Guiseppi Protacio focuses on the important things. He keeps it simple using a minimalistic style to create an iconic image that’s worth a thousand words. This Chicago-based freelance graphic designer and movie lover takes on projects from logos and branding to posters and one-sheets. His artistic vision is just one of the many reasons all of us, at Copper Arrow, asked him to create our amazing new logo. Find out why we’re so FONT of Guiseppi and read more about our artist of the week:
CA: How did you get started with graphic design?
GP: It was sort of an accident, actually. I was in my senior year in high school back in the Philippines and, unlike every student out there, excited and gearing up for college, I was really confused as to what course I should be taking! Luckily, there was this new-ish degree program (at that time) being offered in one of the largest art schools in the country, called Multimedia Arts. I checked out the classes and I figured “huh, this seems to be right up my alley”. I was never really the studious type. I hated Math and I was never great with classes that end with “try.” I have always felt like art was my calling. Marvel and Image comics were my jam back in the day, and I loved staring at movie posters (one-sheet) and various music album covers when I went to the mall after class.
So, after all the extensive paperwork and entrance exam — I got in! But here’s the thing: Multimedia has the word “multi” in it, which means there’s a lot of “paths” you can take in this course. It is really up to you to figure out which one suits you– y’know, as far as, signing up for the right classes. Clearly, this was another confusing time for me, since it can be extremely intimidating to decide. After all, there was a lot of options for my multimedia degree- cinematographer, photographer, director, animator, graphic designer… and the age-old question of, “do I want this to be my future?”. At first, I thought my path was animation because of my love for cartoons, but a different path formed when a little program called “Adobe Photoshop” was introduced to me during my 2nd semester.
At first, it was difficult to navigate through this then- because it was the first time I used Adobe software. The first version of the Photoshop I got my hands on was 5.5. It took me a while, but then eventually I got comfortable with it… and from there it started to snowball. I noticed I am getting better with the program. I even notice myself enjoying the process of working with Photoshop. Then, the good grades start rolling in for reach of my projects. That’s when I realize “OK, this program rocks and I want to do more of this professionally. Hello there, new best friend!”. The rest is pretty much history.
CA: What are your artistic goals?
GP: That’s kind of a broad question, but generally my goal these days when it comes to designing is to find right balance between western and eastern designs and apply it on every occasion I can find. The right “fusion” if you will, one that speaks to your targeted audience fully. I’ve seen a couple of indie projects out here in Chicago — whether it’s an independent film or web series, or even just a Facebook invite — and usually their promotional designs are either, sorry to say, lacking and uninspired or just plain generic “hey, we’re having an event, here’s our invite we made in Microsoft Word in 5 mins, come on out!”. I’m not doubting the talent involved in these said projects, because I’m sure it’s being run by a couple of talented folks. But that’s my goal and this is where I come in: to help the art community design for the better. Some of my advice: Comics Sans is an ugly font. Period. Unless you’re creating comics, STOP USING IT.
CA: Who are your inspirations?
GP: Oooh, there’s a bunch even though they are not graphic designers perse. There is Yoshitaka Amano, who illustrates Final Fantasy. His work isn’t exactly my style, but it inspires me to add a mystical aspect into some of my work. There’s also Drew Struzan, who creates movie posters. His most iconic work would be the posters he created for Star Wars and Indiana Jones. A few more people who inspire me are Wong Kar-wai, Makoto Shinkai, Shigeo Fukuda, and Shigenori Soejima. Most importantly though, there are two influencers who heavily inspire me in my designs. First, there is the Designers Republic who create rad looking text. Secondly, there’s the great Saul Bass who creates movie posters with a minimalistic style.
CA: What has been your favorite thing to create?
GP: I specialize in logo making, branding, layouts, or simply anything that’s static or can be printed, but one of the things I love to do, is designing movie posters and one-sheets. It is mainly because I do want to be a film director one of these days. There’s just something about designing and positioning those movie credits; it feels therapeutic at times. So, that’s probably my favorite thing to do overall. In fact, every Christmas since 2010, I always make one for my friends back home in the Philippines as a way of saying “Hey friends, I miss you all, happy holidays!”.
CA: What is your inspirational process?
GP: Amazingly it always starts with music – and no, it’s not any random song you hear from the radio, but instrumental tracks that virtually have no lyrics in them. Thing is, I’ve always admired film and video game soundtracks, scores from John Williams, Michael Giacchino, Nobuo Uematsu. Primarily because I can simply daydream to their tunes with ease since they aren’t any vocals. So, it usually starts from there. If I’m bound to be designing something, be it a personal project or from a client, I usually to listen to a bunch of instrumentals and dream… hard… until I find the right image in my head… and then that’s where I start designing. It may be weird and unusual to some, but that’s what art is!
CA: What are some of your hobbies when you aren’t working on graphic design?
GP: Video games. Lots of it! I’ve been playing games ever since I was five and it’s pretty much half of my life. The other half? Movies. I’m a huge cinephile and I usually catch a new film once a week, whether it’s on Netflix or the local AMC. I grew up in the 80’s and the 90’s, so films by Steven Spielberg, Quentin Tarantino, Robert Zemeckis, Martin Scorsese, Ridley Scott and John Hughes have greatly influenced me over the last few years. Oh, and I love to travel a lot too! Tokyo, Japan has been my favorite trip so far. It’s just this awesome metropolis. I also really enjoyed Portland, Oregon. The locals there are just totally nice and don’t mind who you are. Being weird is okay there and that’s me as an artist.
Fun Facts about Guiseppi:
I am a HUGE Star Wars fan and I personally cannot wait for Rian Johnson’s Episode VIII (The Last Jedi) to come out this Christmas.
I am also a big fan of the Final Fantasy franchise and consider Final Fantasy VI as one of my favorite games of all time.
I love almost anything by Marvel and have been supporting the Marvel Cinematic Universe ever since its incarnation. And before you ask, no: I’m not a fan of the second Thor movie either.
I own a Jack Russell Terrier whom I love and treat like the younger brother I never had.
I enjoy organizing movie screenings for my friends every time I visit the Philippines… so much that my friends and I eventually formed a group after numerous film-outings, which we call, “the greatest barkada* the universe will never know”.
(*Barkada is Filipino street slang that means a group of friends)
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