it doesn’t have to be old nor found at the flea market to find its way into one of my collections. i have a box, several in fact, filled with tear sheet after tear sheet. (sadly, when we moved out of our studio and into our loft, i threw out 20 boxes filled with tear sheets.) unlike most of my collections, these tears sheet are easily categorized—stills, home, portraits, interiors, beauty—and all of these have subsets. for portraits, there are folders for women’s fashion, men’s fashion, kids, etc. then there are the specific photographers: richard burbridge, miles aldridge, raymond meier, hans gissinger. all favorites of mine. the tears sheets serve as inspiration and are used for concept work. i have many instances where these images—mostly photography, though there is a category for illustration—actually drove a particular design.
once we were hired by the pr firm kcd to work on the pr materials for isabella rossellini. the ad agency leagas delaney in london was handling the positioning and they had come up with the name ‘manifesto.’ it coalesced ms rossellini’s idea of individual beauty into a basic concept of ‘accept who you are no matter what race, size or color, and celebrate yourself.’ (and buy the cosmetics behind this concept, of course.) it seemed simple enough to me. upon getting the assignment, i pulled out folder after folder and looked through my trove of tear sheets. (this was before flickr and google search.) i am one of those people who garbage-pick magazines, and subscribe to way too many, and i still love tearing out my favorite images. i found a beauty image by mile aldridge in allure magazine of a young girl, 14 or so, wearing braces and bright red lipstick. his lighting is just amazing. everything about this image was a home run and it spoke directly to the core message. the braces juxtaposed with the lipstick was so perfect. so we built our brochure around this series of images that miles had done in allure. the design was presented and accepted. everyone was happy. (you can see a bit here and here.) but there’s a twist to the story. the agency in london did the casting and selected the perfect model with braces for the shoot. a week before the shoot, she came in for another go-see and she’d had her braces removed. oops. it was too late to find another model with braces so we had to pay to have this young girl’s braces replaced. she wasn’t too happy about that. ah, the things we do for fashion.
now, these tears sheets. wieden and kennedy, circa 1993. sports illustrated. odd, since i rarely read sports magazines, but they are a ten in my book. for content as well as photography. the photographer is kenji toma. after seeing these images, i hired him to shoot some 18th-century tureens for a magazine i was designing. ‘classic home,’ now long defunct. you might not be able to read the text on the twinkly. it says “ingredients: who are you kidding? you know what this stuff is made of, nothing. it’s not good for you. you know what’s good for you? tennis. a nice healthy sport. fresh air, exercise, sweating, and no partially hydrogenated animal shortening.” great, right? how often do you find this level of design in advertising? makes you work harder, doesn’t it. it did me.