Daniel Pelavin
April 2010
It's not easy being green
I celebrated Earth Day number 40 with a magazine cover assignment featuring a story on economics and the environment. The article Building a New Economy, written in an erudite, yet accessible manner by economist Paul Krugman, appeared in the NY Times several weeks ago and was published this week in the Italian newsmagazine Internazionale. Professor Krugman's  thorough assessment concludes that if we feel any responsibility to future generations, we need to take action now, and that economic incentives rather than legal sanctions may be the most effective course.
I came into this assignment through the good graces of Mark Porter, who recently redesigned Internazionale and recommended me to editor-in-chief Giovanni De Mauro. I set my trusty widget clock to Central European Summer Time, named all my Illustrator layers in Italian and used at least venti shades of verde. Like they say, "When in Rome..."
From a factory spewing vines instead of smoke to the delicate balance between the environment and the economy.
Nothing is more appealing to me than working at 1200% magnification on zillions of tiny little hairline strokes.
My lucky number
Being allowed to draw pictures all day and not get into trouble is something I wouldn't have even dared to imagine as a lad who spent his entire school career drawing doodles in the margins of his notebooks. Nowadays I still have to pinch myself to realize it's not a dream. So I never really take for granted my good fortune, but sometimes Fortune smiles upon us in unexpected ways. In this case an assignment that any lettering artist would do larceny for.
When creative director John Korpics inquired about a possible cover, I just listened carefully, used all my strength to avoid making wisecracks and didn't start jumping up and down and screaming till I was off the phone. I might have revealed some of my glee by getting rough sketches in the very next day, but I spoke of this job to know one, fearing I might jinx it away.
In the next week and a half, together we crafted something that became a reality and has special significance for me. My father collected copies of all my magazine covers and made certain that each and every visitor to our house got a tour. He never approved of my behavior in school as evidenced by an eighth grade report card which was crumpled up into a ball before it was signed, but I know this Fortune cover would have ended up on top of the pile and in the gleam in my dad's eye.
John suggested doing something with a banknote feeling (which is something I try at least one version of with every job).
In the next round, realizing there would be nothing else on the cover, we did our best to really fill the space.
A fun game called "how to make a '5' not look like an 'S'
Giving designers better illustration skills
Just found this brief email exchange from Last July while I was teaching in the Hartford Art School's MFA Illustration Program. I thought they were lost because I sent them while out of town or I would have shared them sooner:

Jul 21 2009

Hi Daniel,

I'm contacting you because I'm on the planning  committee for the 2010 HOW  Design Conference (which will be in Denver next June). I though you would make an interesting speaker and I'd like to recommend you to the rest of the committee. Is this something you'd be interested in? What kinds of things do you typically speak about? Or what would you love to speak about to a bunch of designers?


Megan Lane Patrick
Senior Editor, HOW magazine and books

Jul 22 2009

Hi Megan,

I'm flattered by your proposition. I believe a group of designers might be most interested if I gave a presentation about fonts and font design, however, I feel equally comfortable talking about, typographic design, illustration or getting along with two teenage daughters.

Please give my regards to the rest of the committee and let me know what happens.


Jul 22 2009

Hmm, I'm wondering if you could do something about typographic illustration? From your website, it seems like you're qualified to cover a variety of topics. It would be great if you could help me narrow it down so I can make a good argument for why you rock to the planning committee : )

(Our audience is less interested in designing type than in designing well with type.)

Another idea might about how designers can develop better illustration skills.

What do you think?

Jul 23 2009


Typographic illustration is what I love best. I'll put together a presentation that will have your attendees in tears.

BTW, that joke about giving designers better illustration skills had me laughing till my stomach hurt.



...still awaiting reply
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