Modernista! Boston

The “Pureburn” logo after it had become the Roxio logo. I didn’t do the orange bit.

Back in December of 1999 I started doing a lot of work for Modernista in Boston. Gary Koepke and I had been office neighbors at Wieden + Kennedy back in the day, and when he started his agency with Partner Lance Jensen he let me help out on a few campaigns.

I designed this mark as a little tag for Roxio’s ad campaign. It was meant to call attention to an initiative (started by Roxio) called “pureburn”—a plea to abstain from burning illegal copies of CDs. This all happened before proper DRM, and way before the end of DRM. The point was, I think, to keep Roxio from getting seen as a tool for digital pirates. So quaint.

A few months later, Roxio wanted a new logo. I told Gary that they already had a new logo. Gary agreed, he told them, and they agreed. And then they got somebody else to bolt some goofy type to my beautiful burning disc.

For the longest time this was my most visible logo design. Roxio hung on to it for a long time, and I was always happy to see it pop up. At one point there was talk that Apple would license Roxio’s Toast software as the standard CD burning utility for the Mac. The burning disc would’ve been on every Mac desktop for a few years. I was so excited by the mere possibility! Instead they came out with iTunes. Eh …

And as always, the most fun things about logo design are the sketches. In most other circumstances, thumbnails lie, but for logos they are supremely useful. At the time, I was also into taking text about a subject, cutting it up and reassembling it into little slogans. I wanted so much to coin the tagline for the brand. I can’t believe “unprotected creations cry: digital action now!” didn’t win the day!  


As part of the Roxio bonus round I go to art direct a photoshoot with photographer Jeff Minton. I had a tendency to over-stage things, which drains the potential for happy accidents. Which I said don’t exist, but I meant that in the context of graphic design. On photoshoots it happens all the time. Also, see that green rug with the orange flowers in both ads? I love that rug. It’s been years, and I still want that rug.


Sadly, the ads never ran. Note the SOUNDBLAST posters in both versions.
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