Game of Phones

Initially, I thought I would  end up drawing iPhones and iPads for this job. Smart phones and tablets are fairly easy to render in Adobe Illustrator. They are little more than a rectangles with a few gradients heading in opposite directions. The problem is that they are everywhere and so commonplace that they aren’t all that interesting to look at. And there hasn’t exactly been a shortage of iPhone covers since the device was introduced a few years ago.

The cover story examines the state of intellectual property litigation. Right now, the manufacturers of smart phones and tablets are suing each other alleging infringement of patents and stealing of trade secrets. The writer was working on a lede comparing this to a battlefield or seismic change. With that information in hand, I worked up a few iPhone-/iPad-centric sketches:

Of course, tablets and smart phones aren’t all that fun to look at. They are everywhere. And there hasn’t exactly been a shortage of iPhone or iPad magazine covers or newspaper spreads since the device was introduced a few years ago. With that in mind, I explored doing something that was more representative of intellectual property, and less about the technology that was currently at the center of these disputes. What I came up with was this:

This ultimately got the go-ahead. When it was approved, I received a note saying this idea and the tank sketch generated some debate in the Inside Counsel office. I think anytime sketches are provoking discussion among editors and art directors you’re heading down the right road.

Thank you to Art Director Liz Novak for trusting me to take this in a somewhat less obvious direction.

January 03, 2012 by John W. Tomac
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