Avoid the face.

One of the earliest ads I can remember liking:43297-charles-jourdan-shoes-1976-photo-guy-bourdin-hprints-com-1
It’s for Charles Jourdan shoes, and it just seemed so exotic.

Surely fashion ads featured smiley, but unattainable models ‘demonstrating’ how to wear that particular bit of fashion, didn’t they?
This one showed an arse virtually against the camera lens, it was too dark to see the whole picture, one of the shoes was at an angle where I couldn’t see it properly the other is half in shadow and the name of the shoes is printed in tiny, little type.
It’s as if they really don’t give a shit.
Which is exactly what makes it so cool.
The genuinely cool you don’t pander and worry about how they look, they forge their own path, way, surprising, shocking and sometimes causing controversy along the way.
(It’s true, that’s how WE roll.)
But creating that vibe isn’t as easy as it sounds.
Ad agencies can’t really do it, they get too bogged down with logic, strategy and ideas, and in this category they are irrelevant.
So fashion houses chase photographers to give them an attitude.
I didn’t know it at the time, but that bum was shot by the late, great Guy Bourdin.13a13678ec7822c158ef8ba9f9762142
Arguably, Bourdin is the most influential fashion photographer ever. (Or most ripped off, depending on how you view that kind of thing.)
In 1964, Francine Crescent, accessories editor at French Vogue, was asked by Roland Jourdan to suggest a photographer to shoot some ads for his father’s company; Charles Jourdan, she suggested the thirty six year old Bourdin.Chapeau-Choc, 1954Guy Bourdain - 'Cockeral', 1962Guy Bourdin 'Bellhop & Waiters', French Vogue Dec. Jan 1970

Guy Bourdin 'Multi-Glasses'
Guy Bourdin 'Cherry Girl' Vogue Lugli, 1958.pngGuy Bourdin 'X Back'Guy Bourdin 'Champagne & Pig', French Vogue Dec. Jan 1970Guy Bourdin 'Ribbon Hair'
Guy Bourdain - Vogue, UK, April, 1966.jpegCapobianco-shoes-laure-shoes, Guy Bourdain, 1956'Naked Feet' Guy Bourdain
He accepted but insisted on absolute control, Francine reassured Roland, ‘‘Don’t worry, you won’t be married, you could always change photographer.’’
Reassured, Roland went ahead, it turned into a seventeen year ‘marriage’, (from 1964-1981), during that time Roland never turned down a single picture.
It took a lot of courage, the pictures weren’t like those in other fashion ads, rather than classy, sophisticated and aspirational, they could be dark, seedy and dangerous.
The shoes were presentedas fetishistic objects of desire, or as some bod at the time put it; ‘They rejected the the traditional product shot in favour of atmospheric, often surreal tableaux and suggestions of narrative.’
The collaboration started innocently enough with these, very sixties, graphic style ads.'Daisy Shoes' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain, 1967'Four Legs' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain, 1967, Melopee Majestic-MitsoukoAs Roland starts to trust Guy the ads get more ambitious, models start to be represented rather than shown:'Multi-Coloured Leg Tree' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain, 1967

guyjordan06'Cars Legs' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdin, Paris Vogue - March 1967'Spark' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain, 1969, Caleche Olympic'Glove' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain, 1967MX-2600N_20111027_132813_002'Balance' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain, 1967'Lightbulb' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain, 1967SKMBT_C20310072908350.jpgFaces aren’t disposed of altogether, they still pop up occasionally over the years.

 

'Girls In Shade' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain,0efc4b0fc6b659b80cc6193fb362e048'Maid' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain'Train Wave' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain'Fan' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain'Cllophane' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain, 1973'Hammock' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain, 1973'Darts' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain'Green Satin Sofa' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain6e597bd72a0b030eba4795537b5ee9acguy-bourdin-jourdan-harpers-queen-march-76'Red Shoe' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain, 1973
The shots are very atmospheric, full of attitude, cool, sexy etc, but faces in ads are problematic:
1. They are distracting, the readers eyes go straight to them like a magnet.
2. They can alienate, few people have faces like the models in the ads.
3. Most ads have faces in them, so they don’t stand out.

Who knows whether that was Guy’s thinking, but over time faces definitely become scarcer.
He comes up with tons of inventive ways of showing shoes without pesky models faces trying to steal the limelight.

