RDA 2009: Dog & Pony Showprints

For this year’s Regional Design Annual, Print asked each designer a few
questions about their work that appeared in the magazine. Jacksonville-based Dog & Pony Showprints talk about the poster the studio designed for The Helio Sequence, and what it’s like to be a designer
in Florida.
 
Poster for Cafe Eleven, a music club in St. Augustine. DESIGN FIRM: Dog & Pony Showprints, Jacksonville; ART DIRECTORS: Karen Kurycki, Sean Tucker.
 
What’s your favorite thing about being a designer in Jacksonville?
While Jacksonville itself is pretty huge, our design community feels small. Our AIGA chapter is strong and everyone seems to know everyone. We’re able to bounce ideas off one another and share in-progress or totally new work on the fly without any real intimidation. Everyone’s friendly.
What’s the most challenging?

The challenge seems to be pushing good design through the white noise of everything else Jacksonville’s citizens are bombarded by.

What was the biggest challenge making this piece?
Designing a poster based on an abstract idea. Unlike most of our posters, we didn’t pull from a lyric or song title. The Helio Sequence’s music feels “airy” and sort of open-ended, so we wanted to make a poster to match. At first it felt really organic and washy, then it felt a little more geometric. We found a happy place right in the middle.

What’s the back story behind the materials you used?
Karen Kurycki is a magician with watercolors. And not that tacky sailboat stuff. She made a few watercolored shapes and they turned out to be exactly what we needed.

What was the process like for this piece?
We’re lucky to have a really great relationship with the amazing people that run Café Eleven in beautiful St. Augustine, Florida. They tell us what bands are coming to town, we tell them which ones we want to make posters for, and they say great. If all goes according to plan, they use the image we create for promotion and we make some limited-edition hand-printed posters to sell at the show. As far as the design process, we do our thing and show them the design before we print—just in case. Usually goes off without a hitch.

What sorts of clients do you normally work for?
Our “day job” is with an advertising agency … so those are bigger clients. This poster stuff is for small-to-medium sized touring bands and club that holds 200-300 people.

How do you get most of your work? Self-promotion, word-of-mouth, another approach?
We’ve noticed work coming in through word-of-mouth and our own shameless self-promotion. We’re almost always carrying around little cut-down versions of our posters to give to people. A few layers of that thick ink on a nice toothy paper is simply irresistible.

How has the economy changed your design business?
There have been layoffs in so many of the shops in town, so a lot of great designers have been out of work. We’re lucky in that bands will always go on tour.

Do you do any other type of work besides design? Or do you have a passion that you hope to turn into a business one day?
This is the passion. We’re a small collective of designers that make posters for bands we like. We’d love to make this the full-time thing a la Aesthetic Apparatus.

Do you think Jacksonville has a regional style?
The great thing about Jacksonville is that the people in the business of design come from all walks of life. People do other stuff besides design because Jacksonville allows it.
 

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