Monday, 16 January 2012

Matt Chase

I was researching into designers whose work has consistently inspired my throughout my time on the course and I immediately thought of Matt Chase. I first came across his work when he designed a poster that featured in a Gallery 1988 exhibition. It was vivid, humourous, vectorised and generally an approach that I myself would follow. Since I first discovered his designs I have been a regular visitor to his site, documenting the different briefs he undertakes which range from editorial design, branding, illustration and of course poster design. You might think with such a wide range of design specialities tackled his work would be of a mediocre standard, the old 'jack of all trades, master of none' might apply. But that is certainly not the case. All the evidence needed to disprove this notion is shown instantly on his home page, as seen below.

I really admire Matt's use of colour. As someone who values the importance of colour in my own work, I get pretty excited when I see practicing designers with the same enthusiasm. It's incredibly rewarding to see how he incorporates his colourful and playful nature with commercial projects, in particular his recent re-branding of the American USPS Mail System, the resolutions of which can be found here. Many would consider branding an often dull form of design, probably because it involves creating a small, usually colourless, logo and applying it to a range of uninspired stationery shots. However, Matt's approach is the complete antithesis of this. He combines shades of blue and red that initially appear pastel in colour, yet somehow pack one hell of a visual punch. Perhaps it is the injection of black that helps the logo design jump of the screen/page. The retro inspired logo is also uniquely shaped, meaning it catches the eye and holds it long enough to comprehend the combination of a circle and banner. I think it's an overall success and the additional support material helps me visualise it in real life context, something I often miss with my own work.

Of course as I mentioned earlier, it is through Matt's collaboration with Gallery 1988 that I came to be aware of his work. His love of popular culture is clearly evident in many of his projects, and it is with this love that I can begin to relate to the designer on a more personal level. On his website is a whole section dedicated to re-imagined film posters, all of which have been designed with obvious affection for the subject matter, something I consider to be very important in film poster design. His blend of texture, colour and clever illustrations make for a range of successes. I consider his 'Lord of the Rings' interpretations to be his most well rounded designs. Clearly influenced by revolutionary film poster artist Saul Bass, they are minimal in colour, contain lots of negative space and most importantly focus on a primary illustration that is somehow altered in a way to communicate an amalgamation of messages all at once. I particularly admire the hand illustration seen directly below. If I could create film poster re-imaginations as cleverly as Matt does, I would be one happy designer.

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