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Steven Noble Illustrations » Magazine Article

Archive for the ‘Magazine Article’ Category

Some New Work on the Web

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

From time to time one of my illustrations is featured on the web. The first is on AdPulp, where I did an illustration of Santa for Fentimans by way of ad agency Sell! Sell!. I also did a lobster for lobster.com… take a look and let me know what you think!

See article in AdPulp:

Sell! Sell! in London is helping Fentimans, the independent Hexham-based soft drinks company, tug Coca-Cola’s long white beard this Christmas.
Created by Sell! Sell!, the ad depicts an old-fashioned illustration of a Fentimans Santa wearing the colours of Curiosity Cola and workman’s boots standing victorious over a chubby Father Christmas lying prostrate and dressed in his customary red outfit much championed and featured by Coca Cola.

Vic Polkinghorne, creative director of Sell! Sell!, commented “Fentimans make great soft drinks but they’re in a market that’s dominated by big brands and heavy spenders. To make their budgets work as hard as possible they need something cheeky or provocative to help them cut through the blizzard of Christmassy nonsense that’s spewed forth at this time of year”.
By the way, “Reet” is Northern English slang for “right.”

BrandNew posted a piece about the Lobster.com logo. They’re a very well-read and well-respected design blog:

In a bold move, the logo doesn’t spell out the word “Lobster,” and instead it simply shows you one, an immediately identifiable lobster that works as a very charming rebus and turns a URL that could look like one of those generic catch-all web sites full of ads into a kind of leader URL. Nail hired illustrator Steven Noble to create the custom woodcut illustration of a Maine lobster and then added a slightly distressed, serif “.com” creating an amusing fusion of vintage illustration and contemporary technology. I don’t normally think of the Internet as a place where I would get my lobsters, not that I buy lobster ever, but now I know where to get some shipped right to my house after I’m done posting to Brand New.

2007 Create Magazine

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

Create Magazine Article: “[THE FULL PACKAGE] – The Northeast Wraps Up Designs”

Published: March 2007


A product can be great, but without attention-grabbing packaging or labeling it can still be flat. Being aware of trends and working hard to bring to the client’s vision to life be essential for commercial illustrator Steve Noble, who is nationally recognized. The challenge for an illustrator is to interpret the client’s vision and create a drawing that lives up to the image that  until then had resided for the most part only within the client’s mind.

   “Products have always had logos that identify them, “Noble said. “It’s really crucial. Without that identity, people don’t remember because sometimes they remember the visual more than the product. It is what makes the product  –  without that there is nothing.”

    To start the process Noble ask the clients to send him reference materials and the layout. After a detailed discussion, Noble is ready to begin translating the verbal into a visual which can be tricky, he said. “Sometimes that doesn’t always cross over right,” Noble said. “What they think in their head doesn’t always translate onto paper.”

    According to Noble, that is when 20 years of experience comes in handy. “ I know exactly sometimes what will work and what doesn’t work.”

    Once he has an idea of the general theme and images a client wants, Noble creates an image employing various techniques such as woodcut, traditional engraving and steel engraving styles, as well as a variety of scratchboard techniques. After several rough drafts and feedback from the client, Noble finalizes the image.

    In one recent project, Seeds of Change contacted Noble to create an  illustration for it organic chocolate bar packaging. The company had developed a general idea for the label. Using the list along with the layout and thumbnail images provided by the art director, Noble was able to fine tune it with a parrot in the center and adding cacao trees in the background and chocolate bars at the bottom.

    One trend Noble has noticed is that many of his clients that sell organic products are choosing woodcuts over other illustration styles. “They’re looking for something with a more natural look,” he said. “They want a more earthy look…There has been a lot of demand for that sort of thing, whether it’s food, vitamins or other things.”

     The “established look” is in for many wineries that want their labeling to give consumers the impression that their wine has been around since at least the 1800’s. “They want an aged, established label with an old look,” Noble said. Winemakers believe that their wines are taken more seriously when their bottles sport a venerable and dignified label rather than a more modern look.

    “That’s where I come in,” he said. “ We did four different labels for Rodney Strong. They wanted a fetching, engraved look. They’ve been around for 40 or 50 years, but wanted to make it look like they’d been there for 100 years.”

     Noble finds that Japanese clients have a fondness for Tuscan and Italian themes for their coffee packaging. “They like Italian coffee and lattes,” he said. “I ‘ve done a lot of scenes from Venice and Tuscany.”