Bell Industries AR
Assignment: Dramatize the firm’s core business—distribution of electronic gizmos—and capitalize on impressive growth metrics, for an Annual Report.
Designer Alfred Wesley Briggs and I share an appreciation of Mondrian, grids and right angles. Graph paper was chosen as the unifying element across four interior spreads and the cover. We created a variety of custom graph papers, on which Al hand drew charts provided by the client. A little lithographic voodoo was involved in that the numbers weren’t available until after the color had to be on the press; were added at the last moment.
Occasionally the labor of solving the problem is transcended by the pure pleasure of synergistic collaboration with a great designer. Embarrassing to charge for, almost…
An 8×10 view camera was selected for it’s lifelike resolution, and a life-size canvas on which to ‘paint’ arrangements of representative products (hand picked from the warehouse shelves) for their aesthetic virtues. Back in the studio we made a parlor game of it, taking turns at arranging, adjusting, refining the compositions until we both were satisfied. Jumping the gutter, the layouts were completed by a few life-size ‘bugs’, graphic grace notes, drop shadowed as though actually sitting on the page, like little pieces of candy…
Design: Alfred Wesley Briggs
Awards: Design USA, AIGA
Graphic Design: USA honored this project in their April, 1985 issue. They wrote: “We noted the refined design touch of spilling some parts and their shadows onto the pristine white (Quintessence) right-hand pages.”
Art Director Alfred W. Briggs wrote for the article: “The Bell Industries annual report represents one of those rewarding projects where, due to an eleven year relationship, the client, designer and photographer work in harmony toward their common goal …a book that fulfills communications needs in an attractive manner. The point Bell wanted to make this year was that they are now mainly an electronics distributing company. The photographer, William Warren, and I became enthralled with the aesthetics of these electronic devices. Discovering and utilizing this art in technology became our endeavor. Arranging the objects on graph paper, aligning them either vertically or horizontally gave a feeling that the company handled a great deal of items in an efficient, orderly manner while regarding them as precious and unique. The objects being life-size, along with their shadows, create the illusion of lying on top of the page. They are not confined to just the “photo” page. They jump across the gutter and appear on the text page. Placing the charts on the graph paper in the photos solidified the concept that the statistics were an outgrowth of the results of Bell’s business. The charts were hand drawn to contrast the mechanical inanimate objects, evidence that here are people managing, evaluating and responding with a human touch.” A footnote: The schedule required that the pencil graphs had to be done before the numbers were final, so they do not exactly match the figures. Nobody caught it, within the statute of limitations, anyway, so we’re home free.