With a 3rd single dropping from the new Tame Impala album, I had to reach out to the graphic designer behind the beautiful madness, so tap in and get inside Robert Beatty’s head the man behind the cover art for TI and many others.
Name: Robert Beatty
Current city: Lexington, Kentucky
Pets: Mr. Smith (toy poodle), Blue Velvet (chihuahua)
Studio setup: In home, basically in my kitchen
ISO50: Share a childhood memory that might relate to your design? I drew constantly as a kid, but I was generally just very curious and wanted to find out how everything worked from the inside out, which is definitely the way I treat design and music. I remember discovering video feedback with the family camcorder when I was in maybe 4th grade or something. Circuit bending not long after that. I was always taking things apart and getting in trouble.
ISO50: If you couldn’t create music or design in your life, what would you be doing? I can’t really imagine doing anything else and being happy. I did a few years of renovation/construction work in the past and enjoyed that quite a bit even though it’s exhausting. I definitely can’t see doing something that doesn’t involve making something in some way.
ISO50: How did you doing Tame Impala album art come about? is this how most of your graphic work comes to you? Kevin was familiar with my work and got in touch. Usually if I don’t know someone or have mutual friends people just reach out to me after seeing my work elsewhere, I’m pretty accessible.
ISO50: Tell us about Tame Impala album art and the influences? Kevin’s ideas for the album artwork were all based on turbulent flow, the way liquid or air flows around objects. He sent over a bunch of images of diagrams that I took inspiration from. Everything was very open and they let me interpret things in my own way. It worked well with the kind of stuff I’ve been interested in doing lately. I’ve been trying to incorporate more op-art and moire techniques into the record covers, and this was the perfect opportunity.
ISO50: Can you list off a 4 song playlist of what you listen to while you do your graphic work? I listen to music constantly while working and it is always all over the place, but here’s some stuff I’ve been playing a lot lately.
Nuno Cannavaro – Alsee Brother Ah – Enthuiasm Bo Anders Persson – Love Is Here To Stay Dendo Marionette – Walts (For Lautréament)
ISO50: Something your fans might not know about you? I grew up on a cattle/tobacco farm. I also showed rabbits in the county fair as a kid.
ISO50: Do you collect anything? My collection of art and design books is starting to get out of hand. I’m kind of a pack rat, so I have small collections of a lot of weird stuff- keys, prisms/interesting glass objects (which come in handy for shooting photographs and video through), objects with brick patterns, plants. Obviously I’ve got some records and tapes too.
ISO50: What is the first album cover that pops up in your head and why? Pretty much anytime anyone asks me this question all I can think of Isadore Seltzer’s (of Pushpin Studios fame) cover to Bruce Haack’s “Electric Lucifer” LP. It’s got the perfect balance of 70’s illustration, geometry, crudeness, and precision that I love. Doesn’t hurt that it’s one of my favorite records too.
ISO50: What do you have lined up for the rest of the year? I’ve been working for a while now on an art book of all new material that will be out later this year. I’m planning some new work for a few exhibitions that are in the works. On the music side of things I’ve got a few Three Legged Race EP’s I’m finishing up that will be out this year as well. I’m also starting a new tape label to put out some of my music and some music by my friends early this summer. I’m working on some new soundtracks for a few short videos by Takeshi Murata right now. Lots of record covers and posters too as always.
Now onto the brighter side of the NHL logos and branding. The worst logos list was easy compared to the best. I fit in a few into the top just based on necessity ala a well crafted unique font and a aesthetics that the general public would lean towards.
#5 San Jose Sharks
Starting off with the Sharks logo, it has appeal right away to a younger crowd, its fitting for the area the team lives in and it has a modern take which i’m not against. The reason I put it in the top 5 was because it might have that modern speedy look that I might complain about BUT there is reason here, its a shark breaking through a hockey stick, its a fast creature unlike lets say the Blue Jackets logo there was no reason. Also, it looks like someone took the time with the details and pulled it back a bit to find balance and I can appreciate that.
#4 Pittsburgh Penguins
This one might be a hard one to have people agree with me on. I personally thought it was iconic and it simplified the penguins image for the better. The problem I have with the current Pittsburgh Penguins logo are the old school equipment he’s wearing, if it was more timeless i’d probably like it more. I love the wings here and the bit of yellow on the neck, it shows off that detail is doable in a simple logo.
#3 Hartford Whalers
Classic. Hands down maybe the best executed sports logo for a designer that has to work under the these circumstances: a whale mascot and a team called the Whalers. Do you see the H for Hartford? And we thought the FedEx arrow was special. What a fluid effort, too bad they are now the Carolina Hurricanes, who have a horrid brand.
#2 Edmonton Oilers
So you’re getting paid to do a logo for a sports team, probably a dream job for many designers. You’ll probably want to make it your own and be remembered for your best effort, right? so probably on the top of your list would be a custom font and this designer knocked it out of the park.
#1 Colorado Rockies
When you can take the States flag and transplant it into a team logo and hand in something literal but also create something that can look great on any piece of merch then i’m all in. The designer that created the MLB Colorado Rockies probably will always feel 2nd best. This is bold, grabs your eyes, its for all ages, a city can be proud of it, the uniforms looked out there but one of a kind.
This is a pretty passionate subject for me, probably one that I could argue over for the rest of my life so I decided to finally make a series of posts. Lets start with the NHL aka the National Hockey League. Who has the best and worst logo and why is the question, if you want to join the argument, here is a list of logos.
I will be doing the best NHL logos in a different post and we will go through a few other sports as well.
