Clabots has worked for brands ranging from startups to industry leaders, in areas including branding, packaging design, art direction for photography and video, and print catalogs
Since founding his first company in 2010, Clabots has continuously expanded his creative endeavors beyond product design. Over the years, he has delved into art and creative direction, as well as creating branding strategies for various companies.
Naturally, Clabots began developing these skills using his own companies as platforms. With Nonlinear Studio, Clabots art directed a number of photo and video shoots, working alongside ad firms and production companies such as Mother NYC, Ikon 3, and Rooster NYC. As Creative Director of his company Amplifiear, Clabots created the branding, art directed all photography and video, designed and built the eCommerce platform, and designed all packaging and collateral for the company.
In 2014, after working at Fab.com for a number of years, Clabots again returned to his own design practice. Here, he revamped the catalogs of lighting company Sonneman and developed packaging for clients such as Icypod. In 2016, he collaborated with firms such Established NYC and Tomoro/// on a number of branding strategy projects. Today, Clabots continues to work in branding strategy and creative direction on a consulting basis.
For Clabots, there is no line between 2D and 3D design. He approaches each situation with the same questions of Why, How and What? Being able to step back to understand design as a business need, identify desired outcomes, and then utilize his various skills across multiple platforms, Clabots is able to provide the critical creative direction for startups and industry leaders alike. Clabots not only provides guided conceptual direction, but he also has the experience and skillset to execute, from deep inside CSS code to the set of a video shoot.
Art Direction, Content Strategy
In eCommerce, the customer is buying a product, you are selling a photo
From his years of experience in eCommerce, Clabots understands that although the customer is buying a product, you essentially are selling a photo. OTHR is a brand that solely exists on an eCommerce platform, so photography and storytelling are both key. In the months leading up to the company's launch in 2016, Clabots spent significant time crafting the art direction strategy for all of the product photography. He developed guidelines for the brand and established the color palette, shot angles, compositions, shadow intensity, and depth, as well as propping standards and web layouts. Clabots paid careful attention to planning out and pacing the stories on product pages, and developing templates for page layouts. He made sure to tell a comprehensive story for each product while remaining consistent from product to product. Clabots finds it important to present a product in a beautiful and consistent way, so that it is easy to shop your site without having to relearn the buying process for each product.
Clabots continued to evolve the visual language for OTHR, creating new standards for multi-product group shots and establishing a visual vocabulary for 'in situation' shots for social media. He also art directed each shot and retouched all of the in-situ photos on the OTHR site. Together, the images on the OTHR media platforms present a brand of elevated design objects, shot almost like sculpture, while giving context for these objects in a modern home interior.
Telling a complicated story with a simple image
Skins was a new footwear concept that divided the shoe into a structural core and a fashionable outer sole, or ‘outers.’ The outers were flexible and compact so that they could be stored away and packed for travel.
At the time, the company was having difficulty with its traditional lifestyle photography, failing to convey the uniqueness of its innovative product. Clabots felt the best way to tell this dual story was to shoot dual images of the models with mirrors. On one side of the mirror, the models were fully clothed; on the other, they appeared in only their underwear with the structural ‘inners.’ This dual imagery inferred that the inners were as essential as your underwear. It also gave the ads a stand-alone sex appeal, leaving the viewer wanting to know more. The only explanation was a link to the website.
JOSH LEHRER FOR ESPAIS
Art Direction, Production Design
Capturing both man and water in motion
Espais commissioned this series for their new boutique sports and fitness centers. Clabots collaborated with Photographer Josh Lehrer and business partner Ron Beach to create “Water Dance,” a ballet of flesh, water, and light that piqued the imagination and celebrated the beauty of the human form. The goal was to capture both man and water in motion in the moment. To achieve this, Clabots built a waterfall machine that allowed a steady stream of water to cascade over the models as they jumped on a trampoline. The team used a system of Broncolor strobes and Arri-max 10k constant lights, devised by Beach, to capture the water without blur and to give the images a metallic effect.
Art Direction for Video
Translating a brand into an environment as a backdrop for hilarity
With production company Rooster NYC, Clabots art directed spots about work-week appreciation for Poppin. The spots told humorous office tales of employees who were so in love with their work environment and their signature Poppin products that they had a hard time leaving the office behind. While art directing these spots, Clabots made sure that the whimsical storylines conveyed a message of fun while simultaneously showing off the Poppin products in a brand-right setting.
Creative Direction, Branding, Art Direction, Web Design, Photography, Packaging Design
Building a brand from all aspects
Clabots was involved in all aspects of building the Amplifiear brand. He developed all collateral materials, including business cards, stationery, order forms, brochures, and packaging. Clabots sourced the card stock from responsibly-farmed renewable forests, and he carried this material sensibility through to the design of all collateral materials. The seriousness with which Clabots approached his materials sourcing contrasted with the playful “POP” colors of the product. Clabots was also responsible for the art direction and retouching of all brand imagery and the design and execution of the Amplifiear web store.
Branding, Creative Direction
Exploring connections between a brand and its customers
La Grivoise, a fashion company specializing in resort wear, contracted Clabots to help them find their brand. Clabots worked with them to understand and segment their position in the market and explore how their identity could look in order to connect with their desired customers. Clabots designed their logo and provided direction for their brand imagery.
The strategy for the logo was a classic one: use a standard font and manipulate a single character to make it unique. The chosen font was a classic serif type, which denoted quality and a classic timelessness. The 'V' was altered with a free-form gesture, showing the fun spirit of the brand (whose name translates to 'naughty') and the customer. Though gestural, the new form of the 'V' was perfectly placed against the shape of the name, evoking the feeling that it was not altered, but rather had simply always been. The gesture of the 'V' further served to aid in the pronunciation of the name; the long tail of the 'V' almost signaled the velvety French pronunciation of the second half of the name.
Branding, Photography, Packaging Design
Engaging in strategic planning and multi-dimensional branding strategy
Clabots developed the branding for Icypod, a personal cooling device. His process included strategic planning, working with the client to identify their customer base, researching their cohort companies, and developing their brand identity, including a brand guide for future implementation and packaging.
The Icypod had previously been marketed as the 'Menopod,' focusing on relieving the symptoms of women going through menopause. The decision to rebrand the product was strategic, as it expanded their consumer base to anyone looking to cool themselves down. Clabots did extensive competitive research to help locate the brand amongst desired cohorts. He designs the logo and identity, providing a full style guide for future implementation. He also designed the packaging and product manual, as well as created all new product photography and photography standards.
Art Direction, Catalog Design
Building on motifs rooted in the brand’s visual identity
Clabots worked with the Sonneman's President, Robert Sonneman, to update the company's catalog layout for their Spring ’15 Additions. Building on motifs rooted in the brand’s visual identity, Clabots unified the brand's catalog by presenting the company’s various lamp styles using a minimalist grid and single graphic language. Clabots also personally retouched many of the images.