Re-Imagining Cinerama


When we moved to the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle in 2001, Cinerama immediately became our go-to theatre. The nostalgic 60’s architecture and charm, the massive screen, the curated collection of movie props behind glass in the lobby, the chocolate popcorn – and yes, even that logo … it had everything a designer/cinephile could want. From waiting in lines for Star Wars prequels (I wish I had those hours back) to seeing a film that sorta changed my life – it was our destination for the movies.

Fast forward 12 years – December of 2013 to be exact. Imagine my reaction when friend and Vulcan Marketing Director Josh Lackey asks us if we’d like to take part in their upcoming MAJOR technology and seating renovation that included … well, taking Cinerama’s giant 200′ x 30′ blank cream-colored brutalist exterior walls and covering them with art – art that undoubtedly would forever change the landscape of that busy intersection of 4th and Lenora in downtown Seattle.

I was shaking in my boots at the thought – Would that ruin the legacy of the theatre – and Cinerama as a whole? Would Seattleites hate looking at it? Worse yet, would moviegoers hate it? But before he could finish explaining the project brief, I was wholeheartedly in. Scared out of my mind – but in.

First, a little Cinerama 101 …

Above: Staring at the completed mural – and a tiny example of Cinerama’s iconic logo, signage, theatre architecture, one-sheets and various ephemera above. Way more eye candy here.

Below: A miniature of Cinerama’s widescreen (and groundbreaking) 3-projector technology, developed by Fred Waller in the late 1940’s and made commercially viable by Lowell Thomas in 1952. There are only 3 Cinerama theatres left in the world. Read more about Cinerama’s amazing history here.

Below: Construction began on the Martin Cinerama Theatre in 1963, a year after the World’s Fair came to town. It immediately became a cultural icon and destination for Seattle locals and tourists alike. However, thanks to urban sprawl and the rise of giant theatre multiplexes, ticket sales began to drop in the 1980’s and 90’s. Entrepreneur and philanthropist Paul Allen purchased the theatre in 1997 and began a series of renovations starting in 1999.

The blank canvas … all 200 x 30 square feet of it …

We presented Vulcan and the team at Cinerama with 3 sketched ideas. My design goals were simple – but maybe not so easy to pull off: I wanted to acknowledge and respect Cinerama as a whole – the historic technology, the beauty and charm of the era, the visual design of Cinerama (from the architectural significance of their theatres worldwide to the countless amazing ephemera produced over the last 50 years) and of course my beloved hometown of Seattle and the corner that this brutalist structure resides on – 4th and Lenora. But it was also important that we didn’t dwell too much on the past. After all, this was a multi-million dollar renovation that pointed towards the future. The key was to aim towards what was next, while paying homage to what has come before.

Another important thing for me was recapturing that excitement of going to the movies. I obviously wasn’t around in the early part of the century – or mid century for that matter – but I love the footage of movie premiers during those years … it was an event! You’d wear your best outfit, grab that special someone, buy something at the concession stand and thoroughly enjoy a night out. I realize much of that is gone now, but there was something about this opportunity. We could, at least in theory, bring some of that charm and excitement back to movie goers.

The team at Vulcan landed on one of our concepts: A visual scattering of cinema’s greatest genres: Action, adventure, horror, sci-fi, fantasy and more. All integrated and seamlessly woven into each other like a story – with one genre leading to the next.

The color scheme: I wanted to stay true to Cinerama’s classic red and blue. I added a lighter blue that matched the lower portion of the exterior’s tile walls – as well as a few darker hues of the original 2 colors.

One important design element that I wanted to work into the mural was the angular lines of the Cinerama logo. In our original sketch, we actually had a cropped version of the wordmark visible as well – with the art woven throughout and around the type. That aspect of the mural ended up getting cut at the last minute, but we kept the overall angles of the mark visible.

Approved sketch below. As with most of our concepts and sketches, the final art evolves quite a bit from it’s initial drawing – but the core composition remains.

