Michael Lester, Behance
Michael Lester, Behance

The World's Smallest Portfolio Isn't the Only Cool Thing This Designer Has Done

Michael Lester, Behance
Michael Lester, Behance

Sometimes, simple is better, and the buzz surrounding Michael Lester's minimalistic—and very tiny—portfolio is a testament to just that. In response to a design brief asking enrollees of jelly London's 2015 D&AD New Blood Festival event to create an innovative way to sell themselves to prospective clients, Lester, a London-based graphic designer, made “The World’s Smallest Portfolio.”

The portfolio is about the size of an average postage stamp—just 24 millimeters wide by 19 millimeters tall—and features old, new, and in-progress pieces. But rather than shrinking down his work to fit the tiny dimensions, he distilled each piece into a single image and corresponding sentence to demonstrate his skills as "an ideas-driven visual communicator." Lester's portfolio—which won jelly London's Making Your Mark brief submission contest—can be seen in part on his Behance page.

In an interview for jelly London's blog, Lester explained his inspiration, saying that he wanted to see how small he could get his portfolio while still demonstrating his style and without losing each piece's primary message.

Even from this tiny portfolio, it’s obvious that Lester has a defined aesthetic. Each image—regardless of the project—looks like it could belong to a cohesive collection. “I think one thing that is always present is a slight childish quality," Lester tells mental_floss in an email. "I drew from a very young age and have always been obsessed with childlike creativity.”

This wasn't Lester's only 2015 D&AD success. Lester won a Graphite Pencil for D&AD’s New Blood Awards in recognition for his submission to the Envision Yourself in 10 Years Time brief from WeTransfer. His project, "Hire (The Future) Me," “invited people to hire me for free, but for 10 years’ time and for skills that I’ve yet developed,” Lester writes. So he built an interactive website where clients can book him for the future, and then “receive a hand signed I.O.U ticket” to hold him accountable.

In the technology world, so much can happen in 10 years. In 2005, YouTube was launched, Microsoft introduced the Xbox360, and people still used the iPod shuffle. So what will happen to graphic design by 2025? “I think right now we are seeing a range of ways to make work. At one end there’s the cutting edge technology driving forward,” Lester explains. “But there’s a drive for tactile things too. I think in 10 years' time, we will know how to bring these two ends of the spectrum together more naturally."

But even as technology changes, good graphic design—and especially advertising—will still require effective storytelling. And Lester’s prepared to give the future all he’s got. 

[h/t Ad Week]

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Rebecca O'Connell (Getty Images) (iStock)
How Frozen Peas Made Orson Welles Lose It
Rebecca O'Connell (Getty Images) (iStock)
Rebecca O'Connell (Getty Images) (iStock)

Orson Welles would have turned 103 years old today. While the talented actor/director/writer leaves behind a staggering body of work—including Citizen Kane, long regarded as the best film of all time—the YouTube generation may know him best for what happened when a couple of voiceover directors decided to challenge him while recording an ad for Findus frozen foods in 1970.

The tempestuous Welles is having none of it. You’d do yourself a favor to listen to the whole thing, but here are some choice excerpts.

After he was asked for one more take from the audio engineer:

"Look, I’m not used to having more than one person in there. One more word out of you and you go! Is that clear? I take directions from one person, under protest … Who the hell are you, anyway?"

After it was explained to him that the second take was requested because of a “slight gonk”:

"What is a 'gonk'? Do you mind telling me what that is?"

After the director asks him to emphasize the “in” while saying “In July”:

"Why? That doesn't make any sense. Sorry. There's no known way of saying an English sentence in which you begin a sentence with 'in' and emphasize it. … That's just stupid. 'In July?' I'd love to know how you emphasize 'in' in 'in July.' Impossible! Meaningless!"

When the session moved from frozen peas to ads for fish fingers and beef burgers, the now-sheepish directors attempt to stammer out some instructions. Welles's reply:

"You are such pests! ... In your depths of your ignorance, what is it you want?"

Why would the legendary director agree to shill for a frozen food company in the first place? According to author Josh Karp, whose book Orson Welles’s Last Movie chronicles the director’s odyssey to make a “comeback” film in the 1970s, Welles acknowledged the ad spots were mercenary in nature: He could demand upwards of $15,000 a day for sessions, which he could use, in part, to fund his feature projects.

“Why he dressed down the man, I can't say for sure,” Karp says. “But I know that he was a perfectionist and didn't suffer fools, in some cases to the extreme. He used to take a great interest in the ads he made, even when they weren't of his creation.”

The Findus session was leaked decades ago, popping up on radio and in private collections before hitting YouTube. Voiceover actor Maurice LaMarche, who voiced the erudite Brain in Pinky and the Brain, based the character on Welles and would recite his rant whenever he got the chance.

Welles died in 1985 at the age of 70 from a heart attack, his last film unfinished. While some saw the pea endorsement as beneath his formidable talents, he was actually ahead of the curve: By the 1980s, many A-list stars were supplementing their income with advertising or voiceover work.

“He was a brilliant, funny guy,” Karp says. “There's a good chance he'd think the pea commercial was hilarious.” If not, he’d obviously have no problem saying as much.

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iStock
How Google Chrome’s New Built-In Ad Blocker Will Change Your Browsing Experience
iStock
iStock

If you can’t stand web ads that auto-play sound and pop up in front of what you’re trying to read, you have two options: Install an ad blocker on your browser or avoid the internet all together. Starting Thursday, February 15, Google Chrome is offering another tool to help you avoid the most annoying ads on the web, Tech Crunch reports. Here’s what Google Chrome users should expect from the new feature.

Chrome’s ad filtering has been in development for about a year, but the details of how it will work were only recently made public. “While most advertising on the web is respectful of user experience, over the years we've increasingly heard from our users that some advertising can be particularly intrusive,” Google wrote in a blog post. “As we announced last June, Chrome will tackle this issue by removing ads from sites that do not follow the Better Ads Standards.

That means the new feature won’t block all ads from publishers or even block most of them. Instead, it will specifically target ads that violate the Better Ad Standards that the Coalition for Better Ads recommends based on consumer data. On desktop, this includes auto-play videos with sound, sticky banners that follow you as you scroll, pop-ups, and prestitial ads that make you wait for a countdown to access the site. Mobile Chrome users will be spared these same types of ads as well as flashing animations, ads that take up more than 30 percent of the screen, and ads the fill the whole screen as you scroll past them.

These criteria still leave room for plenty of ads to show up online—the total amount of media blocked by the feature won’t even amount to 1 percent of all ads. So if web browsers are looking for an even more ad-free experience, they should use Chrome’s ad filter as a supplement to one of the many third-party ad blockers out there.

And if accessing content without navigating a digital obstacle course first doesn’t sound appealing to you, don’t worry: On sites where ads are blocked, Google Chrome will show a notification that lets you disable the feature.

[h/t Tech Crunch]

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