Canadian Club International Ads

In my final project for my Advertising Design course, the class was tasked with creating a series of ads for a Canadian product to be sold internationally, specifically int he European market.

I chose to sell the classic, Canadian Club Whisky. Given that Canadian Club whiskey once held a high market share internationally compared to today, and recent boost in popularity of Canadian Club Whisky via popular culture,  I feel that there is an opportunity to re establish the CCW brand internationally.

Canadian Club offers a sophisticated and critically acclaimed product in their 6 year old / Club Premium Whiskey. The whiskey itself is made from high quality and natural ingredients, and is aged 3 years. The product itself also has a long and proud history throughout the the 60’s and 70’s, and the time of prohibition in America. The product has internationally been hailed as a high quality whiskey, and a proudly Canadian product. These aspects factually prove the worth of the product itself, implying that the product never got worse, it simply lost its presence in the marketplace.

Canadian Club is currently in a renaissance as a brand. The drink is iconic in pop culture, appearing in television series such as “Mad Men” and “Boardwalk Empire.” It can be stated that the perceived style and sophistication make this whiskey synonymous with classical styles of the 1920’s – 1960’s. The brand’s UVP will rely mostly on Perceived values to sell the product, as the actual values (taste, high quality, age) are almost expected and do not differentiate CC in the international market.

Based on these unique selling features, and user value proposition, I worked with the message that Canadian Club is a masterpiece. Since the product would be launched in Europe, which is hailed for it’s rich and extensive art history, I felt it would be a good idea to draw parallels between the product itself, and famous masterpieces of art.

Here is the result:

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By positioning the product within pieces of art reminiscent of famous styles and artists throughout history, Canadian Club has the opportunity to gain relevance to its international demographic. I structured the ads to appear as if they were snapshots of moments in an art gallery, which is a piece of imagery that is very common to culturally versed and sophisticated Europeans.

With the format of this campaign, there is a flexibility for the creation of more ads that stick with the same approach.

All rights reserved Zia Somjee 2005 – 2012


1984 Final Redesign

After a my process, and few iterations, I have reached my final redesign for 1984. To reiterate, this book will be targeted to audiences aged 20 – 40, in the lower middle class, liberal, and in touch with current issues. They are tech savvy, and use social media as their main platform for reacting and responding to change.

With this readership in mind, I decided to play with the concept of representing the looming presence that is big brother, and the discomfort that the characters in the book feel. I chose to stay away from cliched icons of the “eye” or “spotlight” that have been used in many previous interpretations of the book cover. Rather, I hoped to use typography and implied imagery to create a mood that will connect with the target audience, while accurately representing themes and ethos of the book.

FinalCoverV3(seperate)3FinalCoverV3Photo 2012-12-09 1 22 04 AMPhoto 2012-12-09 1 21 40 AMPhoto 2012-12-09 1 25 37 AMOn the entire spread of the book (Front, Spine and Back), I used a charcoal rendering of a human shadow to subtly capture the “looming presence” of Big Brother and the government. Since this figure bleeds off the front cover, into the rest of the spine and back cover, It makes the design a little bit more dynamic, and engages with the audience on a higher level. It almost implies that the shadow comes from an unseen place, creating some feelings of discomfort.

The typography choices in this book were completely driven by the objective of portraying the ethos of the society represented in the book. I decided to use custom hand written type to achieve this, which gave the design and type a bit more expression. Another key decision to make regarding the type treatment was whether to spell out “nineteen eighty-four” or write the numerals of “1984.” In the end I went with the spelled out type since I felt it had more of a human element and represented the feelings of the actual characters in the book. I decided to set the authors name in Gotham Bold to contrast the expressive type of the book name. I also feel that while this works with the design of the book, the authors name does not need to convey the same message as the book title itself; rather the name is more of an informative piece of information.

The final design decisions revolved around deciding the placement of the publishers logo, price of the book, isbn and barcode, and setting the synopsis copy. I chose to make the back cover more informative and “quiet” compared to the front cover. I also chose to create this book cover at one of the standard trade paperback sizes, 5.25” x 8”. This cover size is large enough to demand attention and feel more special than a mass marketed production, however it still was small enough to be portable and not cumbersome.

