Success Story

Destined to design
Young designers promote their passions with help from Adobe® Creative Suite 2 software
The colorful poster street art of Sarah Mead and Reed Burgoyne’s design company, Urban Inks, is catching the attention of more than just city pedestrians. For starters, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) bought 18 posters for its permanent collection; they’re on display as part of “The Art of Design: The Architecture and Design Collection.” Mead and Burgoyne started out creating posters for bands to advertise their shows. The streets became their canvas when they printed the poster designs on newsprint and pasted them all over San Francisco. Since their first successful endeavors in creating concert posters, the pair has expanded their work to include magazine illustrations, as well as posters and collateral for a number of small businesses and nonprofit organizations. They also moved from the West Coast to New York, where Burgoyne is attending Cooper Union School of Art and Mead is earning a master’s degree in design from the School of Visual Arts. Since their move, they have been scurrying to set up poster art shows in New York and the Netherlands, as well as doing graphic design work for publications such as New York Magazine.

The colorful concert poster art of Urban Inks has garnered so much attention in influential circles that it is now a part of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection. During 2006, several posters are on display as part of “The Art of Design: the Architecture and Design Collection.”

“We couldn’t live without the Pen tool in Illustrator CS2. There’s no better way to create clean designs quickly.”
Sarah Mead, cofounder, Urban Inks

inf luences and close collaboration is an attention-getting blend of psychedelic 1960s’ art, Russian constructivist imagery, pop art, and art nouveau—all with bold imagery and striking color. They often start creating posters and other artwork by sketching illustrations and fonts by hand, scanning the sketches, and bringing them into Illustrator CS2 for finessing. Until the advent of Live Trace and Live Paint in Illustrator CS2, this was the most timeconsuming part of their jobs. Now they can click the Live Trace button in the Control palette or apply tracing from the Object menu; when the traced result appears onscreen, they use Live Paint to colorize the image. “We used to spend hours redrawing and colorizing scanned artwork by hand,” says Burgoyne. “Now with Live Trace and Live Paint, those tasks take just a few minutes, leaving us more time to work on our designs.”

The only thing holding back this exuberant, talented pair of up-and-coming artists is a shortage of hours in their busy days. To maximize design time, Mead and Burgoyne rely on Adobe Illustrator® CS2 and Adobe Photoshop® CS2 software to help them work faster than they could using an all-analog workflow—all while maximizing creativity. “We couldn’t live without the Pen tool in Illustrator CS2,” says Mead. “There’s no better way to create clean designs quickly.” Inspiration + collaboration Mead and Burgoyne say their inspiration comes from myriad sources: sound, music, light, nature, pop culture, politics, social issues, people like Andy Warhol, and Push Pin Graphics. What emerges from their many

Mead and Burgoyne combine eclectic art references, stylish design, and imaginative lettering in posters created using Adobe Illustrator CS2.

To incorporate photos or images into their artwork, the designers bring them into Photoshop CS2, where they clean up and crop the images, and ready them for import into Illustrator CS2. The designers accomplish the bulk of their work in Illustrator CS2, often using the Align tools to line up objects horizontally or vertically on their artwork with precision and ease. Minimizing the unexpected Once they finalize their designs, Mead and Burgoyne typically print them using a silkscreen process that is more art than science. The process begins with creating a film-positive output from a digital file. The positive is converted onto a woven fabric photo screen that is mounted to a large hinged frame. The frame is lowered onto the woven fabric—which is today polyester but used to be silk—and the

designer uses a squeegee to apply silk-screen paint or ink through the open image areas of the photo screen. The fabric is then placed on special racks to dry. “Silk-screen output is, to say the least, unpredictable, which is why we are thankful for Adobe tools,” says Mead. “The up-front design process using Adobe software is virtually guaranteed to work—it’s the most predictable part of our design process.” Design with a mission For Burgoyne and Mead, it’s imperative to do good work. In the end, the pair designs for a purpose. In addition to posters, album covers, and other graphic collateral for bands, they have been helping local community small businesses and nonprofit organizations by providing professional graphic branding and publicity services. “Our mission as artists and graphic designers is to create public awareness for artists, small businesses, nonprofits, and social issues that are normally plagued by a lack of funding,” says Mead. “We strive to create graphic solutions within our community and to communicate to a larger audience in ways that compete with corporate mass marketing campaigns.”

Company Urban Inks Brooklyn, New York Challenges • Maximize design time • Create compelling, attention-getting artwork • Make the design and printing processes as predictable as possible • Help advance worthy causes • Use the Internet to showcase designs Solution • Use Adobe Illustrator CS2 and Photoshop CS2 to create compelling designs and reduce the amount of time that was previously spent on manual processes • Maintain a portfolio website using Macromedia Dreamweaver from Adobe Benefits • Ideas take shape faster than ever • Tools like Live Trace in Illustrator CS2 eliminate manual redrawing and coloring tasks • Compelling artwork is easier to create using Illustrator CS2 and Photoshop CS2 • Dreamweaver software’s ease of use enables artists to maintain their own website

Toolkit • Adobe Creative Suite 2. Components used include: • Adobe Illustrator CS2 • Adobe Photoshop CS2 • Macromedia Dreamweaver 8 from Adobe • Apple MacBook Pro and PowerBook G4 computers running Mac OS X

Mead and Burgoyne print their posters using a silkscreen process that can produce unpredictable results. Thankfully, up-front design using Adobe software is on the mark every time.

“We used to spend hours redrawing and colorizing scanned artwork by hand. Now with Live Trace and Live Paint, those tasks take just a few minutes, leaving us more time to work on our designs.”
Reed Burgoyne, cofounder, Urban Inks

To further disseminate their messages and garner more attention for their eye-catching artwork, Burgoyne and Mead use Macromedia® Dreamweaver® software from Adobe to maintain a website of their work. According to Mead, Dreamweaver provides the best way for nontechnical artists to communicate with the world without knowing how to code in HTML. “Whether we’re raising money for the homeless or participating in the street art community, Adobe software tools are our constant companion,” says Burgoyne. “Adobe software lets us further our ideals by giving us the tools to convey ideas in fresh, new, and intuitive ways.”

Using technology to do good work With this aim in sight, Burgoyne and Mead have worked for a number of worthy causes, from the Bicycle Film Festival, which celebrates the positive environmental and lifestyle aspects of riding a bike, to the Coalition Against Homelessness in San Francisco. For Urban Inks, designing with a strong purpose and passion in mind is what design is all about.

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Adobe, the Adobe logo, Dreamweaver, Illustrator, Macromedia, Photoshop, and “Better by Adobe” are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated in the United States and/or other countries. Apple and Mac OS are trademarks of Apple Computer, Inc., registered in the United States and other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. © 2006 Adobe Systems Incorporated. All rights reserved. Printed in the USA.

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