Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Sunday, 12 October 2014
Freedom of expression
Sorry - another crappy phone-photo, but I was wandering through Waitrose last night, and stopped to admire myself in the eight convex mirrors covering this Champagne bottle box. How clever they are, to personalise the packaging to include images of the potential buyer.
My only criticism would be that the convex mirror image is not as flattering as the ones you get from the mirrors in women's clothing outlets - slightly distorted to make you look slimmer than you actually are, with a warm tint to counteract any hint of deathly pallor.
Not that we need any excuse to buy Champagne, of course - Churchill could justify it as suitable for any occasion - but sometimes we need a clincher if hovering on the brink of a decision.
I'm always banging on about the honey-coloured blurb on the boxes of whisky brands - the sparkling streams filtered through beds of smoky peat, etc. - and this is the visual equivalent.
When I was a layout artist, they made the mistake of giving me free rein to design a simple sticker which went on the sides of the boxes containing finished print runs, because I had been to art school.
All this sticker had to do was mention the name of the printing company, and how they could be contacted for future orders.
I asked if I could put them to the trouble of using two colours instead of one (in the days when two zinc plates had to be made for two separately registered runs) and they said that they were a printing company, so of course this could be allowed.
I set to work, and took up a theme which I had been exploring just before leaving college, which depended on the juxtaposition of complementary colours, and how they interact disturbingly with each other when viewed from a distance.
My sticker was a series of radial lines of alternative pale red and pale green, but with a very intense hue, and the wording was put over the top of them in an even paler green, which meant making three plates instead of the two they agreed to. They printed about 5000 of these things.
The finished result was not only utterly unreadable, but made you feel slightly ill just to look at it.
Artists shouldn't always be given a free hand if there is a job to be done.