Monday, August 9, 2010


Imagine yourself in a store, might be Wal-Mart or Neiman Marcus, and you are looking at a tee shirt, a child’s watch, or a piece of china – what you never take into account is who was really responsible for that item. We look at the label or the brand and assume that they are the direct creators of said item, and this cannot be further from the truth.

The most common moment might occur when you are searching the stores or online and looking for a tee short which has some art work on it, whether it is for a child or an adult the art that you see was created either from a “style guide” or from pure imagination. The style guide is issued by the “owner” of the brand or property such as Mickey Mouse or Cinderella, which are both owned by Disney. The style guide dictates, with no deviation permitted, the stance, activity, coloration, apparel of each particular character or property which will then be submitted for approval by the owner of the brand. This is no easy task regardless of having a standardized base from which to work. The enormous undertaking of perhaps taking Mickey or Minnie and putting them in a beachside situation which will eventually become the front of a tee shirt, is by no means as simple as it appears and yet “the unsung hero,” the graphic artist has first put it on paper and corrected it according to the specifics of the brand, and then has sent it through all the steps until the tee is on a hanger in a store. Once in the store that designer has created something that suddenly stirs the consumer to a purchase. The process is long, lengthy, and tedious at times, but it is our “heroes” who have started the process and who have ultimately created the sale. It is a process that holds true for clothing or home accessories or any other item which might bear a brand name from which other brand extensions have been derived.

I wanted to spotlight 2 designers who have captured my attention, one from having had the pleasure of being a business colleague and the other for his inventive use for his talents. Both are based in New York City and continue to be vital within the industries where they continue to contribute. Powell Burns is still an unending source of admiration, after over 10 years, for his seemingly boundless talent and the ease with which he uses them.

Mr. Michael Lawrence has continued on the same path as Mr. Burns and both of these men have probably been responsible for some item or items that now live in your home, though you may never see their names! So I guess I took the long way around to tell the story but I wanted to tell a story that needs to be told more often.

Please “search” these genuine artists and see what strikes your fancy or might even look familiar, there is more to be found than just the few photos that I used to tell the story.

As always, look for me at or on Facebook. PS you might also find Mr. Burns there as well.

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