What’s the Story (Morning Glory)?

Design Process: the new Itchyworms logo


A few months ago I had the honor of re-designing the Itchyworms‘ logo.

But before anything else, here’s a little backgrounder. I’ve known the guys – Jugs, Jazz, Chino, and Kelvin since 1997 when they were still college students in Ateneo. My good friend, filmmaker Marie Jamora (back then also still a student) took me to their gig in Freedom Bar and so I met the guys. We all became ICQ pals (#titohits), chatting everyday — eventually on the phone too –, and them I started hanging out with them and Marie in almost all of their gigs. I also had the privilege of designing two of their albums — “Little Monsters Under Your Bed” (with Arnold) and “Self-Titled.”

The first Itchyworms logo was based on Jazz’ concept of an “iw!” symbol that looked like a worm. Here are the initial studies and the final version as it appeared in “Self-Titled.”


As you can see, the 2008 version of the itchyworms logo looked and worked like a badge and later we learned that it was pretty hard to use in merch and posters because of its square shape. So early this year, the band approached me for a redesign. The goal was to freshen the look while retaining the “iw!” concept and make it easier to use on gig posters, business cards, signage, and other promo materials.


Pencil studies (above), and the digitized / vectorized versions (below).


They chose the first one (upper left) but they also wanted me to explore making a “3D version” which, I agree, perfectly reflects their vibrant, dynamic music and kwela personalities.


Getting there… I made several versions just to give them more options to choose from. The front-facing logos on the right won so I tweaked and developed that direction further.


I played with lower and upper case letters and shadow effects. In the end the band chose the one at the bottom. Yay, new logo for 2015!

And for throwback fun I’ve included some goofy photos from the old days. 😀


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You made me like it more and more

My husband Arnold‘s latest graphic novel, Martial Law Babies will finally be out in stores next week. Hope you can check out the fully-packed site which features a synopsis, preview pages, online ordering info (coming soon), and notes by Arn on how he came up with the idea to write this particular story, some behind-the-scenes trivia and more. You may also submit photos of yourselves taken in the 70s and 80s for the “Photos from my generation” section. 🙂

Martial Law Babies by Arnold Arre website

Turn up your speakers and head on over to the MLB site! [ GO ]

In other news, the Eraserheads concert CD is now out in stores! The record company (very nicely) told me that they had to alter some of the design elements so I’m posting my original design here for posterity –

You can’t imagine the pressure I was under working on this because I knew everyone was waiting for it, not to mention the fact that it was already announced in Philmusic and other sources online that I was designing it *gulp*. Arn and I made over 10 studies, including a highly-detailed and fully-illustrated comp but the record company chose the simplest and most straightforward one of all. Well… I guess people will buy it for the E-heads’ music and not for the inlay design so I’m cool with that. 🙂

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In fire, in fire, down to the last wire

It’s been a while since I posted a What’s the Story entry so I thought I’d share with you a couple of really old design projects that I’ve unearthed from my ancient Mac’s1 hard drive.

Up first, Sharon Cuneta’s “All I Ever Want” album, commissioned to me in 2001. I was ecstatic when the record company called me because I thought, ahahay! A chance to create conceptual mainstream OPM album packaging! I was free to do anything I wanted, the only mandatory was that her face should dominate the page because, well, she is the main selling point of the album. Fair enough.

I came up with these roughs:

Sharon album design study

The first two are the booklet’s back and front covers and the rest are sample inside flaps.

I wanted the design to have a painted, dreamy quality using macros of almost indistinguishable nature elements because the “want” in the album title connoted “dreams, desires, & wishes” to me. (Uhm, that made sense, right?)

After I submitted them, there was no word for a few days. I finally called to ask what the status was and then was told that they2 wanted something that looked like her old stuff3 and so have decided to just ask their in-house designer to do it…

And this4 is what it looked like when it came out.

Oh well. But there’s a happy ending to this tale: I was paid a discontinuation fee.5 🙂
Here’s another design story, one that pushed through. San Miguel Philharmonic/Master Chorale’s “Great Original Pilipino Music album”.

Mr. Ryan Cayabyab is always a joy to work with, mainly because he has excellent taste not just in music but in the visual arts as well. He especially likes it when there’s a concept behind the design you present him.

When I was sent the track list for the GOPM album, “Tuwing Umuulan at Kapiling Ka” stood out at once so I started sketching a couple of lovebirds under a red umbrella almost immediately. I wanted to show the surroundings in blue so that the couple (who were in color because they’re in love) would be the main focus.6 As for the jeepney, well there had to be something to make it Filipino, the title is “Great Original Pilipino Music” after all.

Here are my rough, initial studies. First in pencil, then a study in color.
Great OPM study 1

Mr. C liked it right away! I told him I would clean it up and improve on it, i.e. ask my talented artist hubby to render it like a painting.

Arn actually took it a step further. He thought the jeepney was cluttering the background so he arranged the elements in such a way that the artwork looked like it was telling a story.7 I liked it much better already!

GOPM study 2

But then Mr. C said that he liked the fact that the couple was already together under the umbrella in the first study although he likes the impressionist quality of the new layouts. He also told us that we could lose the jeepney if we wanted. Hmm, maybe he was right.

We came up with this. The lamps are supposed to make it look like the scene is in Luneta, but if you didn’t get that it’s perfectly okay. 😉 Overall, I thought it looked more romantic and was quite sure we had nailed it.

GOPM approved design

And we did! It got approved. And produced shortly after. 🙂

Before I end this, I would like to share something with you.

With Neil Gaiman

We met him! And had dinner with him8!

The last time he was here, we queued in Gateway but didn’t get a chance to have our books signed, although Arn had a lucky encounter (and photo op) with Mr. Gaiman in the washroom. A few days later, Azrael posted that photo in his blog. Mr. Gaiman saw it and wrote Az: Thanks to you… I learned that the nice man next to me at the sinks in the mall was Arnold Arre, whose art I had been admiring a few hours earlier. (And I wished he’d introduced himself.) Mind-blowing, right? Two years later Arn, who was a judge for the Graphic/Fiction Awards’ comics category, finally had the chance to introduce himself properly, and Mr. Gaiman was gracious enough to actually remember Arn’s name and the incident, and reiterate that he really does like his art. What a fine, fine gent.

More kwento and tons of photos in my Multiply.

  1. My G4 is turning 8 next month! I hardly use it anymore.[ back]
  2. I’m actually not sure as to who “they” referred to.[ back]
  3. Why oh why?[ back]
  4. It doesn’t look bad but I’m sorry, looking at it again 6 years later, I still think my design should’ve been given another chance. At least mine had a concept.[ back]
  5. And so should you if you begin a project that doesn’t get fulfilled. Remember to have that clause in your contract.[ back]
  6. Cliche, I know but hey, it works visually.[ back]
  7. That’s my hubby, a natural storyteller![ back]
  8. Well technically with him tablehopping in the room. But we got to talk to him and we actually really had dinner with his son Mike who was seated at our table.[ back]
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I'm Cynthia Bauzon-Arre, a Filipino watercolor artist & graphic designer. I live in QC with my graphic novelist husband Arnold and our friendly marmalade tabby Abbas. This blog has been chronicling my life, likes, and loves since 2001. [ more ]

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