Sunday, October 28, 2012

Glow-in-the-Dark Cobweb Candy Cart

Welcome back to our last special Halloween holiday post. Over the summer, after watching a viral video of a cotton candy spinner, I developed a small obsession with the art of cotton candy making. I researched brands, makers, machines and various other sugary sweet offerings related to this fun delectable. When I learned about the LED light-up cones used for cotton candy over in Disney California Adventure, I had an idea for how to put a new spin on cotton candy. 

My idea was to reformulate the sugar floss so that the coloring within the sugar crystals is black light-responsive as well as safe to eat. In place of the multi-color LED lights within the cones would be mini black light LEDs. I could only think of one place where this product should live: The Haunted Mansion Glow-in-the-Dark Cotton Candy Cart.

The cotton candy would be branded as Cobweb Candy, and through the technique of double spinning—which is used to create multi-colored cotton candy on one cone—the treat would take on a ghostly appearance.

For the past six years I have had a Disney partner in crime. While he lives in Canada and I live in Indiana, our passion for all things Disney has kept us conspiring toward magical madness. I decided to run the concept by him to see if he'd like to help out with the idea. He loved it and we both agreed to work together in bringing this dream one step closer to a reality. 

We came up with the story that the cart belongs to a Mason who deals in the dead. The cart’s design has bricks, shovels, bags of mortar, trowels and other various tools a graveyard Mason would need. We incorporated the wrought iron detailing from the Mansion into the top of the cart to help tie in the Mansion’s theme. The signage plays upon various fonts used over time for the Mansion’s branding. We imagine the cast members working the cart would be dressed similarly to the caretaker within the Mansion. The cart would have an area for the cotton candy spinner machine, finished product behind glass and compartments for the ingredients and the cash register. The spinner machine itself would also have a center black light so the candy would glow while the cast member spins his webs of wonder.

The cart would only roll out at dusk and would be located near the Mansion’s entrance.

I want to give a big thanks to Ian Giles for helping out with this concept! I couldn't blue-sky without you!!!! Well that does it for this week’s post. Tune in next week as I return to my typography case studies and other random apparel goodness. Thanks for stopping by and Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Halloween Product Concept

Welcome back to another Designerland holiday special post. We’re getting closer to Halloween, so it’s time to roll out another product concept. 

Each Halloween, I patiently await the Disney Store and Theme Park Merchandise to roll out their haunted holiday product lines. And every year, I hope and pray for a Haunted Mansion pumpkin carving kit. Sadly, each year comes and goes and this concept is never added to their product line lists, so I took it upon myself to create one. Well, I created the primary panel display for the packaging and 3 stencils that you can save, print and try for yourselves.

In an ideal world, I would propose more of a collector set with special packaging and higher end tools, but for this concept, I kept it along the lines of the Pumpkin Masters brand carving kits. I know this product could be easily sourced and they already have a working relationship with DCP, so why not the theme parks?

Anyway, I hope you enjoy these. There are countless possibilities on how you could use the stencils, from carving to painting, etching or scraping, so let your creativity out! If you do decide to join me on this Halloween carving adventure, send me your photos and I'll post them here. I'm sure your pumpkins won't mind the bright lights! Thanks for stopping by and have a swell week!

Note: These patterns are challenging to actually carve traditionally, I suggest the etching or painting method. Glow in the Dark Paint would be an amazing effect on these!!! If you do want to try to actually carve them, I suggest enlarging the pattern and finding a large pumpkin to use.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Some Wicked Apparel this Way Comes

Welcome back to another special Halloween post here at Designerland. Since my designs are usually based on theme park offerings, I wanted to try something different and showcase some designs based on the movies.

When I think of Halloween and Disney, a few live action classics come to mind. As a child, I was fond of the darker side of Disney, growing up with such cult classics as Something Wicked this Way Comes and The Watcher in the Woods. I’ve always been amazed that these pictures were released by the wholesome mouse—they’re dark, creepy, and at times downright scary, so when Halloween rolls around, I still love watching them. And while not as spooky, I have to throw Hocus Pocus into the mix. I remember going to the theater with my parents and little sister on opening night and instantly loving the pure campy goodness. Watching it today, I realize there are some themes and dialogue that aren't so family-oriented, which make it even more of a hoot to watch.

In typical Designerland fashion, I've created this series of shirts based on these classic seasonal Disney flicks. I really enjoy pushing myself and learning different ways of transforming existing art into something usable for screen printing. Sure, I could just do full color sublimation print, but I feel there's an amount of hand skill and craft lost with sublimation printing. 

The first design is based on the poster art for Something Wicked this Way Comes. The art from the poster is simply stunning with its semi-loose abstract feel and various watercolor and gauche washes. The hand lettering for the main title is equally beautiful. I got to try a new trick with the type treatment in order to give it a letterpress look.

The second shirt in the series is taken from the poster from The Watcher in the Woods. A piece like this deserves to be brought back into the present and honored with more than just a poster, so a shirt seems like the natural progression. The collage lends itself to a nearly all-over print format.

Lastly, my Hocus Pocus concept uses the poster art done by the amazing Drew Struzan. The VHS and DVDs all use a real promo photo, but they really should have run amok with the original poster art.

I guess the moral of the post is that classic poster design is becoming a thing of the past—hardly anyone produces new masterpieces that fans, designers and artists simply drool over.  Well that does it for this week’s post. I can see shirts like these fitting in well as a part of a D23 special Halloween release or the like. How do YOU celebrate the Halloween season along with Disney? As always, thanks for stopping by and be sure to tune in next week.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Halloween Special Edition: Haunted Mansion

Welcome back to Designerland. I hope you all had a swell weekend. This week's post was supposed to be a new typography case study, but as I'm not through with all my research and font-finding, I will instead present the Haunted Mansion Halloween Costumes!

Like many of you, I was part of the boxed costume generation. I remember going to the store and seeing the shelves lined with boxes of various monsters, cartoon characters and movie stars peering at me through their cellophane die-cut windows. Picking the right costume was important because you wanted to make sure no other kid showed up to school in the same one. I can remember that tense moment when the teacher told us to go put on our costumes. We'd all run to the closet, each of us grabbing up our boxed costumes, the cellophane crackling as we opened our boxes, and we would each scan the room to see if we matched with anyone else. Luckily, I was always the odd kid out. While most kids wanted G. I. Joe or Hulk Hogan, I was Yoda or some obscure glowing skeleton creature.

The most popular vinyl box costume producer was Ben Cooper, followed closely by Collegeville. I was always drawn to Ben Cooper’s line of costumes due to the quality of design and selection of characters. Since the plastic masks and vinyl “aprons” were the Halloween uniforms for so many of us, I wanted to pay homage to Ben Cooper by retheming some of his classic costume box designs to align with Designerland & Disney Theme Park merchandise. I recreated the mask designs, using existing Disney art and are FPO.

Well that about does it for this week’s post. We'll be honoring the Halloween season all month long here at Designerland, so stay tuned for more frighteningly fun posts. As for the next Case Study, that'll have to wait until next month. As always, thanks for stopping by and see you all next week.