All rights reserved Zia Somjee 2012

1984 Cover Design Progress

I am currently in the process of redesigning the book cover, spine and back of George Orwell’s 1984. As mentioned in my previous post, my approach is centered around portraying the mood and ethos represented in the book. Specifically, the idea of a looming presence, always watching over the characters in the story. Here are a few thumbnail renderings of my process.

Scan-1 Scan-3 Scan-4 Scan-5 Scan Scan-6In my explorations, I played around with texture and typography to fulfil my approach, and capture some of the emotions represented int he story. Stay tuned for the final result.

Gastown – Editorial Design

This project was for my first year print production software class. We were tasked with creating a multiple page document that promoted a product, place or person. We had to combine knowledge of raster image manipulation in Photoshop, with layout techniques in Indesign. After completing this project, I can safely say that i am confident in my Photoshop and Indesign skills.

I decided to create a hypothetical magazine article that featured short promotional information about Gastown in Vancouver, British Columbia. I wanted to use bold type to display a simple message that promoted the place.

1984 Book Cover Design

The current, and final project for my Publication Design course, is to redesign a book cover. The class was given three examples of books:

  1. 1984
  2. The Fountainhead
  3. Brave New World

I chose to redesign 1984, and position it to a new and specific target audience. Here is some of my preliminary research on the book, and the reader demographic.

With the current controversial issues regarding internet freedom, world politics, and social change, 1984 is a very relevant books for people concerned with these issues. More specifically, the a younger, more technologically savvy generation have surfaced, and they are outspoken against the protection of information, free thought and social rights. This can be seen through many online activism efforts. For example, the anti SOPA censorship outcry and the 99% movement. There is a young generation of driven, social advocates who have a bit of a revolutionary mindset and would feel empowered and really have a strong emotional reaction to the content and themes in 1984.

This demographic would be aged 20 – 40, in the lower middle class, liberal, and in touch with current issues. They are tech savvy, and use social media as their main platform for inducing change.

The current book cover for 1984 in circulation was designed by Shepard Fairey:


In my approach to this book cover design, I would like to take a fresh direction that highlights the theme of being watched, and the looming presence of Big Brother. I would like to do so, however, without using the cliched imagery of the eye, or Big Brother himself. Although those approaches may be successful, I want to try something fresh. Check back for more progress.

Some Book Cover inspiration

I have a book cover design project coming up, and I am exploring some inspirational book covers at the moment.

This book cover takes a unique and fresh approach to representing the classic tale of Moby-Dick. It successfully foreshadows important plot elements and themes, while creating an ominous feeling and mood. I think that the most successful part of this book cover is the fact that the designer was able to accurately communicate the message of the book, without using the cliched image of the whale itself. However, the fact that Moby-Dick is such a well known story gives the designer more room to be vague in his cover, as it can be assumed that the reader has some previous knowledge about the story. Never the less, this book cover works quite successfully for me.

This book cover designed by Chip Kidd is one of my favourite designs and most elegant design results. The book is the memoir of an addict. The design makes a visual oxymoron, which aludes to the fact that the character in the book is in denial of the fact that he is an addict. (See Chip Kidd’s Ted talk for more on this cover design).

The Psychopath Test is a great example of visual contrast. I think the intent and content of this book are clear, even with no previous knowledge of the book itself.

Stay tuned for more on book design coming soon!

Chip Kidd on Book Design

In this Ted Talk, book designer Chip Kidd discusses his approach to creating book covers. Now I have watched this talk multiple times, and each time I take something new away. The point that struck me this time, was his point about treating the audience with respect and as intelligent beings. He illustrated this point by referring to a design course where the teacher told the students to either show a picture of an apple, or show the word apple, but never show both. This point falls in the realm of what french artist René Magritte was trying to make in his famous painting, “This is not a pipe.”

But back to Chip Kidd; He takes this idea of representational vs explanatory elements, and uses it to match the content of his books. He executed these two concepts in the following two biography books.

In the talk, Kidd goes into his explanation about how he chose a typographic solution to the autobiographical book, and chose pure image as the solution to the biography written in a conversational style.

This talk is a must watch for any book lover, designer, or artist; there is something to be gained by all.