the lockstep studio mission statement

modern western advertising is mostly engineered to extract as much as possible from the consumer. it is a culture of fleecing and a scourge upon society, attempting to convince the consumer that in order to be truly happy, one must buy their product. lockstep studio exists to create works that replenish society and cultivate value in our communities, rather than strip mine it. we work to promote cultural health and wellbeing, not to build brand equity.

we are humanists in that we want to create projects that have the greatest practical and enriching benefits for the most people. to be accessible to nearly everyone, not only to a select few.

lockstep studio

my good friend jay commissioned me to design this poster for his company, sherpaa, a healthcare consultancy for businesses which helps companies spend their healthcare dollars wisely on both health insurance and healthcare usage.

this poster will be used to encourage employees of sherpaa’s client companies to signup for and make use of sherpaa’s marvelous service (and it is marvelous, and frickin’ awesome. you should check it out.).

always a pleasure to work with jay, and on projects for organizations like sherpaa that are making real, positive and tangible change in broken industries like healthcare.

lockstepstudio

this is the “make yourself big” eMagazine, or ePub, or eReader thing, whatever you wanna call it. this is a self-initiated project that cindy and i designed as lockstep studio using the research of amy cuddy, whose ted talk you may have seen.

the basic premise of amy’s work is that your body posture effects your mental state in a very measurable, biological way. open up your posture, and you’ll become more confident.

we sent the publication to amy as a gift. to our great delight, amy loved the publication and said she would like to use it in a study. you can download a pdf for free here.

thedaileycrafton

cindymade and i just finished up another lockstep project:

for the Department of Education’s SEP Showcase – a celebration of work created by students of the NYC Software Engineering Pilot Program. 

The concept for this visual direction started with a loose interpretation of algorithms as “a set of rules that precisely defines a sequence of operations.” Basic geometric shapes were used to create a system of letterforms. The shapes can be remixed to create new combinations (new letters, new patterns, new relationships between shapes.) This versatile set of combinations can be remixed to create an “active” visual language for the event.

for my part, i like the power that the DOE’s software engineering pilot gives to students to subvert their culture. go do it kids!

cindymade and are proud to have created the7lessonteacher.com, a site built to feature john taylor gatto’s “the seven lesson school teacher” essay as an intro to his larger body of work, and to help people rethink what school is or should be.

we also designed, printed and wheat-pasted posters to raise awareness of the site and help spread it’s reach. we launched the site and hung the posters on the last day of school in nyc, which we thought was a fitting launch day.

we hope you enjoy the site and are inspired to action in your community to make school an enjoyable fulfilling learning experience and not a drudgery to be endured.

twelve fonts

massimo vignelli believed that you should only ever need to use twelve type families as a designer, only need twelve in your library. at one point in my life, i thought that this was a silly idea. now i realize that i was the silly one. and i started to see that, even though i had access to hundreds of typefaces, i actually only used maybe eight consistently.

so today i decided, i will select my twelve and not look back. here they are.

serifs: garamond, caslon, liberation. slab serfis: clarendon, lubalin graph, 58 rodeo. sans serifs: futura, avenir, helvetica neue. monospace/display: andale, courier, pastelaria.

think about it, even within futura, you can express a wide range of vibes. for modern and elegant, use light. for bold, athletic and energetic, use bold condensed oblique.

i think within the font families i’ve chosen, i can achieve any mood/look that i need to achieve. i also think that this will allow me to develop an intimate understanding of the typefaces i’ve chosen, and elevate my expertise with them, as well as bring further consistency to my body of design work.

would you choose twelve type families to stick to for the rest of your life? which twelve would they be?

do you do deceptive design?

graphic design is a wonderful tool. it gives form and nuance to ideas in a way that words alone cannot. think of milton glaser’s iconic “i love ny.” when typed, it carries the idea well enough. we read it and it communicates love for ny on a basic level. now call to mind the graphically enhanced version. the large sturdy black typeface, the bright red heart and the stacking of the elements take the message and imbue it with life, with vibrance. it communicates the idea of love for ny much more emphatically than just a typed phrase. or, imagine nike’s “just do it” typed in big, bold, all caps, oblique and bright yellow characters. the sense of doing it is heightened by the form. graphic design is an amazing tool for communicating more clearly and convincingly the essence of an idea or thing.

it’s also a fantastic tool for obfuscating the essence of an idea or thing, a fantastic tool of deception, as most of the advertising world has discovered. indeed the new york lottery and the designers and agencies that work for them have done a superb job of using graphic design to communicate a message that is exactly the opposite of what their little games produce. “cash for life?” “watch green fall out of the blue?” hardly.

just because it’s good-looking design doesn’t mean it’s good design. the responsibility is ours to use design to communicate the true nature of a thing rather than to obfuscate it.

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