Case Study: Canadian Cancer Society

Howdy, partners. It's that time of the month again, that time when we park the car at make-out point and make it a point to make out. I should tweet that.

I was surfing the interweb the other month and came across an awesome design studio, Tendril. I browsed their work, loved their style sense, and searched for an email address so as to contact them. I wanted to see if I could freelance for them, if the chance presented itself in the future. I found the email of the executive producer in the 'Contact' section and sent them my best sales pitch email, which consisted of a greeting, a website link, and a salutation. 

I luckily heard back from them shortly thereafter and lo and behold, they had something for me to drawl! One less day crying into my pillow and chewing my tinfoil. I rejoiced.

We set up a time to get on the Skype but had to cross check the time over a couple timezones because they were located in Vancouver, Canada. This would be an international endeavor indeed and I was extremely excited to meet them and to hear their accents. I decided that I would play up my Texas drawl, for the sake of sounding like I, too, was unique sounding.

So, we hopped on the Skype machine but didn't use the camera option so I couldn't hear their voices! Blast! We simply used a chat room. But ya know what? I could still tell they had accents, even through the typing. They downloaded me on the project and sent over a bunch of reference material to peruse at my convenience. I love getting sent reference. It makes it so much easier to see where their head's at.

I was to be drawing style frames for the 'Canadian Cancer Society' and their Lottery. Tendril had already gone through a few rounds of designs for the client and I would be taking what they'd gotten approved and building from there.

I loved the direction they were going. Rocketeer meets Hugh Ferris meets Vintage Airline Posters. I was stoked. I started out simply. I went down the more graphic route, the Airline Poster route. First things first, we needed to flesh out a few major beat points in the script. Here are those early designs.

I started flat and bold. We weren't entirely sure where the client's head was on this, so I kept it saturated and poppy. Not too much detail, just the facts, mam.

Wellp, as it turns out, I went too simple. This is what it sounds like, when the doves cry, I thought as I bashed my face into my monitor and shoved kitty litter down my pants.

The client wanted more depth. More realism. More Rocketeer, less Airline Poster. So, I went back to the drawing board, scooped out the kitty litter, bought a new monitor, and begin fleshing the new direction out. Over the next couple days, I did these.

We desaturated the palette, blurred the shadows, tried to find the happy ground between what we had, and what I thought the client wanted. Ultimately, you try to please a client when you're working for a client. That much is true. But what's more true is that you try to please yourself first. That goes with anything in life. Take pride in what you do.

The main client was happy and my client, Tendril, was too. Oh, and I was, too. I don't have anything like this in my portfolio and I'm thankful to Tendril for pushing me into a style that I've never done before. I look forward to seeing the final spot!

Justin Claus Harder1 Comment