Monday, April 8, 2013

Students & Faculty: We Are Floating In Space

Last week I received a call from the New York Times Op-Ed page (especially exciting as it had been a minute since we worked together) with a typically thought provoking and challenging piece. A favorite client for almost 10 years now, I'm almost always incredibly pleased with the finals from Op-Ed gigs. Blissfully this one was no exception.

The article (penned by the fantastic Claire Vaye Watkins, look her up) dealt with the issue of dwindling opportunities beyond high school for rural midwestern students: slighted by the standardized test bureaucracy and all but ignored by prestigious coastal schools, these students often take on enormous loan debt, turn to a salivating military thirsty for new recruits or simply self-short change their dreams and ambitions altogether. Though the writing was by turns poignant and humorous, the passages concerning the aggressive and almost greedy military recruitment practices were especially striking and seemed ripe with bold and graphic imagery. I produced the following sketches:

Though I believed the boot-on-desk sketch could be read as either specifically military related or taken as a more general metaphor for the trampled opportunities of these students, both editor and art director wanted something with a lighter touch that dealt with the remoteness and isolation of these schools. Also the headline had been added by this point, "The Ivy League Was Another Planet." Aha. Cue up Shatner, or you know what, and better yet,  Sir Patrick Stewart. There I said it. High school boldly going where etc etc... - engage (ugh)!

A quick gender flip for the student (credit where due: a subtle but inspired bit of art direction from Matt Dorfman), and voila, one of my favorite finishes to date for 2013:

Thanks to Matt Dorfman and the rest of the gang at the Op-Ed desk for the typically engrossing assignment, and as always, thanks for reading!