Made by Hand


I have noticed a trend toward hand-made artwork finding its way into advertising and design. It is an interesting trend. A rebellion against the slick, universal precision of computer graphics.

I guess some of the influences are street art (graffiti, stenciling etc) and the rise of body art in recent years. I have heard a figure bandied about that 30% of North Americans have a tattoo.

Major brands are getting in on the act. In the States Camel and Nike have hired the tattoo artist Scott Campbell to give their promotional material a unique character. In an odd way I wonder whether 'inking'onto the skin of a brand is anything more than stylised decoration or (in the case of Camel) being desperate to have something to 'say' in a category that has no real benefit - which reminds me of the UK campaign for a brand of cigarettes in the 80s as tough regulations began to bite: 'We can't tell you anything about Winstone cigarettes - so here's a tart leaning against a bar'(accompanied by a photo of a pie leant against a crowbar).

Whatever the reason for the trend there is no doubt that it is influencing brands that seek street cred or those keen to find a distinctive way of adding a unique texture to their messages.

There is an article in the New York Times you might find interesting.

I do admire people who have a talent for creating with their own hands - the desktop publishing revolution was a double edged sword. When I first began in advertising the agency I worked for still had an artist in residence who retouched images by hand, airbrushing, clear-cutting and creating line and tone product illustrations. Artists were once the stars of ad agencies before there were creative teams. And, much as I admire the genius of guys like Linds Redding of The Department of Motion Graphics' skills with 3D emulation of reality - it is when I can see their hand that I like their work best (Superbank and Starburst Sucks).

On that note enjoy this:

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