Monkey Business – Part 2

By Jami Giovanopoulos, Vice President, theispot.com

[Editor's note: this is a sponsored guest blog post by our friends at theispot.com.]

Steven Noble collaborated with GBH in London to design the illustration logo identity and all room collateral for SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills (“SLS” stands for style, luxury, and service). The identity’s monkeys are a mischievous and baroque slice of European culture in the heart of LA. The project was a unique challenge in that the artwork had to include numerous individual components which needed to work cohesively in various combinations to support one main logo.

The monkeys were all illustrated separately with their own individual personalities which included scared, mischievous, angry, and jovial. Preliminary pencil sketches were all drawn to create full life monkey characters with likeable and distinct personalities to capture the viewer’s attention. The mirror, fork, and bells were dropped in separately into the hands of each of the monkeys; the blown-out candle flame was separately added as well. Additional personalities were later created to compliment the logo and continue with variations on the theme of upscale festivity, such as dancing monkeys, and a monkey holding an engagement ring. The chandelier base image was originally modeled after Steven Noble’s own dining room chandelier.

Each design component was individually layered for animation purposes on the website. The logo identity was also later transformed into a 3-dimensional bronze piece for the side of the hotel building, as well as a bed headboard.

The final illustrations were created by hand on scratchboard using X-Acto knife tools on background clayboard. The engraved lines were added using a pen and ink process which is laid onto the board then scraped off with an X-Acto knife to create cross breaks in the lines, which renders a lighter value. The shadow is then created using a cross-hatch technique to create a darker value for a more dimensional effect. Afterwards, the individual pieces were scanned digitally into the computer and re-assembled into Photoshop layers with the monkeys super-imposed over the chandelier along with other components sort of like a layered cake.

This was important for animation purposes on the site: the chandelier swings from left to right, propelled by the monkeys’ playful nature, allowing the identity to become more of an original “living” breathing logo with a lot of character and personality added to give it more of a punch.

All artwork by Steven Noble. © SLS Hotels


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