(Preface: Yesterday I opened the latest issue of Time magazine, and noticed an illustration by Gérard DuBois accompanying the last page essay. We recently worked with Gérard on an award-winning feature article for LDS Living magazine. Below is a case study of that collaboration which was written for our company newsletter.)
Jon Woidka, Senior Designer at Stephen Hales Creative, received the assignment to design a feature article in the May/June 2009 issue of LDS Living magazine. The article, titled “When a Child Strays,” discusses the decisions parents face when one of their children experiments with a lifestyle that’s at odds with the family’s values. Jon had admired the work of Gérard DuBois, an illustrator who studied design in Paris, and who now lives in Montreal. Gérard’s work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Time, Newsweek, GQ, Rolling Stone, the New Yorker, and in many other publications. He has also worked for clients such as Nike, IBM, Nordstrom, Microsoft and Renault, and has illustrated several children’s books. Jon contacted the Marlena Agency, the New York-area firm that represents the artist, to discuss a commission. After the project was accepted by the agency, Jon sent Gérard a copy of the article, and the two briefly discussed some ideas. Gérard then sent three initial concepts.
Each of the sketches effectively communicated the concept of a child escaping the security of a safe environment and beginning a journey fraught with danger and darkness. However, as the artist and designer discussed the sketches, they determined that perhaps the darkness in the drawings was a little too ominous. After the conversation, Gérard worked on some additional ideas that communicated a sense of alienation from home and safety using a slightly different approach. In one, a teenage girl looks back over her shoulder at the home she’s leaving as she leans into the shadow of a large tree. In another, the girl stands with her suitcase in hand as she faces the unknown.
Jon agreed that both sketches captured the article’s concept and tone, and after a brief discussion, it was decided to present the first drawing to the magazine’s editors, who approved it. Gérard then proceeded to complete the final color drawing for the article’s opening spread, as well as one smaller spot illustration that appears later in the article.
The article design and illustration won an award for Stephen Hales Creative in the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) annual competition, and was recognized as being among the 100-best works of graphic design produced in the state of Utah during 2009. The award will be presented at the AIGA’s annual awards show and banquet in May 2010.
(All illustrations © Gérard DuBois)