Some years back my daily tasks included illustrating the ideas of others, both good and bad. It was fun and surprisingly satisfying to render the icons and cliches of our cultural vernacular. Locking in to a style and using it as a measuring stick is different from a true design problem but it can be a blast. After ‘The Book of Tiki‘ was published there seemed to be an instant demand for recreations of the kitschy South Seas stuff.
The buyers were all clamoring for something that said ‘vintage American fun’ and I was tasked with doing the drawings. Some of the illustrations below are spot illustrations for products and some are design drawings for sculptors and the production teams. Not everything made it to the mall by June but some of it did and before long I was able to buy it in the discount bin.
The woman I drew for the logo was used as the central icon for all of the plates and glasses. Since most of this was being produced oversees, there was a good liklihood that certain things might come out wrong unless the process was spelled out in great detail.
I created a production style guide and instruction booklet to ease the pain. The products samples came back pretty close to our expecations so it looks like it helped. Now if only the word “Pleasure” hadn’t been selected. Here are some pics of the shot glasses in the packaging. Shots are always better with four people so that’s how they were sold. You shouldn’t do shots alone.
One of the paradoxical things about Tiki Parties is that for all of their primitive, back-to-nature vibe they are actually the dandy of the yard party. You can’t just have Jimbo throw a bunch of Mai Tai’s and coconuts in his red fishing cooler. The drinks require exotic fruit and demand a dedicated workspace. This rendering is a stage one concept-
Around that same time, Sea World San Diego was doing a little re-theming on their ‘Mango Joe’s’ restaurant. Guess what they wanted? Tiki sculptures, carved out of foam and rhino coated for protection from the human factors.