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Welcome to excites, the portfolio
of graphic designer and illustrator
Simon C Page.
Fortune Magazine - Carbon Capture Illo
A fun commission and with this assignment I thought I would share my sketches, concepts and show some of the process that was involved.


Project Brief

As with most projects the art director gives me selections of my work that fits what he is looking for along with the article to read. I was also given a PDF of the initial layout which I don't always get - but it all helps.

  • Title: Adjusting the Global Thermometer

  • Description: Essentially, a big part of it is about the development of Carbon Capture Machines that will collect (“suck up”) and convert CO2 into useful bio fuel among other things, creating a ‘sustainable’, self-contained energy system. One key figure in the story called it “managing nature”. The main goal of all of this is to stop global warming.

  • Keywords: Carbon, Convergence, Sucking, Speed, Convert, Temperature, Thermometer, Global Warming (I often make a list of keywords like this and try to match up as many as possible in my illustrations).

Stage 1 - Initial Sketches

As with all assignments it is an iterative process and usually I will do 3 - 4 rounds of work, after some initial sketch work, until I reach the final illustration(s).

With the first stage I establish some basic digital sketches based off of previous work of mine that the art director liked which he felt fits this article. Sometimes I also get some images of things that definitely shouldn't be included and these often help save time too.

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Stage 2 - Exploration Sketches

Now we have established a foundation the next step is to expand on them and also start exploring the addition of colour and depth to the initial sketch work as well as looking any other new ideas that have come up.

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I personally like to add the illustration to the article and title (if available) as soon as I can and see how well it fits. Often the art directors will change the layout to fit the illustration but it's a nice way to start getting a feel for things. I particularly like the choice of typeface they went for here (Forza - Hoefler & Frere-Jones).

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Stage 3 - Focused Sketches

A few changes were made at this point as the previous round hadn't yet hit the mark. It's just as important during this iterative process to get elements wrong as it is right as this really helps to steer you in the correct path, particularly early on.

Changes at this stage included more of a tie in with temperature (blue to red ideally as a colour guide) and the piece needed to break out of the square area into the titles.

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Stage 4 - Final Illustrations

All this work led to the final set of iterations which were fairly close to the last round with just a few more tweaks. The colour for temperature would be more effective going from hot to cool in the centre and not random or circular as in the previous designs. The previous illustration also didn't feel imposing enough.

Here is the final set of artwork.

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