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The Illustrated Voice

Craig Frazier has been in the profession for almost 30 years working as both designer and illustrator; slowly making a transition that has allowed him to overlap two areas in a manner that only a handful of individuals can. His strong, bold, flat forms contain unique style and meaning in every detail.

The Illustrated Voice, leads us through a series of chapters full of examples and explanations regarding the way in which he will first review and assignment, and the process that he readily navigates with his sketchbook and pads of tracing paper at hand. He delves in the relationship and harmony that should co-exist between an illustration and the design and media in which it shall reside —editorial assignments done in a period of 24 hours, annual reports over several months or book covers in a few weeks.

We also get a clear idea of his thought process, the way in which the assignment is placed in front of him and finds the key message(s) that need to be communicated. This is followed by a series of thoughts in which he starts to doodle metaphors, images within images, overlaying objects, practicing his wit, at all times searching for the unexpected— the one thing that will really catch the viewers attention. Judging from the handful of sketches that accompany each example it is clear that his is a rare vision. Not only do we find unheard of associations, distorted proportions and astute metaphors, we find in each process/execution a simplicity of thought and a bareness of message that can and will take your breath away.

There is no lack of examples, from posters, to logos, to covers and spreads in the book, which were carefully selected for their quality and timeless characteristics. It is hard to define when each piece was created (without reading the details), something that leaves me with a small void, for I am not able to clearly see Craig’s growth as an illustrator throughout the years (maybe he does, since he is so close to each idea).

Craig has had his share of experiences of all kinds, which are addressed in the text, and have made his work stronger and more defined, giving him the confidence to believe in his work. Always striving for a concept-driven illustration, on occasion disappointed by what the client has selected, he’s kept his ideas and has been able to repurpose some of them with a new outcome. On other occasions he has used misfortune as a chance to be creative on his own time, which is how Critter and squarepig.tv came into existence.

In essence The Illustrated Voice, shows us the creative process of one imaginative mind, that gathers information from experience, research, conversations and many other sources and is able to transform thousands of images into simple, bold and beautifully executed visuals.

This book contains a bounty of ideas, it is a source of inspiration, and a good example that can help others learn to read between the lines and find a new way of exploring a message, and a window into an edgier way of expressing it. It will taunt you and question you, and it just might give you a little push towards the unknown.

Book Information
The Illustrated Voice by Craig Fraizer
Harper Design International
Hardcover (paper over board edition): 160 pages
ISBN: 1932026088
Maintained through our ADV @ UnderConsideration Program
PUBLISHED ON Feb.27.2004 BY bryony
Mr. Khan’s comment is:

Craig Frazier is certainly a talented illustrator.

However I lost some respect for him, and many others, after his "America: Open for Business" illustration.

The one which turned the American Flag into a shopping bag to promote shopping as the solution to overcoming 9/11 shoch and grief.


I don't know if this illustration and poster was used outside of San Francisco. I hope not.

But it was an unfortunate piece, and makes me wonder how much thought Craig puts into his work.

On Feb.27.2004 at 04:30 PM
Armin’s comment is:

Khan, there was a whole discussion regarding that poster a long time ago. It was interesting.

It's hard to judge somebody's work by one piece alone though. While that may have not been his best, his overall body of work is pretty impressive and imaginative in my opinion.

On Feb.27.2004 at 04:46 PM
Mr. Khan’s comment is:

Thank you for linking to that excellent discussion.

It gives me some insight into Craig's thoughts and rational. Especially his thoughts on small business

I still disagree with the message and think that something more inspiring and unifying could have been created, especially for that time and for an audience as Leftist as San Francisco.

But this about Craig, and not my politics. And I will agree that his work is very impressive and imaginative.

On Feb.27.2004 at 05:01 PM
Hrant’s comment is:

Hey, at least he's sincere. About 2/3-rds of the US economy (so I'd say at least 50% of the US psyche) is consumer spending. And Kalman was right.


On Feb.27.2004 at 05:16 PM
Kevin Lo’s comment is:

Sorry if I seem naive here (and for drifting off topic), but what was Kalman right about Hrant?

On Feb.29.2004 at 01:41 PM
Hrant’s comment is:

"Consumer culture is an oxymoron."


On Feb.29.2004 at 05:07 PM
Kevin Lo’s comment is:

thanks. agreed.

On Mar.01.2004 at 04:46 AM
Feluxe Socksmell’s comment is:

Naked Capitolism is never pretty.

Craig's sketches, however, are. What a talent. Its too bad I never see that book (by Graphis not Harper Intl) on the book shelf. Maybe it gets snatched up immeditely but my fear is that Graphis does a terrible job promoting it.

On Mar.03.2004 at 09:24 AM
JonSel’s comment is:

Graphis does a terrible job promoting it.

Not to digress to much, but Graphis books are increasingly hard to find. Did they lose their distribution through B&N and Borders? It seems they only exist at Rizzoli's on W. 57th.

Back on thread, I've always loved Craig's work and hope to work with him someday. And Felix, if I can find that book in North Jersey, I'll let you know.

On Mar.03.2004 at 11:30 AM