The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013) is an amazing film. Not because of the preachy “go have insane adventures or you haven’t really lived” message — although, of course, that’s an idea to fire anyone’s imagination.
No, we don’t love it for the fairly predictable plot, or even because the soundtrack is teriffic — but because of gorgeous, lush cinematography and delightful uses of kinetic typography (animated, illustrative words on the screen). It’s part travelogue, part art house film.
It’s easy to become blasé about the beauty we see or create daily. A film like this reminds us of how amazing the world is, and how even something as simple as a business card can — and should — be a work of art.
Considerable skill and craft go into catching and pleasing the eye, even for something as prosaic as an ad for a razor.
Photoshop was truly a game-changer in the design world. A skilled user can create any number of fantastic — yet realistic — images, without the necessity of trained gorillas or obtaining waivers from models. (Click to embiggen.)
As technologies evolved, the role of photography has changed in the advertising world. Once, highly trained professionals were hired to take product photos to be used in ads. Today, the photos themselves are both ad and product.
Apple has a long-running “Shot by iPhone” campaign. The campaign shows what their latest smartphone is capable of, without ever showing the actual device. We encourage you to check that link out for some stunning visuals.
National Geographic has always used photography to broaden horizons and foster wanderlust. In addition to their staff contributors, they also have annual photography contests.
Sometimes the campaigns even dovetail, with some NatGeo contributors specifically using iPhones to capture award-winning snaps.
Others make use of paint-based art — but perhaps with a twist, like body painter Guido Daniele, who specializes in painted hands. There is also a plethora of body-paint ads, many of which are decidedly not safe for work.
Others still, such as European eyeglasses purveyor Keloptic, opt to find more literal ways to incorporate painted art.
But paint, photography, or artful Photoshops aren’t the only way to create eye-catching, creative designs. One might also go for a pure typographic approach. The way Brawny and 7-11 have done, for example.
These are actually fairly tame examples; for some reason the really intricate, inventive stuff we found was all for nonprofits, about depressing subjects.
Or mix and match with every tool at your designer’s disposal, like VW did.
The point is, creativity and beauty are our lifeblood. All of us, not just designers. Like Walter Mitty at the beginning of the movie, we can get used to routines and accept restrictions. Sometimes that’s how it has to be: there may be stringent style requirements, or budgets only stretch so far. That doesn’t mean beautiful ads can’t still be created — but it’s nice to be reminded of what’s possible, outside the routine.
Rigney Graphics is a Pasadena graphic arts company that can help you create an impact with design and marketing solutions for print and web.