#10 Crazy & Different

AmperArt #10 Crazy & Different

Click to view full-size or download hi-rez image for gallery-quality printing and framing.
This is a high-resolution pdf & may take a few minutes to download.
Find printing tips & framing ideas here.

Upon reading of Steve Jobs’ passing, I felt almost the same way as I did on December 15, 1966…

As I was folding papers for my paper route, the headline caught my eye:


I went numb and cried. Both Disney and Jobs were visionaries, creative geniuses, demanding perfectionists, and they both died much too young.

My first laptop was the very first Titanium G3–it couldn’t even burn a cd, it was such an early model. (I’ve since learned to wait for version 2 or 3.) I was so proud of that thing. It was the ultimate in stylish design. I didn’t even care if there was a computer inside the case, it was just beautiful to look at. That’s what I appreciate most about Steve–he made everything with class, from the way it works to the way it looks and feels, even down to the marketing and advertising.


M-I-C… See how insanely great this world is today.

K-E-Y…Why? Because of visionary genius.

After Walt passed away the company stumbled for awhile, but the “cast members” and fans of Disney have so much soul that they got it back on its feet. We’ll always wonder what else Walt would have created had he lived longer, and surely we wonder that about Steve. But just like Disney, Apple has such a strong desire to be a class act and produce class products, supported by its incredibly loyal fans, that Steve would probably be proud of what his people continue to invent and polish.

I designed this poster honoring Steve Jobs, as a special edition in my AmperArt poster series.

The words are straight from of one of Steve’s speeches.

No doubt Walt and Steve are thinking up the next insanely great idea in visionary heaven.

Production notes:
Original size: 20 x 30 inches
Program: Photoshop (coulda used Illustrator—probably started out as an entirely different concept for which Photoshop would be required)
Font: Myriad (Apple’s marketing font family)
Ampersand: Myriad, sans one delicious byte

#7 In & Out

#7 In & Out

AmperArt #7: In & Out

Hats, helmets and hardhats off to the workforce!

Whether we work 9 to 5, part time, graveyard, freelance, or own our own Fortune 500 company, we really do clock in and out. Every moment we’re driving to work, driving a nail, answering email, courting a client, or just daydreaming about an invention, we are “clocked in.”

And every moment we are “clocked in” we are adding to the value of somebody’s existence, whether through a product, a profession, or serving a blue plate special (like my mom did, and always with a smile).

If you are “clocked out” this weekend, enjoy the Labor Day festivities. And if you are working, know that your contribution to what makes this country tick is truly appreciated.

listen up!Work, work, work

Every single thing I’m touching, looking at or listening to right now was made by someone, or most likely hundreds of people, who traded their time, talent, expertise, and hard labor for a paycheck.

This monitor, for example: the miners for the phosphors; the product designers; the engineers; the oilmen who drill for the plastic; the solderers; the printers for the UL sticker; the bookkeepers, shippers, and truck drivers; the electrical contractors who supply the power; the tech support; and yes, the graphic designers who created the packaging, advertising and instruction manual.

I was listening to an interview by the late Buddy Rich, jazz drummer. When asked if he enjoys his work as a drummer, he replied, “Work? What work? I play!”

I love what I do for “work.” Designing logos, books, ads and packaging; brainstorming with clients; and the thrill of seeing the first piece off the press is more exciting than an exotic vacation (sometimes just as expensive when there’s a typo).

I hope you enjoy what you do, whatever it is. If you don’t, do something else. We do have that choice. If you need some inspiration please contact me. I am grateful that I get to enjoy the earning part of earning a living, and I’m happy to share how it’s possible for anyone else.

I love work so much, in fact, I’m going to work on my tan at the pool this Labor Day weekend.

Happy Labor Day!

#1 Art & Design

#1 Art & Design

#1 Art & Design
Click to view full-size or download hi-rez image for gallery-quality printing and framing.
This is a high-resolution pdf & may take a few minutes to download.
Find printing tips & framing ideas here.

This is the piece that launched AmperArt: #1 Art & Design.

It was created as a postcard concept to showcase my graphic design talent — specifically concept, layout, lettering, typography & execution — to agencies & marketing departments.

AmperArt Issues

I never did commence that postcard campaign, but did post the first few designs on an early blog.* After receiving a lot of positive comments I realized there are a lot of ampersand fans out there (I call them amperfans) so decided to create more of these layouts, each featuring “the ampersand as fun & fabulous art,” as the slogan now professes. After more exhuberant response, I created a website dedicated just to the ampersand, AmperArt.com, vowing to create & release one AmperArt design per month. I keep all the original artwork safely in a “digital vault” so it can be reproduced at its original size, usually 20″ x 30″, should anyone ever ask for a large giclee to hang on their wall, or if I ever get the crazy urge to exhibit the AmperArt collection in a gallery. For now, though, each creation is formatted into an 11″ x 17″ poster, issued free with each release. The files are high resolution, suitable for gallery-quality printing. Here are some printing & framing ideas.

