Style? Hmmmm.....that could be in the eye of the beholder, or that could just be something I am sometimes lacking. I try, really I do, and I work the black color I swear. I have been known to kick it up a notch with some fancy-shmancy out fits, yet um, these were not those times:
The Tale of Two Shoes
Yes I was a mere 23 year old out on a date with a rakish, dashing young gent. He was quite well off (so he said) and took me to a party at a mansion. I was a nervous wreck and in a mad dash to get out the door I reached in my closet and grabbed shoes with out looking. What I chose to wear was one black suede shoe with a large gold buckle, and on my other foot I chose a brown Eal skin loafer. Hmmm, not the best to grab shoes in the dark.....I was not stylish.
The Damn Navy Dress
You would think by the time I turned 27 I would be a little more sophisticated. Alas, I attended my husbands 10 Year High School Reunion in a navy dress, with a large white nun collar, white tights and white pumps......yes I said white pumps. The year was 1997 not 1987 and I was in Southern California with 200 blond bombshells in sun dresses and strappy sandals and about 95 degrees outside. I did not fit in at all, not to mention I was sweating and had blisters on my feet...again not SO stylish.
I thought it was all the rage back in 1986 when I discovered liquid eyeliner, and oh did I discover it. I decided that turquoise would be MY color and I owned, I lived it I um........I wore it every where. I literally wore that darn turquoise eyeliner (top and bottom lids in case you needed a visual) for about 4 years............Not until someone in the dorms at SJSU kindly suggested that my poor eyelids might be happier in a deeper shade of say brown did I give up the love of the turquoise. All together now...so super stylish
So....when it came to develop a style for Jamie's Painting & Design I was all over it. And I mean all over it. I owned it, I lived it, I loved it and I basically scrapped everything I ever knew so that I could make this style work. This I could do.
A Style Guide - a style guide is something that every company should have. Having worked in animation I was all too familiar with them. I am using it in the broadest sense of the term, and I am also adding in rules that a particular company or 'character' a company may have. If you were to decipher the style guide for Warner Bros. cartoon characters you would easily figure out the rules or guides. Who does not know that Bugs Bunny always wins, he is always sarcastic, and he he always looks at the camera and says, "What's Up Doc?"
The JPD Style Guide
- Every piece of artwork has a black line around it. A dash dot, dash dot sort of black outline
- Our products use a very specific black curvy stylized writing for small type
- Our artwork is cutesy, simple with small black dots for eyes and smiles
- Cartoony(not a real word I know) would be the way to describe our products - animated and childish or child like. Sophisticated we are not.
- Bright colors, we like to use bright colors
- Theme based, our products are very theme based
You may read this and think why would you make Art Rules? Why not do whatever? Why not actually open your self up to all kinds of art? Being a professional artist I could do that, I could duplicate, replicate or make up all and any kind of art style that I chose. I have seen this done too. Yet it would be very hard for some other competitor to come in and copy me right now. My style is set, it is there, it is almost five years old. I own this style if you will. I am not bragging, it is a fact, if someone came in and started painting like I do then others would think it was a JPD product, or confuse it with our products, our brand. I have had this discussion and argument with other business owners and it is seriously a hard thing to describe...
Now there are always times to possibly break the rules, and there are times when a request may come in from a big time company that lets us bend the rules. But I said bend, I did not say turn, break or actually ignore our rules. Recently we were asked to do 5 prototypes for a bedding company - using their styles as reference. I made five prototypes and used there bedding as a jumping off point - not to copy, yet I owned it, I made it my own. I actually improvised and just used the bedding as a launching pad or a basis for my designs if you will.
One time when I broke my own rule was designing Trading Cards. I thought I could make these part of our line of products. I wanted to let parents or customers alter the skin tone and hair color. I wanted to let them change the school or team colors with these products. I also decided (wrongly) to make the characters or the actual artwork realistic, not cartoony. I broke one of my own rules.
And if these were pulled out as a separate product (the are in our Name Plaque family).....they would be considered a very bad product. They did not sell well, they did not meet our standards for a successful product. I believe it is because we, uh...I did not do what my customers expected. To this day company's have no idea that these are our products.