Below: Architectural blueprints from Boora Architects, 1998. We used these drawings as a template for our work. One of my favorite things about the structure’s brick facade are the many small LED lights sporadically placed along each wall. I’ve always enjoyed that design element at night and was excited to see those lights create a subtle visual effect underneath our completed art. The result is a nice addition to the mural at night – further emphasizing the excitement and ‘event’ aspect of going to the movies.

Below: All cleaned up, refined and colored. The finished mural and the grand re-opening of the greatest theatre on Earth. Photography by the great Benjamin Benshneider. Scroll (way) down to see the completed vector art. Also available as a print.

Cinerama Theater

The reaction to the mural was overwhelming – and ended up setting the stage for an overall Cinerama identity overhaul. That translated into interior signage, employee T-shirts, business cards (Duplexed, de-bossed and features both red and blue edge printing on each card, printed by the pros at Evolution Press in Ballard), silk-screened posters and lots of upcoming merchandise …

A few notable articles surrounding the renovation can be found here, here and here.

Below: The making of the mural – featuring our partner Don Rockwell and his band of brothers (Don and his all-star crew were able to start and finish the mural in less than a month) … Btw, watch Sign Painters: The Movie. The film features a few members from Don’s team.

Below: The Don’s – Rockwell & Clark …

Below: The brainchild behind the entire mural project – Josh Lackey. This was (and is) a career highlight for me. I have Josh to thank for all of this.

Don Rockwell presented IC with this amazing framed shadow box of used paint brushes, painter-worn gloves and on-site reference art. We have it hanging proudly in the shop.

We also have a limited amount of prints commemorating the renovation from last winter. 100 were given out to Cinerama patrons and we have just under 40 left in our shop. Grab one here.

Shortly after the finished renovation in November, we were asked to design and illustrate the poster for Cinerama’s first mixed martial arts festival, aptly titled Fists & Fury. Screen-printed by the pros at Vahalla and available in the shop now.

2015 Studio Update

We’re guilty. Guilty of relying on the quick and easy method of using social networking to update folks on what we’re up to. You can see the cobwebs on this very site. I don’t think we’ve updated our work section in over a year. But I can feel it in the air … 2015 will be the return of the blog and long-form reading on the web. No? Well, we’re going to attempt that when we can. Personally, I miss it. I miss putting together (and reading) content that you could spend more than 2 seconds staring at. We’ll continue to Insta-tweet, but I don’t want to rely on that …

To be honest though, we have been busy. Very thankful for that. But, now is a perfect time to wipe the dust off the site and let you guys know what we’ve been up to for the last 9 months – and we also want to share some new things we’ve got cooking.

1. Thanks to the VSCO Artist Iniative, our first documentary film about artists (specifically what drives us and connects us all) begins production in July! We will be hitting 6 cities and interviewing numerous artists from many different industries and walks of life. We’re excited to tell this story … more on that here. We’ll be documenting and journaling the entire experience on our VSCO Grid.

2. Last fall, we had the opportunity of a lifetime come our way: To re-imagine the historic Cinerama Theatre in Downtown Seattle – our favorite movie destination since we landed here in 2001. We created 2 massive murals that completely altered the corner of 4th Avenue and Lenora Street. The mural art made its way into a re-brand of the theatre, inside and out. We are currently working on our short film, ‘Re-Imagining Cinerama’ that takes a closer look at Cinerama’s grand re-opening last November – and the art that went into it. We’ll also have prints of the mural (and more Cinerama art we created) for sale when we launch the film this summer. Photos above by Benjamin Benschnieder.

3. Stack And Scare! is coming to Shanghai in a massive way. The Shanghai Times Square Mall will feature a large Stack And Scare! exhibit next month. Giant sculptures, play areas, toys, posters, etc. Curated by APPortfolio. We are very excited for this – much more info coming soon.

4. Wine Meets Design. We are thrilled to be the inaugural designers partnered up with the talented winemaker Aaron Pott for Bare Bottle’s first release. We were first approached for this project a few years back from our friends Katie and Nathan at Eight Hour Day. We’ve had a blast working with them, Marta & Josh Harding – and Corey Miller, the man who dreamed this extremely cool idea up. A quick bio from their site –

Bare Bottle curates the pairing of winemakers + designers and provides them with a blank canvas through which to create. Each unique collaboration opens a window into our makers’ creative processes, their inspirations, and their worlds.

