What I think of as bananaphone's characteristic look first showed up in his Let's make art!
, which he submitted back in September of last year. The signature elements are all there: a childish/outsider drawing style; good balance across the design through use of shape, color, scribbling/texture, and positioning; and then, incredibly sophomoric thematic materials (here, "making art" with a little birdie and a piece of dynamite). If you check out a random set of submissions since then (say, My Friend Todd
, Your Angry Face
, and on to Captain Justicepants
), you'll find that he steadily improves his ability to achieve his style. His use of color gets more subtle and appropriate, his control of the detail material improves, and he's able to manage more objects within his structures. Recently he's encountered a sort of self-imposed trap. When he works with thematic materials that he seems to know are profoundly unprintable (the macho posturing of Twenty Birds A Night
, or deodorant in Ego Smells Good
), he relaxes a bit, he leaves room for his elements to work together, and he creates some really interesting graphical designs. I particularly like Twenty Birds
's subtler colors, textures, balance along the descending diagonal, and use of the light grey to create a second dimension of flow across the shoulders of the character. When he chooses to work with printable themes, on the other hand (I'm thinking of Family Movie Number One!
and Ufo Over Brazil
), he bears down and works hard on those subs, he puts a whole bunch more stuff into the design, and he ends up with a much busier, less straightforward overall feel. There's always something....
While I've been giving these designs increasingly positive scores, New Technology
is the first bananaphone submission that i gave an enthusiastic "$" and look forward to buying. Even compared to some of my previous favorites, he's obviously relaxed a great deal here: the simple line work and amusing use of color set a nice minimalist tone. He's achieved relatively vivid character detail using economical means: the naive astonishment of the newbie, for instance, and then the knowing eyeglassed sophistication of the "expert". He's become very adept at placements: here, the characters are slightly left of center, perfectly balancing the thrust of attention and the speech flowing from left to right. And then, of course, this is a very witty submission into the Wired ♥ threadless competition, mocking generations of the sort of wide-eyed tomorrow-enthusiasts that make up the bulk of Wired's readership. This design is quite printable, and I'd love to wear it.
Verdict: 5$ (View Submission