The Justification I’ve Always Needed

XKCD (justification)I argue with our designer about text justification at least once a week. I want almost everything justified, Paul approaches things case-by-case (as if specific circumstances have specific needs, pffft). I like paragraphs to look like finely marbled rectangular blocks, he wants words to be readable first and foremost (the weirdo).

Little did we know there was a solution we could both agree on, thanks to the website XKCD. Thanks, XKCD!

Ghost Towns Of Saskatchewan Winner!

Poster (ghost towns)About three weeks ago we ran a contest for a  Ghost Towns of Saskatchewan poster by former Prairie Dog art director Nigel Hood. Nigel’s gorgeous print, made by Saskatoon’s Hard Pressed, is comprised of logos for real-live, er, dead, Saskatchewan ghost towns — the logos commemorate and celebrate these lost places. It is very, very beautiful.

(You can read more about The Ghost Towns Of Saskatchewan here.)

To win a poster, Prairie Dog readers had to explain why they deserved it (because I wasn’t going to give this beautiful thing away to some contest-junkie who could’t care less about art and Saskatchewan). By the deadline, we had 32-ish entries. All of them deserved to win. Even Barb Saylor’s!

But there can be only one champion, and to I bet no one’s surprise, I picked Nigel’s high school art teacher, Tammie. Here’s what she wrote.

Her last line clinched it: “Art matters! Art is magic! And yes, you can make a living by creating Art!”

That’s something kids need to hear.

For the sad, sad people who didn’t win: good news! We’re selling these posters, and you can e-mail me for information.

Look for a second PD Ghost Towns contest later this year. I bet Planet S will give a poster away at some point this fall, too.

WIN, WIN, WIN: An Awesome Poster About Real Saskatchewan Ghost Towns!

Poster (ghost towns)

UPDATE: CONTEST CLOSED! But good news! you can still purchase The Ghost Towns Of Saskatchewan by e-mailing me here.

Note: this post will remain at the top of Dog Blog until the contest ends on Thursday, Aug. 21. Until then, look for new entries below.

The new Prairie Dog has a great interview by Aidan Morgan with expatriate Sask. graphic designer Nigel Hood about his new poster, The Ghost Towns Of Saskatchewan. Nigel’s poster has custom-designed logos for 120 actual Sask. ghost towns, including Battrum, Bounty, Dnieper, Neptune, Smuts and many more.

And you know what? We’re selling the poster out of our office (e-mail us for information)!

Even better: we have a few to give away. Wooo!

Continue reading “WIN, WIN, WIN: An Awesome Poster About Real Saskatchewan Ghost Towns!”

Prairie Dog Alumni Report: Nigel Hood

Hey! Former Prairie Dog art director Nigel Hood is in the news! Nigel recently published a wicked, career-spanning poster on the Edmonton band SNFU that’s getting lots of well-deserved attention. From today’s Edmonton Journal:

Using computer software, Nigel Hood designed an illustration for each song on SNFU’s 10 albums — 138 in total. Once a day, he’d post an image on Instagram, a photo sharing app, for friends and fellow SNFU fans. Once he finished all the illustrations — some have two or three different images because they also appear on SNFU’s live or compilation albums — Hood decided to print them all on a poster.

“Honestly? It was just to make one guy laugh,” says the senior graphic designer at Red The Agency in Edmonton.

“So, for 138 days, I’d listen to a song, try to find a meaning and find something funny out of it and go from there. I’d give myself an hour each night — I have a two-year-old son and he (hopefully) goes to bed around 8 and then I’d use Adobe Illustrator to just make something.”

So what does this poster look like? Like this:

Art (SNFU-nigel hood)

Fucking awesome. Not sure if Nigel’s going be selling prints over the Internet, but if he is I’ll let you know.

By the way, I only found out about this because I was reading about Oiler’s prospect Bogdan Yakimov in the Journal when I should have been working. Nigel, who is far too familiar with my work habits, would probably be amused.

Congratulations, Nigel!

Dept. Of For God’s Sake Stop It: Badly Designed Pink Nightmares Bring Shame Upon Regina

Over the lunch hour I picked up a copy of one of the ugliest advertising flyer/brochure things I’ve ever seen. It has a tacky Photoshop spray-can pattern. The typography is cliched, clueless and stupid. There’s an incoherent film strip doohickey that serves no purpose. And this thing’s pink. And not even a NICE pink.

The whole package is a design calamity. It is, in one all-caps word, UNPROFESSIONAL. Every business that bought an ad in this eyeball-searing monstrosity has a right (and, I’ll argue, an obligation) to complain to the crapulent barbarians who crammed this pink turd through whatever 15-year-old desktop publishing software is popular with visigoths these days.

(Publisher Morash says the company perpetrating this graphic infraction, Steedman Publications, has been publishing ’em for years. He also said I should ignore it and do some actual work. Ha ha, Terry’s funny.)

I realize that every city has free advertising brochures for tourists and residents. I have no beef with the format — they’re handy guides to local businesses. But come on, Regina–professional design is important and this amateur-hour crap makes our city look really bad. This isn’t something we want to put in front of tourists and new residents who have heard Saskatchewan is now a place to be.

There are Regina companies that produce excellent design. This firm,  for instance, is fantastic. There’s also this firm and this firm. And there are independent freelancers out there who are pretty good, too (although  there are also terrible ones, so be careful). And if you want to go out of province? How about these guys? They rock all the casbahs.