The dedication to craft, quality and presentation comes across so clear with Bare Bottle. If you love wine … and design … it’s worth every penny. I was floored when I saw the finished shipped piece …

5. Blast Off! After a 2-year hiatus, we are back with our good friends at Sasquatch! Music Festival. We had the pleasure of creating all of the Festival art, merchandise and even the Lineup Video this year. As per usual, the lineup is amazing (Kendrick!) and happens to be going on THIS weekend. We’ll have an in-depth look into all of the assets we created (including another collaboration with Ebbets Field Flannels and Theo Chocolate) soon …

6. The amazing opportunity to illustrate my first Children’s Book came up last September. We had gotten book offers in the past, but nothing quite felt right and some of the projects just plain fizzled out. When our friends at Crossway approached me about a Bible Story by Kevin DeYoung, it was a big decision. In the end, It was a project I wanted to personally see done right … and one that I wanted to see on the shelves myself. The Biggest Story was the most intense project I’ve worked on to date, and also the most fulfilling – in ways I could never have imagined. I cannot thank Josh Dennis and Crossway enough for allowing me to run with my vision and aesthetic for Kevin’s beautifully-written book. The Biggest Story is hardbound, 10 chapters and 132 pages. Available in August and up for pre-order on Amazon now. Below are a few sample spreads from the first two chapters.



7. Our Odd Galaxy wooden toy line with Uncle Goose is finally in full production mode and will be released in the next few months. There will be 3 products to start: Cosmo Kid, Moon Rover and Lunar Rocket, each sold separately – but of course much more fun when you own all 3. We have some fun OG launch (get it?) projects that will be released around the same time, including a window display at our favorite space store …

8. Two years ago, we bought a 10-acre ranch, turned a 50-year old barn into our studio and then made a toy out of it. OK, so that’s the short version. We’ll have a nice process post on this (way over-budget and panic-attack inducing) project on our new … well, see #10. For now, you can check out some great photos of the shop by Joshua Harding over at Bare Bottle.

9. Last, but not least, we are finally working on a new website. One that we will update. One that will work nicely on your phone thing you carry with you. We promise.

Cirque du Soleil: Kurios: Seattle

We recently had the pleasure of working with Live Nation and Cirque du Soleil to promote their new show, Kurios, for its debut at Seattle’s Marymoor Park on January 29th. The idea was to incorporate elements of the show into recognizable Seattle landmarks – The pipes of Gas Works Park bend to reveal one of the show’s main characters, while the circular focal point of the stage design makes up one of the city’s more recent waterfront additions, The Great Wheel.

We worked with the amazing Vahalla Studios to produce the screen prints, and you can currently see the posters plastered throughout Seattle’s Downtown. We also have a limited amount in our shop.

Special thanks to Brad Gentry and Live Nation. We can’t wait to see the show!


IC Farm League

Long before music and design (and almost everything else), there was … baseball.

In the eighties it was our hometown pride and joy – The Bend Bucks – who would later become the Portland Rockies. The Bucks were a single A farm club for the (now) Anaheim Angels. We’d love to hit the games with Dad and grab autographs from the retired major leaguers who were acting coaches for the team. $5 tickets and cheap popcorn didn’t hurt either.

Between Bucks games, the best movie ever created, our own little league games (where I told all my teammates that I was related to this guy), watching the Braves (lose) every waking moment on TBS and our unhealthy addiction to baseball cards (wish we still had this), there was time for little else. In 1989, our family moved to Sacramento and our love of the game got even stronger – thanks to the Giants and these guys across the bay. RIP Candlestick Park.

Fast forward 25 years later. After visiting the beautiful new Ebbets Field Flannels storefront in Seattle a few months back, we came up with a crazy idea to fuse a few of our old passions into one: Baseball, art and … people. People who are making really cool things in the world of baseball – and beyond. We even commissioned our Humble Beast bros in Portland to create some knickerbocker-era music to bring it all together. After coming up with a dream team list (and it was hard to stop at 6), we had our roster.

Enter: Invisible Creature Farm League.

We’ve partnered with Ebbets Field Flannels from Seattle, Mitchell Bat Co. from Nashville, Leather Head Sports from New Jersey, Oxford Pennant from New York, Curtis Clark Woodworks (or, Dad) from California and the uber-talented and undisputed aesthetic king of baseball himself, Jon Contino from New York to bring you IC inspired game gear for your closet, wall, shelf, desk … and even the field.

Have a look around our rookie season and click some stuff. A HUGE thanks to all of our collaborators for an amazing experience. We hope you enjoy …


The Great Discontent Interview

It’s an absolute honor to be interviewed by The Great Discontent. Cozy up with that brand new iPad from Grandma and have a read. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Spacehack Mural for Facebook

A few months ago we were approached by the kind folks at Facebook, asking if we’d be interested in creating a mural for their offices here in Seattle. It sounded like heaps of fun, so we signed up. They gave us a few keywords that represented the culture and atmosphere at Facebook. ‘Making The World More Connected’ and ‘Hacker’ got the most votes internally, so we dug into those ideas as our direction. Inspired by Ben Barry’s in-house postings, we based our piece on combining both thoughts – the idea of going beyond the ‘world’ being more connected intrigued us. Facebook existing outside of planet Earth seems like an attainable goal, so that’s where we landed. Once again we worked with our friend Don Rockwell on the application of the mural and it turned out pretty spectacular. See our quick and fun ‘Making Of’ film below:



2013 South Lake Union Block Party

Oh Summer, where art thou? It’s always a pleasure working with Josh Lackey and our friends at Vulcan Real Estate. Here is our poster art for the 2013 South Lake Union Block Party, happening Friday August 9th and benefitting The Center For Wooden Boats. Printed on 80 lb. Cougar Opaque stock. See you at the beer garden.


Building A Family

We were commissioned by our good friends at Toth Construction to produce and direct a short film documenting their rich heritage, high level of craftsmanship and the importance of building relationships. We shot this over a period of 2 weeks and used VSCO film emulation for the final edit. Music: “When I Am Old And Gray” by the Candlepark Stars.


Formubung 1.0

Our friends Klaus & Erik over at Toth Construction commissioned us to design a set of wooden architectural nesting blocks for their top tier clients this holiday season. Each hand-signed and numbered set includes a sliding laser-etched Russian birch wood lid and 19 individual sugar maple blocks. Special thanks to Jonathan Cowles over at Patronus Design for meticulously handling the production of each set. We also collaborated with Rachel Brandzel to create hand-made letterpressed cards to accompany each box. Oh, and do yourself a favor by perusing one of Toth’s latest works of art, designed by Jim Olson.


Here’s our cover for KidQuake!, album #4 from Seattle’s mightiest pre-K heroes : The Not-Its! See for yourself – these guys know how to start a serious circle pit.


Keatley Un-Workshop

Our friend, photographer John Keatley recently commissioned us to create a poster for his upcoming (and aptly titled) Un-Workshop. John is known for thinking outside the box with his high-concept and innovative portraits – so we thought it’d be fun to envision just what is going on inside his head on any given day. Unfortunately you’ll need to wait until Feb. 2nd and 3rd to actually find out (sign up here!), but in the meantime we can all just imagine it looks a little something like this. Limited edition, signed and numbered 5 color silk-screened posters printed on French Muscletone available at the workshop. Go!

The Loop

We created 3 posters for Morrissey’s upcoming (and now cancelled) tour stops here in the northwest. Seattle, Bellingham and Portland. Sold as a set and individually. In the shop now.

‘Keys To The City’ Mural

This past summer, our good friends at Vulcan Real Estate commissioned us to create one of the biggest jobs we’ve worked on to date – literally: A 100′ x 30′ mural that faces one of their new buildings in the ever-growing ‘city-within-a-city’, South Lake Union. Home to Amazon HQ, fine dining, upscale living & shopping, South Lake Union is full of life, culture and color. Our job was to reflect that with a vibrant and whimsical take on what ‘building a city’ could look like.