1. CROP THE MODELS OUT:ab1ed7b63001bd2d4c3d3077c9039b26'Legs At Dusk' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain, 1975'Curve' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain'Red Heel' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain'chair Stack' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain'Bollard',  Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain.jpg'Step' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain, Vogue-Oct-1976'Fallen Tree' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain'Doorway' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain'Plane' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain, Spring 1971
'Closet' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain'Flamingos' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain'Legs & Boy' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain.jpg'Fields' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain'Ship Rail' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain'Grass' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain 'Orange Sofa, Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain.jpg2014-12-01-Bourdin2.jpg'Red Heel' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain.jpg'Railings' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain.jpg'Obelisk' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain.jpg'Step' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain.jpg'Cinema' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain

2. PUTTING THE MODELS IN THE SHADOWS:'Green Phonebooth' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain
'Street Gallery' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain'Dinner Silhouettes' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain 'Sand Dune' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain.jpg'In Window' Charles Jourdan, Guy BourdainVogue-March-1978.jpg'Palm' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain'Turquoise Sky' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain

3. MASSIVE CLOSE UPS OF THE SHOE IN ACTION:42b2fc28f77533e131ee3117c41b9bbf'Step' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdin
MX-2610N_20121017_151436_002imager.jpg'Bum' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain, 1976guy-bourdin-charles-jourdan-d9cf3612ff33f3d2de38834baec8710f4b03a4ff92d1e8384788377a7a0867041f9f2501c99c17688bd346f879ef2fae8'Green Suede Boots' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain.jpg'Polaroid Cut Out' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain.jpgff89a2d05dbb4e2a92fc3de5578696e9

4. SEPARATE THE SHOE FROM THE MODEL:
002-guy-bourdin-theredlist.png'i Woman' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain-01.jpg'Deck Chairs' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain, 1973.jpg'Pink Satin', Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain.png'Man On Stairs', Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain.png'Yellow Paint' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain.jpg'Red Swimsuit:Back' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain.jpg'Mouse hole', Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain, Spring, 1979.jpeg'Rainbow Deck Chair' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain.jpg'By The Sea' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain.jpg'Astroturf' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain.jpg

5. GET THE MODEL TO LOOK ANYWHERE BUT INTO THE CAMERA:
de91a54213f1eb117f66b503527360ab'White Trousers', Charles Jourdan Guy Bourdain.png'No Fishing' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain.png'Mouse hole', Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain, Spring, 1979.jpegwpid-guy-bourdin-charles-jourdan-spring-1968-box-11998.jpg'Pink Shiny Wall' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain.jpg'Golf' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain, Vogue Sept 1973.jpg'Bowl' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain.jpgb2a73e5350a2921a9d9e498413e0677fphoto-guy-bourdin-charles-jourdan-spring-1978-b.jpg640a286ade2d9a307e5a6bfba93bb24a

6. PUT THINGS IN FRONT OF THE MODELS:
8cb8bc58733443e316036a49d76111f3'Cadillac' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain.jpg'White Bench' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain.jpg'Umbrellas' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain.jpg'Small Boat*' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain.png'Green Door' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain.jpg'Green Booth Glass' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain.jpg'Leg' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain1975.jpg'Yellow Door' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain.jpg'Lamp Post' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain1975.jpg'Hidden Telephone Booth' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain.jpg'Silk Sheet' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain.jpg'Marble', Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain.jpg'Deck Chairs' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain, 1973.jpg'Sheet' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain.jpg'Polythene', Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain.jpg'Truck:Post' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain.jpg'Table Legs' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain.jpg'Shop Window', Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain.png'Parking:Pillar', Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain.jpg

7. EVERYTHING BUT THE SHOES ARE OUT OF FOCUS:bourdin-sd-charles-jourdan-fb

8. CUT FROM THE MODEL BEING TOO SMALL TO SEE TO BEING TOO BIG TO SEE:MX-2600N_20120302_104449_001'Red Tape' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdin
40265-charles-jourdan-shoes-1973-photo-guy-bourdin-hprints-com08a9728d241dadb177b07db68587fe57image.jpg

