Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Idea Monster

Last week I visited a design firm called FRCH Design Worldwide, located in Cincinnati, Ohio.


This company of nearly 200 people takes up several floors of a gorgeous old brick building in downtown Cincinnati.


Above, Phillip Freer, who was a student in my recent painting workshop, is one of the top creative directors at FRCH. He brings to the table a wide range of experience in the themed entertainment sector, having worked as a Senior Concept Designer for Walt Disney Imagineering.

The designers work in the realms of architecture, interior design, and graphic design to create total environments in the retail, restaurant, hotel, and theme park arenas. By coordinating all their creative expertise, they’ve designed retail stores for the Disney theme parks, or restaurants for American Girl.

I arrived about an hour early for my lecture presentation. There was a nice café across the street, so I thought I’d do a sketch of the old red building that houses the company.


Instead of just doing a straight architectural portrait, I wanted to come up with a clever idea for a fantastical sketch. But my mind went blank, as if some monster robbed all the good ideas out of my head.

Then I thought: What if there actually was an Idea Monster that stole good ideas? It would sit blocking the road, and kidnap all the fresh, original ideas that came rolling along. It would let through only the stale, tired old clichés.

Luckily there’s a way to get rid of the idea monster. If you leave a row of Skittles candies on the sidewalk, that lures away the monster away, so he’ll go bother someone else.

Well, it just so happens that in the lobby of FRCH, they have a candy machine with free Skittles. So maybe that’s the secret to all the innovative ideas at FRCH!


By the way, here’s how the sketch looked at an early stage, with just loose watercolor washes, before the linework.

Main website for FRCH
Read more about my visit to FRCH on their blog “Creative Fuel.”

5 comments:

Nat Urwin said...

Hahaha what a great thought....

Dave Lebow said...

Its very striking and interesting to me that you started with those broad washes and then put in the lines later! thanks for sharing your approach to this.

G. Edwin Taylor said...

I've always been supportive of Total Environments. Thank you for sharing this!

zhdufgran said...

Haha, Phillip! Hope you had a great time in Cincinnati and that we'll see you here in Toronto next summer. :)
- Helena

planetpailly said...

Why did no one ever tell me about the Skittle trick before! That Idea Monster has been following me around for years!