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    Here are my sneak peeks of my Mpls Artcrank 2013 poster "Femifish". The rest of the sneak peaks are up on Artcrank's Flickr. Hope to see you at the show! 


    I'm super excited to have been selected as an artist for ARTCRANK MPLS 2013 with the rest of these amazing talents.

    Aaron Purmort
    Adam Hoganson
    Adam Turman
    Aesthetic Apparatus
    Aimee Gauthier
    Allan Peters
    Amy Barthel
    Amy Jo
    Andy Wood
    Anne Ulku
    Antonia Maistrova
    Big Table Studio
    Brian Geihl
    Clinton Lugert
    Daniel Jenstad
    Dan Souligny
    David Schwen
    David Paul Seymour
    Eric Drommerhausen
    Erik Hamline
    Erik T. Johnson
    Greg Brose
    Hannah Johnson
    Ian Davies
    Jason Craig
    Jesse Lindhorst
    Jordan A. Smith
    Kyle Coughlin
    Liz Adamsick
    Lonny Unitas
    Michael Lizama
    Milton Un
    Natalie Wynings
    Nate Johannes
    Phil Jones
    Rachel Roddy
    Ross Bruggink
    Ryan Seitz
    Sam Michaels
    Sarah Schiesser
    Shannon Pettini
    Studio On Fire
    Todd Zerger

    Here's a taste of what you can expect:


    The University of Minnesota and Partners in Prevention have just launched first-ever "Ask About Aspirin" heart attack & stroke prevention campaign. The concept is a simple comparison highlighting the ease of taking care of your heart versus the struggle of having the consequences of not.

    At Olson, I worked with Creative Director Matt Burgess and copy writer Monique Thomas on the concept and execution. Photos by my talented friend Matt Blum. Here are a few of the pieces:






    The Star Wars Holiday Special Leia posters are done printing! Here are some shots of the process. 

    As you can see Mr. Erik Hamline from Steady Print Shop Co. did a fabulous job as always.

    The Princess Leia posters will be for sale at the event and because we love spreading the holiday cheer last year's poster will be thrown in for free with every purchase!  

    Here are the event details: 

    Star Wars Holiday Special 

    Thursday, December 8th (RSVP on Facebook)

    Bryant Lake Bowl
    810 W Lake Street
    Minneapolis, MN 55408

    5:00pm - Tickets available with unwrapped Toy for a Tot.
    7:00pm - Screening 1
    10:00pm - Screening 2

    PS - Don't bring your children thinking they will enjoy this...

  • FINDING BALANCE - Joseph Arthur

    Sometimes designing is like being lost in the woods. 

    When I was going to art school I was a big believer that every single piece of work should have a well thought out theme. I thought every element should all tie back to a greater plot or theme or reference and there could be no "happy accident". This was foolish of me because then all art became cereberal instead of emotional and expressionistic. As I've evolved as an artist I've realized that while I do often still start with cereberal intentions I have to eventually let go and put myself in to my work. Putting yourself into a piece of work also sets you up for more rejection. Luckily for me, in this very personal project, both sides of my creation were well-received. Ultimately the roadblock in my mind was my own perfectionist attitude. I hope you enjoy this tour of watching me bang my head against the wall. 

    My favorite musician, by a landslide, is Joseph Arthur. As you can tell by my listening habits, I may have a problem. 

    And that's not even including the other 563 times I've listened to him play with the Lonely Astronauts. So when he came to town I bought several tickets for my friends and got excited about the show. Not too long later I realized that my friend Todd O'Dowd worked there. I had designed a poster for Solid Gold & White Light Riot to play there years ago so I got in touch with Todd and gave it a shot. He, being the awesome guy that he is, obliged. 

    Once it was approved I was ecstatic and got to work immediately. Thankfully the idea came to me right away. The execution of that idea however did not. 

    Many of Arthur's songs have religious themes like a Father/Son relationship, redemption and often he sings of the sun itself. This story also has another strong theme - balance. 

    Any artist has to wrestle with the ability to find balance in their lives between the mania of creation and the depression of failure. Few know this battle as well as Arthur. These things all lead me to the myth of Icarus & Daedalus.

    Not only does Icarus appear somewhat angel-like thanks to his wings, but also the whole story is loaded with similar themes that Arthur continually explores. In the story the King fears the Minotaur and commissions the brilliant Daedalus to construct a labyrinth to contain him. He places the beast on an island in the center of the construct. For fear of the secret of the labyrinth getting out, he banishes Daedalus and his son Icarus there as well. 

    Most of us know the rest of the story about Icarus flying too close to the sun, melting his wings of wax and falling in to the sea, but few remember that in spite of great loss, Daedalus made it home. He then went into hiding, denied the king and dedicated his life to the gods. 

    Years later Daedalus was discovered because he was the only one able to solve a small puzzle. His vanity of his own powerful mind made him known to the King once again. 

    You'll see our friend the Minotaur makes a cameo on this poster as the center label of a vinyl record which has grooves like a labyrinth. 

    So in the interst of full disclosure I'll publish my rather embarassing and meandering path to the final product. First, I looked for inspiration and ended up spending many hours looking at just about every single picture of Icarus that is on the internet. 

    A lot of these are really awesome, especially that abstraction in the top-middle. I hadn't settled on a style but because Arthur's music has evolved to be quite abstract over the years, and his own art is very wild I thought I'd try something along those lines.  This was another hurdle I put in my own way. It's one of the few styles I've not explored much. In fact, I once designed a rather stark/abstract poster for Solid GoldSo It Goes and MC/VL that no one else liked but me. 

    Maybe it's hard to see, but the original spirit of this poster reemerged during this creation process by way of the color palette. 

    So after much asset gathering I set off on my confusing and frustrating journey. Joseph Arthur's used to play with The Lonely Astronauts and it was also the name of one of their songs. I got hung up on trying to marry my concept with reality too literally and started experimenting with the idea of Icarus as an astronaut. 

    I secretly still like this idea, and will probably revisit it. It reminds me of all sorts of fantastic old sci-fi stories and even the 80's SilverHawks cartoon.

    I then tried the more abstract style. Once I'd hit a wall of despair I talked the poster over with the fantastic surrealist artist Alison Lindburg. You can see some of her work at

    She helped me come up with this idea of putting a labyrinth on the turntable. Brilliant! With the help of some art from CSA Images (Some of which are free if you print on French Paper) I then took a nice detour to crazy-town. I was also all caught up in this idea that I wanted the water to be on top, and the sun on the bottom so that it looked like at first he was flying, but was actually falling. That idea didn't survive.

    At this point I was using a lot art as placeholder while Alison Lindburg illustrated the wings for me. She at one point wisely predicted that I'd end up using just a feather. 

    Here is the beautiful wing that Alison illustrated for the poster.

    But she was right, the wing was killing me. I was ready to abandon this entire style. Most of the time I create my designs/illustrations in one session. One sustained burst of inspiration. This time, I had failed for a second time and so I walked away. This was scary. As the creative process would have it, the poster finally came together in my mind while riding the bus and thinking of everything except this project. I quickly sketched out a few layouts that were using only a feather. 

    That was it. I had broken through the self-imposed barriers in my mind and now it was just time to execute it. I quickly threw together some versions.

    It started to come together.

    I found if I strayed too far from water being blue and the sun being yellow that the Icarus theme would be completely lost. French Paper make a great blue paper called Poptone Berrylicious that I had used for the Melismatics jellyfish poster for the MN State Lottery a while back. I only realized as I started writing this post that some of the colors felt a little like that Solid Gold & MC/VL poster. 

    Once I found the layout I fell in love with a few things. First, the shape that is echoed in the feather and the arm of the turntable. (I'll concede that was completely a "Happy Accident"). Second, that I could use the feather to throw off the symmetry and highlight some text with it's tip.

    I sent off the proof and thankfully everyone involved liked it. So then, it was time to print. I contacted the press-ninja, Erik Hamline of Steady Print Shop. He did a fantastic job as always. 

    And here's the finished product! 

    Thanks to this project I was priviledged enough to meet Joseph Arthur and his awesome manager to discuss this project, religion, film, and working together again. He signed a poster and even drew Icarus on it for me. Overall what I took away from it was the beauty of one artist inspiring another and that creation becoming an inspiration in return. As a team we decided to give away a poster with every merch purchase at the show. It felt right to build good will for the musican to the fans, the venue to the locals and from me to all parties. The show was amazing and the night was perfect. Whew.

    Thanks for wading through this embarassing, but enlightening process with me. I hope it's become clear that sometime perseverance is the best trait an artist can have. 

    The remaninder of the 50 limited edition posters are now available for sale at THEY's Etsy Store.

  • BLACK CINEMA CAFE - Film Festival Poster

    Fifth Third Bank sponsored Black Cinema Cafe and Olson had me design the posters for the festival. The Wright Museum has a nice description of what BCC is all about: 

    The Black Cinema Café is a national film screening and discussion series showcasing films written, produced or directed by persons of or that offer fresh perspectives and non stereotypical portrayal of the culture or lifestyles of people from African descent. 

    The BCC brand is an original and unique concept as it features screenings of independent and studio films in a café or lounge like environment and provides an alternative to the typical movie going experience. Each event features a film screening, a networking component and a Q&A.

    Black Cinema Café’s have been held in various venues and in the following markets: New York, NY, Brooklyn, NY, Washington, DC, Chicago, Atlanta, Detroit, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Oakland, Cleveland, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Houston and Newark, NJ.

    The team at Olson paved the way for this project to be an Art Director's dream. I explored a wide variety of art from the culture and put together a large mood board.

    And from there I created this color palette:

    One of the challenges of this project is that we had no idea which movie, genre or even subject matter they would choose to screen at the event. This was both confusing & liberating. On one hand we only had to tackle the culture in general without a specific feel (since the festival is a seperate brand from the film itself anyway). On the other hand, the whole culture is an intimdatingly large target.

    This didn't slow us down one bit. Soon the excellent illustrator/designer Lori Benoy & I were cranking out many concepts. Here's a few of them:

    This was going back to an old wood cut style and treating the American flag in rather dramatic ways. 

    You'll see Lori's concepts are vintage-jazz inspired and great. Any one of these would have been a wonderful choice. 

    This one was intended to have local photos for each market. 

    After presenting all these concepts, Fifth Third Bank's African American cultural consultant told us, "You've got soul.". That still makes me smile. They chose the following Afro/Africa - Marrionette design. Here are some shots of the creation process:

    After going through so many vintage posters from the African American culture I settled on an earthy tone. Here I'm using some French Paper swatches as my color guides. The typeface Nougat Extra Black has these great diagonal slabs on it. I had used it for the Chilibean branding & it ended up leading me down the thought of tilting everything like vintage jazz posters. Honestly, not that unlike my work on the short film series Thicker Than Blood/Turnipseed. Ultimtaely I used one of my favorite typefaces, Lubalin Graph and treated it in a similar way.

    Expiramenting with trying to integrate africa into the illustration while maintaing the marrionette strings & some visual interest. The hard part here is not letting it get too cheesy. 

    Thinking about how "less is more" I also tried this alternative approach.

    I liked it. It almost stuck around but I thought the imagery was too obvious. Eventually I fell in love with this marionette idea - I feel as though it has some great ties to the sentiment of the culture. 

    Below are some mockups we presented to the client:

    We thought we may do a web portal

    At first we thought we might do a more lemon-colored gold. Here the invite concept is starting to come together.

    And here are some shots of the final products which were screen printed and letterpressed - quite the accomplishment for a bank client. Prepress & production was done by the wonderful Erin Julin. She did a fantastic job - they turned out better than anticipated. 


    Every year a few of us crazies in Minneapolis donate our time to the Minnesota Film & TV Board to benefit Toys for Tots. THEY & I have been delighted to be a part of if for three years now.

    Year one was "Treebacca". Year two was "R2 The Snow Droid".

    This year we thought we'd ask our friends & fans what they'd like to see and we put it up to a poll on our Facebook page. Everyone added their own idea so we ended up with a lot of options that all had 1 vote. Ultimately I went with my gut, which was very guided by Joey Hall & the event master from the film board himself, Chris Grap. Princess Leia needed some help with her Rebel Wreath and this is a quick tour of the creation process.