9. CHOP THE MODEL’S LEGS OFF:
(Well, just using the relevant, dismembered bit of a mannequins leg to stick the shoe on.)84329b0aa69e05927a64549fe4f2e769GuyBourdin-CharlesJourdan-2GuyBourdin-CharlesJourdan-11Screen Shot 2017-06-19 at 11.13.26.pngScreen Shot 2017-06-19 at 11.13.40.png18494-ART-24S-GB.jpgGuyBourdin-CharlesJourdan-12guy-bourdin-walking-legs-22j-gb1.jpgffe2d381fa49cf6c3d01296f85a2cd54'Flower Pot*' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain.jpg9bee5b9137b007c7dbf66b0e2dfc9e92image25011bfcf7540-7744-4345-b9d3-e38054ecfabe-2060x1369.jpg54c660e939f592778.jpgIMG_1241 'Pond' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain.jpg54c660499f0d2french-vogue-charles-jourdan-september-1979-fujiflex-crystal-archive-print-88.9-x-118.1-cm-.jpg'Platform' Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain.jpg 

10. NO MODEL:
a220452c447b3beb6e76f2be169be451.jpgScan100911973photo-guy-bourdin-charles-jourdan-summer-1974-bMX-2610N_20120925_151516_001'Red Carpet', Charles Jourdan, Guy Bourdain.jpg

Auction-For-Charles-Jourdan-Spring-1975-600x400From todays perspective, we could debate whether some of the pictures are sexist, misogynistic or just plain wrong.
But what isn’t debatable is that they transformed a little French shoe manufacturers into one of the coolest brands of the seventies and changed fashion photography.Guy Bourdain - Self Portrait,1950.jpg
(Geek link: http://www.pinterest.com/davedye/guy-bourdin/)

N.b. I don’t know the chronology of these ads.
I’m certain it’s not how I’ve shown them, but I wanted to segment them in this way to show how one man kept reinventing the idea of the ‘shoe shot’.
So all you chronology freaks, hold off on the comments.

SKMBT_C20310072908350.jpg

Wiggly lines.

'Whose Countryside' Ordnance Survey, Leagas Delaney'Nouvelle Cuisine', Tetley Bitter, Leagas Delaney'For His Nibs' Harrod's, Leagas DelaneyLeagas Delaney, Punch 'Puttenham''-01
I used to love those long copy Leagas Delaney ads.
True, I never read the copy, but the theory at the time was that if  you write a thousand words on, say, how a boot was made, you’d appear like a very well made boot.
Showing a thousand words of copy was like a bit like a quality mark.
But I liked them because they looked nice.
Well, sophisticated, to be more precise.
In a sea of price flashes, exclamation marks and big, black, condensed type, these ads reeked of class, which obviously rubbed off on the brands and products they were representing.
When I got to Leagas Delaney I was always looking for an opportunity to create a campaign rammed with words.
It would seem impolite not to, a like going to Blackpool and not bringing back a stick of rock or going to going to Pisa and not getting a picture pretending you’re holding up the tower.
The first opportunity was for the Waterstone’s pitch, what could be a more appropriate client for a campaign heavy on wordage than a store that sold words?
(As arty and cool as those random sepia patterns look, they aren’t deliberate, they are the result of ageing photographic paper.)
1. 'Child' Waterstones, Dave Dye, Leagas Delaney2. 'Colin Wilson' Waterstones, Dave Dye, Leagas Delaney3. 'Hindu Kush' Waterstones, Dave Dye, Leagas Delaney6. 'Drug Dealer' Waterstones, Dave Dye, Leagas Delaney7. 'Erotic Books' Waterstones, Dave Dye, Leagas Delaney8. 'Hemingway' Waterstones, Dave Dye, Leagas Delaney.jpg5. 'One Day' Waterstones, Dave Dye, Leagas Delaney8. 'Hemingway' Waterstones, Dave Dye, Leagas Delaney
The man from Waterstone’s, he say ‘No!’.

On the face of it you may think users of this particular product may prefer slurring words to reading them, but Bushmills is aimed at a pretty sophisticated bunch, maybe they’d appreciate a bit of a history lesson?Bushmills B&W Rough 'Raleigh'-01Bushmills B&W Rough, Peter The Quite Alright-01
Perhaps a bit too many words and too little colour.Bushmills Roughs 'Mouths'-01Bushmills Roughs 'Amuses'-01Bushmills Roughs 'Influx'-01Bushmills Roughs004It turned out that Bushmills didn’t think their target audiences wanted a history lesson, ‘They want to see people having fun…young people…enjoying life.’

