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Margo Chase is one of the most influential graphic designers of our time. Over the past 20 years, Margo's highly expressive work has been seen in movie posters for Bram Stoker's Dracula; on album covers for top performers like Cher, Madonna, and Prince; and in ads for brands such as Starbucks, Target, and Procter & Gamble. With a background in biology, Margo migrated to the world of graphic design, where she brought a unique, organic quality to logos, lettering, and identity design. Never one to live life passively, Margo has developed a love for competitive aerobatic flying in her own high-performance plane. This installment of Creative Inspirations takes viewers inside the studio, portfolio, and adrenaline-pumped lifestyle of this inspired and inspiring designer.
(Music Playing) Margo Chase: One of the things that we focus on at Chase Design Group is consumer packaging and I think the focus really came out of my roots in the music business because I did a lot of packaging then and it's kind of an extension of that. But it also comes from a love that I've of making objects and putting ink on paper or leather or wood or building things and actually making something tactile that you can touch and feel or that you can actually drop on your toe as opposed to something just purely digital.
But one of the things I want to talk about with Chris today is that sort of translation of digital artwork into actually manufacturing things. So how you actually conceive of putting ink on paper and the challenges involved in that? Chris: Which is -- it's an interesting thing for us because Margo and I both crossed over the cusp between when things were conventional and everything became digital to now where all your Prepress is digital. And so we really understood how things happened conventionally from actually creating the artwork to making the plates to getting it on the paper.
And it's been interesting for us to see as things have evolved. How many people forget that when they're creating this that the digital file they're creating actually has to get translated into something that can end up on this medium and if you don't understand that upfront when you're designing, it's very easy to get yourself into a corner where you sold someone on something that you can't execute. I think that we really work hard to train our internal staff, even people who are great esthetically to really understand this process, really understand Offset and Flexo and all the different processes that they're going to ultimately end up producing the work in, so that they can do their best design and make sure that it's producible in the way they intended it.
Margo Chase: Yeah. I mean one of the -- a great example is and this is a Chai Cream Liqueur, a product called Voyant and this is actually silk-screen, how it's manufactured. And there are couple of reasons that it had to be produces why primarily because it's a cream liqueur, it can't be a in a clear glass container because the UV light destroys the product after a time. So it needs to be in something opaque. So we've a couple of choices about how to solve design in terms of putting something in an opaque container and we really wanted to create something dramatic with different looking than a lot of things that are out there because this is a brand new start up company, they don't have a lot of money for advertising.
So, they really needed to have a dramatic object on the shelf. This is basically a spray coating that allows this sort of gradient and color from dark to light and then over the top of this spray coating is silk-screen, translucent color. But we were limited in terms of the number of colors. They could only do three colors in silk-screen, once they pay for the coating. And we wanted this sort of idea of flames and sort of warmth and sort of exotic feeling in the design. So we wanted to feel like it had more colors than just three. And the designer that -- one of the designers that worked on this when we were in the early development was sort of young designer who didn't have a lot of experience in production and she ended up creating some designs that were absolutely unprintable.
Chris: Beautiful! Beautiful, but unprintable. Margo Chase: Beautiful! Beautiful but not printable. Really just would never work, we would had way too many colors. And for me, it was a really conversation because I ended up having to talk to her and say, you've to understand how the screens are going to relate to each other and what could happen and it has to be the file actually has to be built this way. Chris: And I think it's an example. As we look at the packaging world, it's an example of how in many cases bad things get to market, because what happens often times as if people on the design side, don't really understand the process clearly than what happens is their designs get to whoever is going to produce the final product and that person comes back and says, we can't do this.
All you can do is make this black or make this white or take this out. And without knowledge of the process, you can't come back and say, well, wait a minute, can you do this. If I work these two colors together, can you achieve this or what can you achieve and then try to work your design to get the desired effect that you want. But without that, you're at the mercy of the person who is producing at the end. Margo Chase: Yeah. In another example, I mean in cosmetics this happens a lot which is you really want the actual package to communicate a lot about the prestige of the product inside and to really feel like sort of the glamorous object.
So in order to do that you really need to be able to use materials beyond just sort of white paper and four-color process. And this is actually printed on foil board and so as the designers work through this process, they've to kind of understand what the limitations of printing on that substrate are going to be and what kinds of things can actually be done. And I don't know if you can see this very well in the camera but there is actually a gradient of pink ink that reverses out and shows clear or the silver leaves through it. There is embossing that happens, there is an overprint of black.
So there's a lots of different sort of technologies involved in actually creating this final thing. So you can make something visual in the computer, that kind of looks like this, but you have to have, actually have to understand how to explain to the printer what ink they're going to put on the paper and where in order to achieve your final goal. This is another compact for Stila that happened that we did for holiday and this is all actually based on paper. So in spite of the fact that this looks like sort of a three-dimensional object, it's actually paper-wrapped board compact.
But this is actually printed with flocking, so it's fuzzy and then it's got foil stamping. So there is nothing like four-color processing or nothing that would actually comes straight out of Illustrator involved in this. So the artwork is created digitally or in this case, it was drawn by hand for scanned in and then digitize. But the designers involved have to actually understand what to do with that file in order to create this effect when it's printed. And then the same with this, which is actually sort of foil embossing. It's a heat and varnish that actually gives it a texture. This is another thing that I love to do whenever we do something that's actually printed is try to create something that you can actually feel the texture.
So both of these things do that. And then in addition, we also in terms of the Stila step, we are trying to create an aesthetic that's unifying their brand for them. So this kind of hand drawn sketchy quality is something that's part of their equity. And so you can see how that gets used in lots of different products. And this is another one where there is a lot of design of what goes on inside in terms of all the products here. So there are things printed in plastic, there is stuff silk-screened. There are lots of different kinds of manufacturing processes that go into creating cosmetics. Chris: But the beautiful thing is that when this is done, it will be out there in the marketplace and it's something that somebody can pick up and take home and keep for a very long time and that's much more gratifying than something that's going to be up for a week and then gone.
Margo Chase: Yeah. I love that about packaging that it's really an object that's and sometimes it's even collectible. It's definitely something that will be around for a while and lots of people will see hopefully if it's a product that successful, it could be out there for several years, and if it's beautiful, it's something that you keep and take home with you and like a perfume bottle, it could be on your shelf for couple decades.
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