    First, I needed some reference and inspiration. Originally I thought I'd do the poster in complete profile.

    But it just wasn't happening. After a whole lot of archeology I found a torn up vintage oversize Star Wars comic book & this excellent image.

    And that was it. First I thought I'd try it without the hood so we could see the classic buns.

    It was already getting fun but the poster didn't have any visual weight to it yet. I revisited the hood but wasn't sure how to handle it. I found Nefer-Ra's Deviant Art page, blatently stole the hood and decided to try it on. I also hunted down a wreath which you'll see is actually a series of cupcakes. It worked because it wasn't so photographic that it was a halftone mess and it wasn't so patterned that it looked like flat clip art. 

    Now I started to think about color. In previous years I strayed away from traditional Christmas colors but this year I decided to embrace it. I knew I wanted to print on French Paper as I nearly always do and so I went searching for paper colors and decided on something really wild. White. 100lb Pop-Tone "Sweet Tooth" to be exact. Once I added this flood of red, and dropped in the classic Star Wars logo I started getting excited enough to show Chris a sneak preview.

    Ultimately that logo didn't work, but it sent me down the right path - vintage Star Wars book cover. The border ties it all together and brings back memories.

    Now it was time to start getting into the details. I didn't like how the ribbon came out and hadn't added the second wreath yet 

    Here's the final, which I can't wait to print!

    I added a slight distressed texture to the red so that when printing it's not too heavy, causing the paper to curl. Learned that from the Dawning poster. 

    The event is December 8th at the Bryant-Lake Bowl. I'll have hand silk screened prints there limited to an edition of 100. I hope you can make it. RSVP on the Facebook Event Page.


    - Clinton Lugert of THEY design


    I was fortunate to have the opportunity to design & print a poster for my favorite musician - Joseph Arthur. I listen to him alarmingly often and know his work well. 

    Many of Arthur's songs have religious themes like a Father/Son relationship, redemption and often he sings of the sun itself. This story also has another strong theme - balance. 

    Any artist has to wrestle with the ability to find balance in their lives between the mania of creation and the depression of failure. Few know this battle as well as Arthur. These things all lead me to the myth of Icarus & Daedalus.

    Not only does Icarus appear somewhat angel-like thanks to his wings, but also the whole story is loaded with similar themes that Arthur continually explores. In the story the King fears the Minotaur and commissions the brilliant Daedalus to construct a labyrinth to contain him. He places the beast on an island in the center of the construct. For fear of the secret of the labyrinth getting out, he banishes Daedalus and his son Icarus there as well. 

    Most of us know the rest of the story about Icarus flying too close to the sun, melting his wings of wax and falling in to the sea, but few remember that in spite of great loss, Daedalus made it home. He then went into hiding, denied the king and dedicated his life to the gods. 

    Years later Daedalus was discovered because he was the only one able to solve a small puzzle. His vanity of his own powerful mind made him known to the King once again. 

    You'll see our friend the Minotaur makes an appearance on this poster as the center label of a vinyl record which has grooves like a labyrinth.

    I hope you like it. It was a great challenge to design for another artist and material that I love.

    Poster is up for sale at the THEY Etsy Store.

    Feather illustration by Alison Lindburg. Other illustrations courtesy of CSA Images.


    The great folks at The Pencil Project & I have been working on this trailer for the Twin Cities Film Fest & are proud to present it finished and ready for showtime! Music by Joel Dodson. 

  • FIFTH THIRD BANK - We Run On Ideas

    Fifth Third Bank was changing marketing directors and campaigns. Olson had me art direct & design this one-of-a-kind book for their brass to show them that we had their back. Fifth Third are seeking innovation and progress. In a quest like that, you're never quite finished so the style became that of a sketch - the first notion of a concept. The book is hand Japanese side stitched. Mark Anderson wrote the copy and Manthei Design letterpressed the cover.

  • THE GATEKEEPER - Key Art Walkthrough

    Here it is, the final key art for Isaac Meisenheimer's The GateKeeper starring Ron Perlman. Illustration by Jeremy Packer [ZombiYeti] Art Direction & coloring by Clinton Lugert.

    Here's a quick tour of how we landed on this final piece. If you'd like to see THEY's works in progress you can see what we're up to by following us on

    First of all, we were very excited to work on this project and not just because of the names attached - the script is awesome fun. Luckily for us our very talented, long-time friend Nathaniel Levisay is composing the music for this film and he recommended us to the director, Isaac Meisenheimer. 

    The goal of the The GateKeeper is to create a feel-good zombie movie that has the 80's genre-film mentality. This hooked us right away as we are big fans of Goonies, Monster Squad and the like. 

    Since the film is still seeking funding and other partners this is more of a teaser poster than anything - key art to set the mood. Our first draft was a lot more simple but you'll see the concept and color scheme were already set. 

    The idea was simple and sound. However, since the gothic style has been embraced by many modern gangs it could read the wrong way. The trucker hat put it over to the top and we decided to change up illustration styles as well.

    Then we found the work of the remarkably talented Jeremy Packer [aka ZombieYeti]. Thankfully he was cut from the same cloth and immediately started sketching. Here are a couple of the thoughts he sent our way. 

    As you can see, he's amazing. The hat is gone, and his idea of bringing a keyhole into the forehead was brilliant. We gave some direction and had another round. 

    He nailed it. The next round was the ink.

    Then we played with the type again.

    We all loved it but Isaac made the right decision and pushed us towards a more classic Goonie's treatment.

    And then the color.

    Due to scheduling conflicts Clinton Lugert dusted off his old comic book skills and finished up the last couple rounds of color. 

    And the final round is up top. Up next we'll be preparing various forms of colaterol for the film. We hope you'll keep tabs on The GateKeeper as it progresses by following @Meisenslimer on Twitter or subscribing to their blog

    And if you're ever in a graveyard and you see Ron Perlman. Run. 

  • SNOWBLIND - Key Art

    We've just finished our first stab at the key art for Gregg Holtgrewe's Snowblind. The first style is based on various children's book illustrations in hopes that it unlocks the elemental fear of monsters in all of us.

    This second style follows a bold and violent path - which is what the producers are looking for on this film which is being pitched for international distribution as well as to the SyFy Channel. We're trying hard to walk the line between cliche and abstraction. Hopefully we found a balance.

  • THE GATEKEEPER - Final Inks

    We're excited to have been working with the incredible Jeremy Packer for the last couple of weeks on the key art for Isaac Meisenheimer's The Gatekeeper starring Ron Perlman. Shown here are the final inks. Now we're moving on to color. The scheme will be rather pop-80's to accentuate the classic genre and lightheartedness of the film.


    Matt Osterman lovingly refers to his Phasma Ex Machina/Ghost From The Machine as "The little movie that could" and this weekend it will. Not only have they already attained distribution (no small feat for a true inde) but this Friday as St. Anthony Main theaters in Minneapolis the film has it's theatrical premiere and first run!

    Opening night is Friday July 15th at 7pm. There's a Q&A and an after party at Pracna. The film then runs at the theater until July 21st.  Here are the details & a place to buy tickets online.

    Our limited edition posters will be for sale at the merch table. Hope to see you at the after party!


    After many years and much work we're proud to announce that Gregg Holtgrewe's DAWNING has been released on Video-On-Demand, DVD and BluRay! (Soon it will be available to stream online as well). 

    Many members of THEY were heavily involved in this film.

    • Clinton Lugert was an Associate Producer, shot second camera and designed the key art, title credits, press kit, t-shirts, disc packaging & menus, website, etc...
    • Co-Writer: Matthew Wilkins
    • Composer: Nathaniel Levisay
    • Title Credits Animation: Zechariah Thormodsgaard of Gaardhouse
    • Post Production Coordinator: Chris Grap
    • Disc Authoring: Jeff Strobl

    It's been a long journey with a great team and the team is excited to already excited to be moving on to the next project. We hope you'll check out the film and let us know what you think!

    Here's the trailer:


    The AIGA has chosen our design for Matt Osterman's Phasma Ex Machina (Now known as Ghost From The Machine) as a winner in the 2011 Design Show! I'm honored to be held up with such fine company. 