TOP 5 WORST NHL LOGOS
#5 Washington Capitals
Let me point out a few things before I start explaining the problems I have with it. First off, not a boring font, not a great font but hey i’m actually alright with the ITA situation with the stick and connections its making. Now step away from it and stare, what is it? I want to sell merchandise for my hockey team and make something special for the city that will support it. What is this though? a love for a font and i’m adding a hockey stick because hey its hockey?? It honestly looks like a rushed college graphic designers homework assignment that was turned in without a passion or connection with the sport. An agency maybe doesn’t even care for the sport? could that be what happened here? I’m not going to question the 3 stars or the color scheme but seriously if I was from DC i’d just sort of feel bummed out by this.
#4 Winnipeg Jets
I’ll start off with 2 nice things to say, first off nice work on fitting in the Canadian maple leaf and second i’m happier with this than their old logo which isn’t saying something that nice.
Okay now, i’m into an icon that represents an organization but that has to be a pretty low effort in the jet icon world. Also, why so literal with the leaf and the jet? I also have a problem with its something hard to get excited over, as a fan i’m already excited about the team why not add some cherries on the top for the people of Winnipeg? its like a vague statement without any effort for surprise. I mean this city JUST got their hockey team back and they revealed that…the city was in tears announcing they got their team back and a designer turned in a C- / D+ effort, you give a graduate design class this project and 2 to 3 students in each school across the continent would turn in hands down better executions for a team in 2015 that has the word jet in its name.
#3 Columbus Blue Jackets
Ooooooooooh boy, now we get into the portion of the list where the pros column gets a little thin. We have a star with a flag whizzing across the front like a Miss America ID ribbon strap. You want generic? here is something pretty generic. You already made the average sports fan happy by using colors that most people would wear and I guess the patriotic angle works BUT who made this rule on why things need to look 3D and more importantly angled and tilted?? I completely understand its better than their old logo which is a ribbon cutting disaster but if you’re building a city from scratch to fall in love with hockey then this 2nd step forward on the logo front is full of hesitation and conservative ideas, someone with an imagination needs to step in and start working with them, they aren’t a lost cause.
#2 Vancouver Canucks
My beloved Canucks, my first sports team that I completely adored. I never was a fan when this logo came around in the past and in the present because I was pretty much a fan only in the 90s during the Pavel Bure era. Some people might argue with me that I just like a simple logo, this…I don’t know… who let this out in the public? I’m sure more than one person is in the decision making of a logo out in public, I don’t think there was much thinking going on. Again with the fascination with the hockey stick, we understand one is used to play them sport but putting over a hockey rink and saying thats your cities logo…no, no you can’t turn that in. Its almost frightening that adults were in charge and approved this.
#1 Anaheim Ducks
Well well well, look how far you’ve read into this rant, i’m surprised you stuck around.
Look at this logo… maybe blow it up full screen i’ll wait… and gaze at the glory of it and imagine the confused faces across the country when they saw this the first time.
Its a D for Duck THAT. IS. MAYBE? A BACKWARDS DUCK FOOT?? or a chubby boomerang that would never work because of the surface area and die-cuts. Maybe a shield!?..no, no its not, its just a copper D that was abused in illustrator by a Mountain Dew loving bro. I can’t wrap my head around it and I don’t expect anyone else too either especially anyone in California that showed up to the unveiling of this logo. You go from team colors of teal and purple with a duck mask into this batman weapon made of Taco Bell ingredients.
With Scott so busy with touring, the moving of the design studio to Dijital Fix, and the launch of the new album, there has been a lot of knowledge to pass on and very little opportunity to do so. We’ve finally restored things to their proper order and worked out the kinks in production and we’re now shipping 9 different studio editions in up to 3 sizes, signed and numbered by Scott. These are the highest-grade, limited edition prints of Scott’s artwork that can be obtained.
To kick things off, we’ve decided to offer them at 25% off along with all of the other prints on the site until Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014 at midnight, which also just happens to be my birthday.
I first came across ISO50 and Scott’s work when Jakub came into Dijital Fix in Brooklyn about 5-6 years ago. He showed me the studio editions, and since then we’ve worked together in one form or another, first offering the prints for sale in our Brooklyn store (R.I.P.). When we opened our location in San Francisco, we joined forces to bring ISO50 it’s own storefront and fulfillment away from Merchline’s far-removed warehouse and operate it in-house at Dijital Fix. It’s been amazing to help with the launch of Awake, produce new shirt designs, and be involved in the production of new Lithograph editions (I have a piece I’m writing about this to post soon), and now, finally, bringing back the Studio Editions inside their new home in the ISO50 Studio at Dijital Fix, it seems like a full-circle since my introduction to ISO50 so many years ago.
“Hell, you might just be the best damn girl in Texas.”
“Each and every man under my command owes me one hundred Nazi scalps. And I want my scalps. And all y’all will git me one hundred Nazi scalps, taken from the heads of one hundred dead Nazis. Or you will die tryin’.”
“Look Dave, I can see you’re really upset about this. I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill, and think things over.”
“A beginning is a very delicate time. Know then, that it is the year 10191. The known universe is ruled by the Padisha Emperor Shaddam IV, my father. In this time, the most precious substance in the Universe is the spice melange. The spice extends life. The spice expands consciousness. The spice is vital to space travel. “
“I’m scared, Fif. You know why? It’s that rat circus out there. I’m beginning to enjoy it.”
“It had been a wonderful evening and what I needed now to give it the perfect ending was a bit of the old Ludwig van.”
“You underestimate the power of the Dark Side. If you will not fight, then you will meet your destiny.”
“Can you keep a secret? I’m trying to organize a prison break. I need like, what, an accomplice. We have to first get out of this bar, then the hotel, then the city, and then the country. Are you in or you out?”
Film the Blanks, by designer John Taylor, is a series based on famous film posters, with the information deconstructed to a minimal blocks of colors. Can you guess the films above?