they hear me suggesting they waste dollars on superficial expenses. Yet that same advice coming from a white designer or studio, then it’s taken as crucial marketing advice and must be budgeted for immediately. REALLY? We both can have the same design background, education, experience but somehow my professional advice is considered to be superficial. Dismiss the fact that I might be more sensitive to your business’s needs because of shared cultural experiences however, when the professional expertise is identical yet the conclusion is that mine is superficial says but one thing. Cultural genocide. Continue reading Stop All The Shit!

Where Are All The Black People?

Several weeks ago I got this event notice on Facebook that really grabbed my attention. “Where Are All The Black People” was the title. How funny was that…as that’s been a mantra of mine since my early days at Pratt. This was to be a frank, no-holds-barred discussion about the lack of black people and others within the ad industry moderated by Jeff Goodby, co-founder of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners along with Jimmy Smith, Group Creative Director of TBWA\Chiat\Day/Los Angeles. The were three other panelists there: one was a black woman whose name was Cheeraz (like the wine) Gorman. She was a copywriter/planner. One was a British white woman whose first name was Danni, I believe. She’s a recruiter for agencies. Lastly was a young black man whose name I couldn’t hear. He is a soon to br graduate of Morehouse. Now I’m not an advertising man, matter of fact I hate it, but I thought it gave a diverse range of perspectives from the industry. The lack of color within the ad industry has been a raging topic since the ’60s. So we are talking over FORTY YEARS! It’s 2011 and still no real, tangible progression. I attended just to see just how frank it was going to be.

Continue reading Where Are All The Black People?