Some time ago I was contacted by comedy screenwriter Seth Front who pitched me his idea for “The Jewish Zodiac™”: a parody of “The Chinese Zodiac
” but with deli
foods instead of animals. Each of the 12 signs (based on birth year) would, in a light-hearted way, personify the food’s characteristics as well as explore compatability with the other 11 signs. It seemed like a good idea, and I could design them all as vintage deli
food labels with the potential of becoming a mini portfolio of 12 related but distinctly different designs.
One problem I needed to solve was that Seth had already done food photography, and was intent on using it in the designs. Initially I wasn’t hot on using his photography because I thought it would be difficult to integrate into my graphics. But then I figured out a way of using Photoshop and Illustrator to translate the photos into simplified graphics using limited color. The results looking deceptively simple and easily achieved—but figuring it out and translating each photo was in actuality a very labor intensive process. I was then able to extrapolate the label designs using the limited color palettes derived from the processed photographs. Below is a section of one of the photos and the corresponding section of its simplified graphic counterpart I created, reducing it to 6 flat colors: