This month also marks the release of an action figure of Raymond Scott, which Prewitt did the design work for; for those not aware, Raymond Scott was the guy who composed a lot of the music that ended up in Looney Tunes cartoons and was also this totally crazy electronics music inventor and pioneer. Here's more information about him that I wrote, for those who care.
One of the more interesting aspects of Prewitt's design is how it has the same feeling as his work on Sofboy and other stuff, this kind of determined line that's still scratchy and a little ugly, but is smooth and clean like conventional advertising. He still finds places to make it interesting and so, it isn't cold or harsh. He's one of the few graphic designers around that isn't sort of making advertising art that's about advertising.
There's a lot of time spent on making it aesthetically pleasing but as much time's spent on making it sort of making it look uneven or a little drunk or something: Scott's angular proportions, puffy lettering of varying size, etc. Also, so much "cool" design work falls back on the obviously incredible work of the 50s and early 60s but here it makes total sense as it's Raymond Scott's era. It's when he was making most of his music and it's the only era that was crazily open-minded and corporate-minded enough to see Scott's electronic compositions as making sense of commercial background music. This odd mix of the avant-garde and bottom-line economics.
Prewitt's design work comes especially illuminating when compared to another Chicago-based comics dude/graphic designer, Chris Ware. Ware's work is formally obsessive and yeah, that's the point and all, but it's something that both makes his work immediately identifiable and frankly, not that interesting over time.
Other than the sheer craft, there's not a lot of joy or exuberance in Ware's work and worse, even when he's aping ragtime-era record sleeves, there's this odd level of irony or way of putting it all in quotes. Prewitt's work's steeped in the past too, but he seems less interested in up-ending America's ugly past--the kind of dumb Zinn-thought most of us get over by college--through design and irony, than infecting some joy and a touch of chaos into our lives.
The Scott design also reminds me of The Sea and Cake's video of their cover of David Bowie's "Sound & Vision":
Prewitt's done some action figure design work before as seen below. There's the toy of another electronics innovator Robert Moog (inventor of the moog synthesizer, obviously), a particularly hilarious one of the Kauffman brothers from Adaptation, and some dolls of Prewitt's early band, The Coctails: