You may recall I recently wrote up a review on the FontFeed of Bravefont, the Extensis Suitcase Fusion 2 viral promotional video. What I wasn't aware of was the brilliant promotion that Extensis did to coincide with the launch. When the new version was released in September they announced that anyone purchasing the new Suitcase would receive a free laptop skin by Greg Lamarche, until supplies would run out. Much to my surprise, I received one of those laptop skins in my mail last week.
When Extensis went looking for a typography artist to work on this project (codename: SKIN) there were many to choose from. They eventually selected Greg Lamarche. Greg took a very interesting path to artistic greatness. A Queens native who now lives and works in Manhattan, Greg started in the art world as graffiti artist SPone and became widely recognized as one of the key players in NYC's revolutionary '80s-era graffiti movement. Known for his flawless letter constructions and vibrant mixed-media collage work, in 1992 Greg founded the highly-influential graffiti 'zine, Skills. Today his focus is on urban art projects, and gallery and commercial work. Having worked with companies like Mass Appeal, Juxtapoz and Zoo York, most of Greg's work is intricately cut out collages. He is heavily focused on letter forms, making him a great choice for a type-oriented project for type lovers. Greg designed the spectacular typography piece below that was quickly produced into a limited edition laptop skin.
Extensis contacted Greg Lamarche through his website this past summer. Greg suspects they got open on a design he did a while back for Poketo. The brief for this project was very open – to create a limited edition laptop skin as a promotional piece to compliment the new version of their Suitcase font management software. Since so much of Greg's work uses letters and fonts it seemed like a perfect fit. He wanted the design to have an ambiguous composition so that it did not specifically spell out anything. It is meant to be viewed more as a whole rather than a bunch of individual letters. Each letter was made from scratch and a lot of fragments, shadow, 3-D and negative space were used to create a sense of movement. The design betrays a genuine interest in the abstract possibilities of letter forms.
Untitled (Sp.one series), 2003 | Paper collage, 8 x 16 inchesPrivate Collection © Greg Lamarche
Jim Kidwell told me the laptop skin promotion ended a while ago, and they went quickly.
"We knew we were on to something when we had to hide our stash from the gremlins at Extensis."
Extensis VP of Corporate Marketing, Amanda Paull had this to say about the promotion and why they chose Greg for this work.
"We had a really positive reaction to this promotion – our audience consists of heavy type users who have an appreciation for original artwork, and this seemed like a perfect pairing. We contacted Greg after doing some research. We wanted someone who had more than just a digital background, but who started with hands-on artwork. Greg used to be exclusively a graffiti artist, then began using that same style in collage art – mostly utilizing letter forms. He then slowly took his craft digital. These days he does a mix – anything from installation graffiti, to commercial projects, to fine art and exhibitions.
Anecdotally, every time I'm in a coffee shop using my MacBook Pro I get a comment on the laptop skin."
New limited edition print Lamarche just recently dropped through Anonymous Gallery in NYC
For those of us who are disappointed that the laptop skin promotion is over, there's solace. The design has been made available as wallpaper files in a number of desktop sizes. You can download them from The Extensis Community Blog.
And now to come back to the original premise of this entry, and regarding my not so favourable review on the FontFeed of the Bravefont promotional video – I really don't know how to react to the laptop skin being sent to me. Make no mistake: I'm very happy with it because it looks way cool and everybody who's seen it really digs it. But I was a bit puzzled to receive one because I don't recall ever having sent them my home address. So should I be thankful and honoured that I was sent one? Should I suspect Extensis of trying to bribe me into being a little more lenient for their products in future reviews? Or did they just prove they know where I live and should I be very, very worried?
For the record, this last paragraph is a joke! ;)