Concept for #1 Art & Design

The idea behind #1 Art & Design is to represent the fundamental shapes & colors in art: “art” is spelled with circles, triangles & squares (actually a cropped rectangle and a 4-sided trapezoid for added interest). The colors are primaries and secondaries, with neutrals for the type and background. The word “design” is simply what I do best in the world of design: set type. I chose Helvetica, as it is not only been the most common sans-serif family for decades, it is truly beautiful in its simplicity and modern structure, especially in the hands of a professional typographer (no example of that here except in darn good kerning). Complementing Helvetica is another modern typestyle of the serif variety, Century Schoolbook. Why are the shapes not given a dimensional shadow effect (which would seem to be a given)? Because the ampersand is the star of the show!

AmperArt: shorten that name

AmperArt started as “Ordinary Phrases & Ampersands Extraordinaire” — in short, common phrases with an ampersand in the middle. That will be the format I follow for my monthly series, to be rendered & issued until I can no longer push a pencil or paint a pixel. Kind of a long url, don’t you think? So I came up with AmperArt. (AmpArt is shorter and cooler but it sounds like an inked up sound system; plus I think it was taken.)

I have also created a few other pieces which are not phrases, such as Ampermations (shown here). Eventually I may design a line of greeting cards (featuring the ampersand, of course), apparel (probably just T-shirts), jewelry, & create objets d’ amperart for sale on the website & perhaps in gift shops. I’d like to promote other artists & designers, too — as long as their work contains an ampersand.

But for now, AmperArt is just a free monthly dose of “the ampersand as fun & fabulous art.” I hope you resonate with one of these pieces every so often, whether in topic, style, color, or story. Or maybe you’ll enjoy every single one, simply because you’re a fun & fabulous “amperfan.”

*Art & Design is not my actual first concept leading up to AmperArt; that was Sunny & Hot, published June 23, 2011 on my personal blog (defunct) before I turned the concept of “featuring the ampersand as fun & fabulous art” into a series. It was followed by Black & White (the basis of most visual ideas), then Red White & Blue (for Independence Day). Art & Design was then created as a “title piece” to introduce the new ongoing project called AmperArt & its website, AmperArt.com. I renumbered the first several works for logistics reasons. Art & Design was actually the third or fourth design I created in the series. My first creation, Sunny & Hot, was inspired by a very hot day in the beginning of summer way back in 2011. It is assigned #6 in the series.

National Ampersand Day


After submitting a request to NationalDayCalendar.com, I am proud to announce Ampersand Day is official. At my suggestion, it is observed on September 8 of each year. I chose that date because most of the letters and number can be twisted (with a bit of creative license) into an ampersand. Here’s a list of ideas how you can celebrate National Ampersand Day. Let me know if you can think of others.

chaz sez ...

I think I’ll have to send out those AmperArt postcards as originally intended, to market my talent to the agencies and corporations which recognize and hire the work of a professional designer. Lately I’ve been finding it more difficult to find work over the Internet, especially through the creative agencies such as Elance and Upwork.

The computer is a boon in the creative realm: no more inky logos; no more waiting for veloxes and stats; the ability to kern my own typography; direct-to-press efficiency; and free, instantaneous delivery of artwork over the Internet instead of expensive courier services.

On the other hand, where it seemed magical to cater to clients half way around the world in real time (even if it meant setting the alarm clock for 3 a.m.) the Internet is now inviting competition from third-world countries. I am now competing with “designers” whose work is sub-par and whose rates are as low as $1 per hour. No exaggeration. The worst part is that the clients that hire these amateurs don’t know any difference; the price is so attractive they don’t realize it’s hurting their brand’s image and credibility.

Most of my proposal writing these days is spent demonstrating the difference between mediocre and acceptable design (let alone stellar design) and trying to convey the value of perceived quality, whether on a concious or subconcious level. Here’s a compilation of horrendous logos produced by one of the “professional design firms” on these online “creative” agencies.

Off to buy some postage stamps…

Production notes for #1 Art & Design:
Original size: 20×30 inches
Program: Adobe Photoshop
Fonts: Helvetica, Century Schoolbook
Ampersand: Century Schoolbook

For professional graphic design, please visit Desimone Design.

Desimone? Damn good!