• By Mike Reed
  • Owner, Reed Words Ltd. Creative writer for brands

THE GREAT BLANDINI

This was great fun. Mike Rigby, Creative Director at Interbrand Sydney, asked me to help with the branding of master retoucher Steve Bland.
‘Any sufficiently advanced technology,’ wrote Arthur C Clarke, ‘is indistinguishable from magic.’ And the work of a skilled photo retoucher certainly looks like sorcery, as elements disappear or move around, colours shift and people’s faces metamorphose before your eyes. The nature of reality itself can start to feel a little shaky.
That was the key to our idea for the brand, which was to create a new personality for Steve Bland: ‘The Great Blandini’.
Visually and verbally, we adopted the grandiloquent verbiage of the music hall to create a set of Victorian–style materials that give Steve a warm, jolly, engaging identity.
Our first set of work was the poster (in a magic–wand tube), and, instead of business cards, a set of playing cards describing some of Steve’s greatest illusions. That work made it into the D&AD Annual 2011 (Writing for Design), and won a Red Dot Award 2011. It was also shortlisted for the Quantm Create Design Awards in Australia.
We followed up with The Little Book of Photo–Shoppe Trickery, a sort of chap–book that described, and illustrated, many of Steve’s tricks. (All the lettering was drawn by hand by Jefton Sungkar.)
The arcane, tongue–in–cheek language aside, each trick is genuine, and hopefully genuinely useful for other Photoshoppers. So there was a level of utility to the book that might not be immediately obvious.
The book also appeared under Writing for Design in the D&AD Annual for 2012, which was rather pleasing.
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