While working at Dame Products, I had the pleasure to work on editorial and spot illustrations for their website and wellness blog, The Horizontal, and establish their first Illustration Style Guide.
Dame’s Mission Statement:
“Dame Products was founded by smart women to make phenomenal toys for sex. [Their] continuing mission: to design well-engineered products, to heighten intimacy, and to improve the sexual experiences of humankind.” -Dame Products Press Kit
Through conversations with the Creative Director, I got a sense of what brand goals they had for their illustrations:
While previous editorial illustrations on The Horizontal were exciting and depicted bodies in dynamic positions, they were often trans-exclusionary (depicting normative gender presentations and explicitly), largely depicted normative cisgender bodies in heterosexual pairings, and sometimes represented people of color with non-realistic skin tones (see: Meg Robichaud’s article, “You Can’t Draw Purple People and Call it Diversity”)
My initial executions:
What didn’t work:
Too much negative space in background.
Use of black outlines feels cartoonish.
What did work:
Darker skin tones are represented with REALISTIC colors.
Individuality & expressiveness in figures.
What did work:
Dynamic postures add expression and personality to figures.
Drop shadows and background patterns playfully utilize space.
Some of my favorite editorial illustrations:
The process of creating The Horizontal’s editorial illustrations led me to establish Dame Products’ first Illustration Style Guide, which can be viewed here.
My next big illustration assignment was overhauling the illustrations that accompanied the monthly horoscopes on The Horizontal, known as “Sexoscopes”.
There were similar issues with this illustration series and the editorial illustrations. First and foremost, there were concerns in the lack of diversity in body shape, size, and gender presentation. And in wanting to adhere to Dame’s new Illustration Style Guide, we wanted the new version to reflect our varied color palette.
After conversations with the Creative Director, our objectives for this new iteration were:
Distinctive bodies and personalities.
Utilize Dame’s full color scheme.
To address: Distinctive bodies and personalities, I referenced images from lifestyle clothing brands that feature models of all sizes and two stock photo libraries, Getty Images and Broadly’s The Gender Spectrum Collection. (link them)
To address: “Utilize Dame’s full color scheme”, I compiled color schemes for each horoscope element (Fire, Earth, Air, Water), having the primary and secondary colors in each set be from Dame’s color palette and then the shades.
One of my concerns was