English Heritage?
Surely people interested in England’s Heritage will be up for a bit of reading?
Our first endline was ‘You own it, visit it’, it was rejected on a technicality, the public didn’t actually own it.
It became ‘It’s yours, why not visit it?
We set out to connect the sites to the readers.
The previous campaigns tended to big everything up so much that they felt distant and inhuman.
We wanted to do the opposite.
For example, rather than trying to impress people with the scale or numbers of  relating to Hadrian’s Wall,  we’d pick a  smaller, more human aspect, like a bit of thousand-year old graffiti.
Each ad could contain about half a dozen or so these details, and instead of stringing them together in one long piece of copy, we thought they’d be more readable if we broke them into separate, bite-size chunks.
Tonally, if are going to tell the English public that this is theirs, perhaps we should talk like them rather than plummy accented types who ran it.
But first we needed headlines to lead on.photo (3)
photo (5)photo (6)photo (1)photo (4)

Note that wavy line thing at the bottom, it was a kind of place holder for a bit of nice looking typographic ornamentation, to make the ads look sophisticated.
English Heritage bought the campaign.
The client had the word heritage in their name, surely a good enough reason for traditional hot metal type?
Who could work in hot metal, and turn that  squiggly line into a sophisticated bit of graphics?
Tony and Kim, who sat a few doors down suggested their old mate from BMP; Dave Wakefield.
Dave agreed, but had one concern “It’d be nice if that squiggly line meant something?”
ME: “Err, yes it would, but aaanyway…”
DAVE: “You know, if it had a real meaning.”
ME: “Yeeeeah… anyway, what about this type then?’
DAVE: “I can’t really think about the type without resolving this issue of what the wavy lines mean?”
ME: “Here’s the truth Dave, they don’t really mean anything…they are just there to make it look nice…decoration.”
DAVE:  “I don’t really like decoration for decoration sake, I think it should have a sound reason for its use.”
ME: “Couldn’t that reason be that it looks really nice?”
DAVE: “No.”
ME: “Give me an example of what it could be?”
DAVE: “Er, I don’t know”
ME: “Brilliant! Has anyone seen Tony or Kim?”

Dave disappeared to think some more.

He came back with a plan;
a) Base the typography on the period of the site we were talking
b) Base the ‘wiggly lines’ on shapes, objects or patterns relating to each site.
c) Link the ‘wiggly lines’ to the typography by using typographic elements from the same typographic family.

I had no idea how he’d do it, but the theory sounded good.
(My view on commissioning people is the same as Alfred Hitchcock’s view on casting people; “If you cast actors well you don’t need to direct them”.)

He read everything there was to read on each of the sites we were using in our ads, doodling ideas along the way.
English Heritage 'Wakefield Doodles'-01Then, bizarrely, he made the theory into brilliant bits of design and typography.
He used the floor plan of  Walmer Castle.
Henry VIII had three castles on the site built in the shape of the Tudor Rose.49b Walmer Castle colour2
This was then cast in metal. It contains over a thousand elements.English Heritage 'Roses' -01When You build a castle_English Heritage

He used a combination of morse code, dazzle camouflage and ranking stripes as the inspiration for the base for the Winston Churchill ad.
(The morse code is an Admiral Ramsey quote from the period “BEF evacuated”.)English Heritage 'Zig Zag' -01Whilst Winston Churchill was involved_English HeritageWhilst Winston Churchill was involved_English Heritage

For the Hadrian’s Wall ad, Dave read “the whole of Breeze and Dobson’s ‘Hadrian’s Wall”, whatever that is?
Out of it he understood the Roman obsession with exact mathematics, he translated the thirteen primary forts from South Shields to Bowness, each showing a black, twin-portal gateway.
He worked it out by scratching away on this piece of paper.
English Heritage 'Wakefield Scratch Pattern'-01Hadrians Wall is much more pleasant_English Heritage
Three ads into the campaign, the head client, Jocelyn Stevens fired the agency.
We had referred to Her Majesty as her Royal Highness, or vice versa.
Bang! Instant dismissal, all the other ads were binned.

WARNING:
Doing an ad in hot metal sounds all very cool and trendy, but beware.
The letters are literally made out of metal, so there’s no cheating, you can’t squeeze the words by 7% to make them fit.
You have to rewrite it.
If you look closely at some of the lines on the ads above, you’ll see they are one or two lines long, it meant when Sean’s copy was traced to check if it fitted, Dave Wakefield would phone to ask Sean if he could lose two here add five there and so on.
It doesn’t sound terrible until you try and write  ‘Experiences of the” with two less characters, or ‘authentic detail’ with three extra characters.
It’s like an evil MENSA test.
Sean would politely agree to take on Dave’s request, put the phone down, light up a cigarette and start mouthing phrases that containing words like ‘Dwarf’, Wakefield’, ‘Idiot’, ‘Elf” and ‘Pillock’.
But he’d do it.