This project presented a fun challenge: Taking digital art, scaling it way up and painting it traditionally without compromising quality and its original style/intent. Finding the perfect partner to bridge the gap was important to us. To do that, we teamed up with artist (and mural pro) Don Rockwell and Foley Sign Company, which has served the Pacific Northwest sign industry for over 85 years. A huge thanks to Don, Mark Metcalf and the team at Foley for bringing our creation to life.

The process between IC and Foley was so fascinating to us, we had to document it. ‘Keys To The City: The Making Of A Mural‘ is embedded above for your viewing pleasure. Special thanks to Alex Goose and Jake Troth for supplying the instrumental version of their amazing song ‘Alexandra‘.

But c’mon … this is just the internet. See it in person on Thomas street between Boren and Terry. More specifically, here.

And of course, none of this would have happened without Josh Lackey and Vulcan. Thank you. We can’t wait for the next one.

Endless Summer: New T-Shirts

Back To School? Naw, forget that. It’s an endless summer. Soft inks printed on American Apparel Tri-Blend T’s. Ships on or before September 18th. Grab them all here.

Spirit Of ’77 printed on Tri-Indigo Blue.

Mummy Jr. printed on Tri-Black.

Leroy’s Boy printed on Athletic Gray.

Respect printed on Tri-Black.

Mummy Classic printed on Tri-Coffee.

Live To Draw printed on Tri-Black.

Mummy Jr. (Kids Sizes!) printed on Tri-Black.

South Lake Union Block Party

Josh Lackey and our friends at Vulcan commissioned us to create a poster for their 2012 South Lake Union Block Party happening on August 10th. Printed on uncoated stock and available in the shop now. See you there!

Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming

Here’s our new poster for the upcoming M83 show at The Paramount on April 26th. 3 colors, including dark metallic copper. In the shop April 27th.

Seattle Weekly Voracious

Seattle and food. Two of our favorite things. We were asked to create 2 covers for Seattle Weekly‘s annual Voracious issue. The issue highlights their top restaurant picks in the city, organized by neighborhood. Thanks to A.D. Jane Sherman for giving us plenty of creative freedom. Only on newsstands for a week! See it a tad bigger here.

Somebody That I Used To Know

Inspired by that great song that happens to be everywhere, here’s our new poster for the one-man band Gotye. Light blue, metallic silver and black. We’ll have these in the shop on April 11th.

2012 Sasquatch! Festival

Is it summer yet? Not quite, but with last night’s (bitchin’) lineup announcement for the 2012 Sasquatch! Festival – we’re getting close. The festival poster and identity remains at the top of the IC “Pet Project” heap each year, thanks to our client and friend, Adam Zacks. So if you see a haphazard vegetable oil-fueled modified recliner with scrapped airplane turbines and tree stumps for wheels carrying ‘Squatch and his renegade gang of animal misfits – you’re on the right road. See it bigger in our work section.

And check out the rad animation by the folks at Wintr.

Seattle’s Best Coffee

Looking for a little sun amidst those long, cold and blustery days? We suggest the new ‘Winter Getaway Blend’ packaging we created for Seattle’s Best Coffee and the fine folks at Creature. As obvious fans of all things caffeinated, this was a real treat to work on. Big thanks to Dave Taylor, Kaylin Fitzpatrick and Cara Schwartz at Creature for the fun project. Get a slightly closer look in our portfolio. Only available in SBC Cafe’s.


Founded in 2006 by Don & Ryan Clark, Invisible Creature is a
multi-disciplinary design and illustration studio based in Seattle, WA.


  • Cinerama

    Fists & Fury Film Festival

  • Cinerama

    Mural Print

  • The Biggest Story

    Signed Book + Print

  • Someday

    11 x 14


  • The Biggest Story

    Childrens Book

  • Invisible Creature

    Farm League

  • Stack And Scare!

    Stackable Monster Blocks

  • Captain Bullseye's