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I realize the word ‘caricature’ has negative connotations for a lot of people, visions of ballooning noses, explosive eyebrows or quirky poses, like my drawing of Ed Rendell, left, for the Harrisburg Patriot-News when Rendell was elected governor of Pennsylvania. But I’ve been drawing caricatures for my business clients for years that aren’t that way at all, and I’m never sure what to call them. I usually say they are ‘Flattering Caricatures’ because, I tell my clients, whereas the camera puts 10 pounds on, I can draw 10 pounds off. And give guys more hair too.
The goal of a business caricature is to present the human-ness of my clients’ businesses – reveal the fact that there are real people behind the logo and brand, something their customers may nominally acknowledge, but gloss over in everyday business transactions. Wouldn’t photos do the same thing? Certainly, to some extent. I’ll point out, though, that most media now is super-saturated with photography, while hand-drawn illustration distinguishes itself instantly to the human eye.
What do my clients use their caricatures for? Greeting cards, Facebook icons, blogs, promotional material, to name a few. A few examples:
Holiday cards. Many are used for their company’s holiday greeting card to their clients and associates; often business owners see the holidays as a time when they can be a little more relaxed and humorous than during regular business. They also like to send more personal messages to their customers – thanking them for their business at Thanksgiving, for instance, or wishing them joy and success at Christmas/Hanukkah or the New Year.
When it’s a small company I’m often asked to draw the entire staff for a card – it helps clients know more faces in the office than maybe just the one or two with whom they have the most contact. I also sneak the company logo into the drawings when requested.
And there have been a few requests for large staff cards as well.
Blogs. Some clients use their caricature as a friendly persona through which they give industry advice in their blogs. One says, it helps her lighten up her writing so it’s more of a comfy conversation with her readers.
Promotions. Caricatures of the staff were used by one client on this moving card, showing their new office space, and a law firm had me draw their partners, below, as if they were done by a courtroom artist, for a full page ad they ran in a law journal.
In part 2 of this post I’ll explain what I request of clients who want caricatures done, and the process we go through to get the look and message that’s best suited for their product.
(If you’re reading this post on a third-party platform and want to read Part 2 when it’s published, I recommend you follow my blog on my site at http://www.achillesportfolio.com.)