Sandford Design and Illustration

CKI Editorial Illustrations

July 1, 2018

Editorial illustrations for events, blog posts, and articles, to be used in marketing via social media and Eventbrite. Employer: Charles Koch Institute.

Before I moved back to New Hampshire, I worked for the Charles Koch Institute as an in-house designer. One of my favorite tasks was to create marketing materials for the various lectures, conferences, and articles that our marketing and events teams would come up with. I loved brainstorming with the other designers, searching the article or marketing blurb for concepts I could latch onto, and coming up with visually compelling and memorable ways to show the concepts. The limitations made it even more fun: trying to stick as close as possible to the CKI palette, creating a design that would work square for Instagram and wide for Eventbrite, and so on.

I usually started with pencil sketches, and almost everything I designed touched both Illustrator and Photoshop at some point in the process. The automation graphic (vocation-related hats being overtaken by robots on a green background) is one of only two exceptions here: the entire process on that one, including sketches and lighting effects, were done in Photoshop from start to finish.

The other exception, the missing-puzzle-pieces graphic, was also done completely in Photoshop. I photographed a couple coworkers hands (without puzzle pieces) and used stock photography for the wood table and the puzzle piece shapes. My colleague Matt Espenshade took the photo of the Statue of Freedom from the top of the US Capitol dome specifically for this project. I didn't realize when I started how time-consuming cutting out each puzzle piece would be. This was a much slower project than I'd expected.

Both the judge with the gavel and the justices of the Supreme Court of Virginia were created with reference photographs (I took a self-portrait of myself holding a ruler for the judge). Shapes were traced and simplified in Illustrator, and texture and shading were added in Photoshop.

For the farm illustration, I used a photo of the US Capitol as reference and tried to translate its shapes into silos, barns, and cupolas. Fewer than half of the people in the office I showed the graphic to picked up on the hidden government building, so I'm not sure whether I can count it entirely successful. But sometimes a bit of esoteric cleverness is what you want. The people who do get it are sure to be delighted. Or so I tell myself.

Some of these other illustrations followed a similar source-to-Illustrator-to-Photoshop process, starting with my pencil drawings instead of photography.

I took photos of the sky on a gray day in Arlington and played around with contrast and color filters to get the fog that NATO is disappearing into.

These last three were started directly in Illustrator from scratch and only brought into Photoshop at the end for lighting effects and a bit of noise.

The copyright to these images is owned by the Charles Koch Institute. Used by permission.

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© 2018 Aaron Sandford