Popular Mechanics: Illustrations

Popular Mechanics: Illustrations

How do you come up with strong visual infographic solutions for such diverse articles as "Marine Minesweepers," "Volcano Watchers" and "Backyard Digital Playground"?
ʉ۬Hire great illustrators! 

In the July issue of Popular Mechanics, they got to do just that -- read on for the details about three of July's PM illustrations, straight from the team...

Finding the right illustrator for a job is fun, but that's just the starting point. Illustrating PM's material, which brims with technical details, requires careful collaboration with our artists to make sure that the final product is accurate and informative without sacrificing great design. PM's readers expect a sophisticated take on a range of topics. Our strongest graphics can introduce and explain a complex subject in an understandable way, even if a reader is exploring it for the first time.

To create our digital backyard entertainment article (below), we asked Jacopo Rosati, based in Venice, Italy, to send us his vision of the all-American backyard--complete with a life-sized Wii video game. Jacopo tirelessly created great characters for this illustration and at the same time didn't lose sight of the fact that this was ultimately an info-diagram. Rosati's festive style takes an article about electronics setup and transforms it into a happening party. Check out the guy in the pool ... our personal favorite!
Wesley Allsbrook created a brilliant modern illustration (below) on a technically challenging topic: cannon rounds that can be fired from helicopters to destroy underwater mines. With a submarine perspective and sea-green tones, the graphic almost looks as if it could have run in the magazine fifty years ago--an unusual pairing of a vintage aesthetic with high-tech artillery. 

The art team 64 Colors brought a similarly retro style to their map of Alaska's volcanic Ring of Fire (below). Researchers at the Alaska Volcano Observatory have been keeping tabs on volcanic activity on one of the busiest air traffic corridors on earth. The smoldering palette and radiating bull's-eye suggest eruption and emergency, while the accurate air traffic patterns and dates of volcanic activity convey critical information. It's smart and incendiary--PM all the way.
The Popular Mechanics staff is:
Michael Lawton : Design Director
Allyson Torrisi : Director of Photography
Peter Herbert : Senior Art Director
Stravinski Pierre : Associate Art Director
Michele Ervin : Associate Photo Editor

Hey! You've probably got some NEW WORK to share, and we want to see it! We'll welcome anything that's gone to the printer recently, something you're especially proud of and think might be inspiring to the membership and readers of Grids. We'll note the credits and the publication and shine a little light on the latest and greatest in publication design.

Please reduce your layouts to no larger than 1200 pixels wide and don't forget to include all relevant credits and a little background (if you feel like). Send your submissions to tips@spd.org and we'll post them as we get them.

PREVIOUSLY: LA, The Los Angeles Times Magazine

  • Grant Glas

    Impressive is an understatement

    Hats off to Jacopo Rosati, Wesley Allsbrook and the art team 64 Colors.

  • Nancy Stamatopoulos

    Love it, love it, love it. A brilliant approach to hiring 3 very different illustrators for 3 distinct styles that all suited their topics. (May I get their contact info?)

  • Bradley R. Hughes

    Bravo boys... keep up the good work!

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