November 12, 2009
Midway through the sixth year of operation Ted Perez + Associates relocated from Santa Monica to Venice [California]. Amongst a complete reworking of ~5k square feet of an old truss building within Main Street Studios was the challenge of adding flourishes of the company's character and history. Settling in will certainly be a lengthy and fluid process. The first item to be shared is a custom wallpaper designed to honor and thank the employees who rallied and kept a steady focus on the horizon during the involved build out. As with the space in general, the overall goal for this project was to create a classic look with modern influences - a timeless impression.
Before delving into any design, a bit of research into Victorian-era wallpapers [circa mid 1800's] and vintage artifacts first needed to be done. Filigrees, flourishes and intricate patterns - details which are ever-present in these designs gave way to a flood of ideas for this project.
Each associate has played an intergral role in the success of Ted Perez. Fifteen [# of employees at the point of the move] graphical elements were tied into the design of the wallpaper to give the piece more personal signficance.
The next task on the table: How to represent these fifteen individuals with simple and iconic graphical elements. Though half of the associates had been with Ted Perez long enough to acquire a 'name' for themselves, the remaining few proved to be more difficult. Sketches of these objects were then drawn up to determine various angles, styles and forms that would be used in the final design.
It was also important in this initial stage to determine the type of filigree used and how they would work with the graphical elements. Varying degrees of detail were illustrated to see which forms best fit with the look we were trying to achieve. The overly ornate styles used in Victorian wallpapers were far too complicated for this piece, so the patterns were simplified into flowing, curved shapes instead.
The Bull and motto ['Industry, Instinct, Integrity'] also needed to somehow be incorporated into the wallpaper. Though the centerpiece bears more significance than the other elements, its size and weight needed to balance out with the rest of the smaller details at the bottom of the 3'x4' canvas.
[Note: In the final piece, The Bull and motto span 1.5' wide within the upper half of the layout surrounded by negative (empty) space, thereby drawing the viewer's eye without overshadowing the rest of the design.]
With the basis of the wallpaper laid out in rough sketches, the next step was to turn them into digital illustrations. Starting off with the graphical elements, each selected item is symbolic of the respective associate's heritage or personal interests, or refers to a part they played in previous Ted Perez outings.
1. Colorado Mountains, 2. Celestial Star, 3. Canadian Maple Leaf, 4. Quill + Ink, 5. Wild Turkey,
6. Pick + Shovel, 7. Anchor, 8. Daggers, 9. Jug of Moonshine, 10. Rifle, 11. Clover, 12. Tea Leaves
[Not shown above: Stag Horns, Chocolate, The Bull]
After locking in the icons and filigree style, the next phase was to map out the rest of the intricate details. A basic layout was designed to determine which areas needed filling in and which to leave blank to provide the visual balance needed with The Bull as the focal point.
The area around the centerpiece was too bare and required a small, unobtrusive pattern in the background to break up the negative space. Rather than using generic shapes, the maple and tea leaves were incorporated as extensions of the filigree pattern.
Most of the time spent on this project revolved around adding in the minute details within the negative space. This also gave us a sense of how much was too much. Instead of focusing on the areas around the filigree, more attention needed to be paid towards refining the other elements - adding bigger highlights to the larger curves, giving the centerpiece a vintage frame and detailed shading to make it stand out in a subtler way, and reworking the borders with a more classic, old-timey style.
A significant part of Ted Perez's story are the series of quotes through which we know him best. A description of four landmark events in his life can be found running along the top of each panel.
The curvatures of the filigrees played an important part in the incorporation of objects into the design, tying everything together in a subtler way. A total of sixteen panels of this seamless 3'x4' wallpaper encompass two rooms at our new Ted Perez headquarters.