Aaron Draplin and The Collaborative Poster Project
Aaron Draplin is joining Adobe at HOW Design Live.
And, in collaboration with Adobe and boutique printer Mama’s Sauce he’s also fronting Draplin in The Cloud—part commemorative poster design, part portrait of a new work process, and part collaborative art project—using Adobe Shape CC and Adobe Illustrator CC.
Draplin, along with Adobe evangelist Paul Trani will be presenting a lunchtime session titled Draplin Takes Mobile to Desktop about capturing shapes in Adobe Shape and taking them into Illustrator CC. He’ll also be presenting in the Adobe booth, a sort of reenactment of his design process.
He had a few things to say about this uniquely-challenging creative collaboration:
From shape to design. We know you’ve used Adobe Shape a bit. Tell us how you see it fitting into your design process long term? I’ll sketch something and take a shot of it, let the thing show up in my Library, and will have vectors to refine. From paper to digital, a little quicker. Then I’ll grab that vector, lock it on the art board, and draw over it, refining the idea. It’s another fun way to capture an idea. But mainly, it eliminates steps for me. Instead of having to shoot it with my phone, load the shots to my machine, let the cloud grab it, and then place the shot? From four steps to one.
The assets for this poster will be a compilation of vector icons solicited and gathered from other people’s Adobe Shape CC captures. Tell us a bit about how you think that will work. The world’s moving faster and faster. I’m having to learn new ways of capturing my thoughts, based on what’s within an arm’s reach—paper, steamy shower glass, my desktop computer and, more and more, my phone. Using these new mobile apps, you can bridge that gap. Quick and clean. And I’m starting to rely on it in my process.
It will be fun to see stuff come flying in, out of my control. And then, making new out of it all. That randomness sounds fun. I’ll be at their mercy. Out of my element.
And about that… People on the Internet, whom you’ve never met, sending in submissions for you to design around; that’s a broad collaboration. Nothing can go wrong there, right? Not one thing. Ha! I mean, if it’s weird or mean or creepy, I reserve the right to hit the “delete” button. But for the most part, I anticipate the stuff being submitted with good spirit behind it. Let’s make something cool.
Mama’s Sauce: From Shape CC to Illustrator CC to screen print
This project wouldn’t have been possible without the participation of Mama’s Sauce, an incomparable boutique printer. Because their knowledge of hand-done print processes is profound, we dragged them into a conversation about this project and a larger one about vector-to-handmade printing:
When we said, “We want you to screen print a project that got its start on a smartphone with a mobile app,” did you want to run for the hills? No way. Screen print, letterpress, foil printing—they’ve all come a long way from painting on emulsion, moveable-type, hand carved blocks, chemical etching… you know, the historical processes of putting graphics in a form able of being printed on paper. While all of those are super viable still, each with their own purpose and/or aesthetic, these days, 100% of what we print in our shop comes from a digital or raster file. Considering that the average smartphone has more computing power than the spacecraft that brought us to the moon (you may want to fact check me), there isn’t much a phone can’t do these days. They’re certainly smart enough to produce vector and raster files. I mean, I do it all of the time with Adobe’s mobile apps. It’s crazy how I’m needing my computer less and less.
How do you feel about the concept now that you know a bit more about Adobe Shape and its integration with Illustrator CC? A light went off. I’m ashamed to admit it, but I didn’t realize that you could send files so easily right into our pre-press workflow. The idea of moving in that direction for receiving files is super appealing.
Talk a bit about how screen printing is the perfect complement to vector art and a digital process. It’s powerful when vector meets makers; and digital designers have embraced hand-made output in a big way. I don’t think anyone is forcing it either. It’s a natural fit. The more digital we get in our processes, the more people want to stay connected, not to fight progress, but to keep more options on the table. It’s happening in a multitude of ways too: People are scanning old wood type, exaggerating halftones in their designs, and creating aesthetics based on old production techniques that were once solely practical in nature. And when people wanted more out of the old presses, not just their type and halftone aesthetics, but rather the rest of their printing capabilities for their vector art… polymer plates came along. Modern plate-making for letterpress and modern film-making for screen print—these processes make old world printing the perfect complement for designers wanting to print work on a traditional press.
For anyone who might want to use a mobile-to-desktop-to-screen-print process, what’s most important for them to know? Begin where you are. If you see something inspiring and want to know how it would look 1-color, how it would vectorize, you can snap a pic and see that nearly instantly. Gone are the days where you have to email yourself a file, drag to the desktop, open the asset and then get to work. You work can begin wherever.
Cloud Life: Adobe x Mama’s Sauce x DDC x You
From almost 200 online submissions… Aaron’s commemorative collaborative poster. Printed by Mama’s Sauce, in a limited run of 1,000, it’s being handed out this week at HOW Design Live.
Not attending the conference? No worries. We’ve got it as a digital download.
And, one last thing: A huge THANKS to everyone who submitted a shape.