    Ghost From The Machine explores the grey area between life and death and how we reconcile these losses. After the death of his parents, Cody plunges himself into the fringe science of the supernatural and invents a machine he intends to be a conduit between the other side. He becomes increasingly preoccupied with this goal and begins ignoring his responsibilities to work, life and his younger brother. But the real problems come when it works. This story of holding on to grief and the consequences of obsession was fertile ground for a poster concept. After many ideas I decided to focus on the bondage of his creation - the machine - and loneliness of the aftermath.


    For the execution I tested my wire-theory on the mannequin at THEY's studio & then promptly tangled Sasha Andreev up in phosphorescent wire. We shot with the wonderful photographer Clark Patrick at his studio. Everyone was a great sport about the whole thing as we directed Sasha to strike poses ranging from God and Adam in Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel to a marionette. Finally the mood we wanted was found in the solitary pose on the poster today. 

    Originally the visual treatment was to be the opposite of the photos. In this style the illuminated wires are inverted, so they seem to radiate blackness in an ethereal world. 

    But the director was wise to focus on the dark nature of the story and request the opposite.

    Here are several early proofs:

    Jon Maichel Thomas from Studio Collective animated the title credits and co-produced the film. He also oversaw this project from their end and was excellent to work with. Jon continually pushed me and my design to be cleaner, stronger and tighter insuring that the concept was king. In the final round we all had a tough time deciding between the final and this alternative:


    I hand silk screen printed 100 posters using our then-freshly-built screen printing vacuum table which was constructed by my good friend, the ever creative and kind, Lucas Shank of Lucas Brand Co. They are printed with silver metallic ink on thick metallic black paper. Because of the shiny combo you can lose the image entirely in a glare - we love this and think it adds a necessary mystical feeling to the print. 

    I loved being involved with Phasma Ex Machina & working with the team. It's one of my favorite pieces I've created and are honored to have been selected as a winner in the AIGA Design Contest. If you'd like to see these in person as well as the tremendous work from the show the exhibit of the contest will be up at Chris Sheehan's Shelter Studio May 9th & 10th, 9:00am - 5pm at 2112 Broadway St NE # 150 Minneapolis, MN 55413 

    And as always, the posters are up for sale on THEY'S POSTER STORE. Here's the final:

    And here's the big metal cube to celebrate:

    - Clinton Lugert of THEY design


    Since 2008 We have been intimately involved with Gregg Holtgrewe's "DAWNING". We came on board to shoot 2nd camera and since then we've been fortunate enough to not only become close friends with the cast and crew but also bring many of THEY into the fold.

    Matt Wilkins co-wrote, Chris Grap co-produced, Nathaniel Levisay scored, Zechariah Thormodsgaard of Gaardhouse animated the title credits and Clinton Lugert designed the posters as well as the rest of the media kit. We're proud to be credited as associate producers of the film. 

    The team has taken the film to over 19 film festivals, racking up a laundry list of great reviews, made it on to a few top-ten lists and taken home 4 awards including Best Picture. 

    After all this, we have some great news. Thanks to Breaking Glass Pictures "DAWNING" has joined the ranks of the small selection of MN films that have gotten distribution! Soon the film we be availble from RedBox to Video On Demand to Netflix and everywhere in between. We're currently finishing up the DVD package design.

    One of the most amazing parts of this deal is that the promotional artwork we've created for the film is going to market unchanged. Specializing in design & animation for feature films is our greatest passion and we're always proud when our work can help an inde film get noticed. However, once the distribution deal is signed the initial designs rarely (never) make it through the big machine and out to the audience without drastic changes. Something as bold as the "DAWNING" designs are just asking to be watered down - but this one time it won't be and for that we are both thankful and proud.

    The October Country had this to say:

    Color me intrigued as hopefully you are as well dear readers. If not, then feast your eyes upon these absolutely stunning posters for the film, which I'll admit are not only the most beautiful works of advertisement I have seen in ages, but are also what initially got me to sit up and pay attention in the first place. As far as successful marketing tools are concerned, you knocked this one outta the park guys, bravo.

    To learn more about the film and stay informed check out We'll be posting about the release and any other big news.