Good design is important. Bad design makes Regina look like a stupid place full of no-taste imbeciles. We’re better than that. So have some pride, Regina businesses, and don’t work with clueless morlocks.

Thank you.

On Logos

Sheila Coles had marketing guru Terry O’Reilly on The Morning Edition today to talk about the new Saskatchewan logo. O’Reilly, who hosted the beloved (by prairie dog) show The Age Of Persuasion and currently hosts the beloved (ditto) show Under The Influence says opposition to the new logo will probably fade when people get used to it because that’s what happens with logos. Sure, I’ll buy that. I’m never going to love it but I’ll never hate it, either. It’s a competent, bland logo. The typography totally sucks — italics? Whyyy? — but I’ve seen worse.

Still, the choice of  colours very similar to the Saskatchewan Party’s IS a blatant propaganda move — a deliberate reinforcement of the idea that Saskatchewan’s success is inseparable from a Sask. Party government. Anyone arguing that is either dopey, willfully blind or, well, um, being a lying, partisan troll.

Besides, give the Sask Party credit: they’re smart about this stuff. After all, they picked party colours similar to the Saskatchewan flag. And it’s not like they’re the first political party to play this game.

UPDATED A THIRD TIME: Behold The New Winnipeg Jets Logos


Better than expected, not sure about the legibility of the team name in the third logo and the shading on the maple leaf is a little busy. Looks very, very promising on the merch, though. It’s also basically red, white and blue, which is good since that’s the old colours and I didn’t expect the owners to go with them. That’s a good gesture. It’s also pretty military, but that’s probably inherent to the brand, if it’s to be developed properly. Pacifist-hippy Whitworth will cope. And it feels more British than American — which seems right for the team’s Winnipeg Tory-blue fan-base. As long as the team’s more Duff Roblin than Stephen Harper, it’s all fine by me.

RATING: I give it 4/5 dogs 3.5/5 dogs.

UPDATE THE SECONDE: The story in the Winnipeg Free Press, on CBC and on TSN.

UPDATE THE THIRD: It’s Saturday afternoon and the cluttered centre of the circle logo is bugging me. I’m lowering the score. Also, LaRose is right: why the heck did they use a CF-18? Go with a classic jet if you’re going retro. Avro Arrow, anyone? The designs still get a passing grade because I like the colours and I like a lot of the thought behind the design. It’s too pro-military, though. It can be a little pro-military, that makes sense (and might be inherent, anyway), but this goes too far. Too political and not quite historical enough.

So it’s basically a B grade instead of an A-.

Am I Going Mad, Snowy?

Usually when Whitworth sends me these early morning “You must blog this” e-mails I just blow him off. But this time, he’s right, Regina needs to know about this…..

Murray Groat, a really fantastic illustrator from the UK, has done a series of Lovecraft-Herge mashups. Insane genius.

There are three more up on his site. He also has a deviantART page where you can buy prints of some of his work (although, not of these Tintin covers… yet….).

Flee In Terror From Graffiti Beholder!

MOVE: 3”
HIT DICE: 45-75 hit points
% IN LAIR: 80%
SPECIAL DEFENSES: Anti-magic ray
ALIGNMENT: Lawful evil


This graffiti beastie (for which I’ve helpfully provided full D&D stats above — er — I’m sorry… is my nerd showing?) appeared on the east side of the Westminster United Church on 13th Ave. Isn’t it awesome? Thought it might be a stencil when I saw it from a distance but no, that looks like it was done freehand. Wow! Bask in its majesty! Wish there was more of this and less of the crappy tagging that’s been plaguing Cathedral of late.

Look Familiar?

Does that R remind you of anything? Yeah, me too.

At left, you are looking at the logo for Romanian Television: a stylization of the 18th letter of the alphabet that’s somewhat older than what McKim Cringan George put together for Regina.

For the record, am I suggesting any copying is going on here? Absolutely not. I suspect this stuff happens all the time in graphic design. Colour combinations come into fashion and you start seeing them in every ad and every magazine. Adobe Illustrator gets some new tool and you start seeing twisty vines on every billboard. And there are enough places and organizations on the planet that start with the letter R and need logos that, odds are, there’s bound to be some cases where styles overlap.

(Mind you, they both went with thick, gray, all-cap sans serifs underneath their Rs. Spooky.)

Anyway, this interesting logo similarity was pointed out in the comments attached to a post about Regina’s R on the Brand New blog (which I found via Dubsak’s Twitter feed).

Brand New is a site where graphic designers examine and discuss brands. It’s kind of interesting if you’re nerdy like that.

As for our particular twist of yellow, red and blue? The original poster, Armin, is extremely fond of it. And the comments that follow, by and large, tend to echo that sentiment. Critiques, though, range from saying Regina’s new R and the diaphanous ribbons that follow it everywhere look a little too corporate (we’ve heard that one, too) and that as a whole it’s a visual style that’s already looking tired and may not age well.

So, I don’t know, maybe you’re all sick of thinking about the new Regina brand, in which case, you’ve probably already stopped reading. Me personally, I found it strangely amusing to see what a group of graphic designers who’ve no connections to here have to say about our Infinite Horizons.

And, actually, now that we have both the TV Romania and the Regina Rs side by side, which do you prefer?