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A graphic trilogy that combines the technical rigor of architectural drawing with the story-telling whimsy of comic books.
A graphic trilogy that combines the technical rigor of architectural drawing with the story-telling whimsy of comic books.
149 backers pledged $4,183 to help bring this project to life.

About

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The Complete Beautifully Banal

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Overview

Beautifully Banal is the creation of Alexander Culler and Danny Travis.  The project celebrates the beauty of the ordinary (when mixed with a little whimsy) and follows the journey of Phineas the fly. The end product aims to produce an alternate reading of the “everyday”, in order to showcase how through the correct lens of thinking even the most banal of environments can become a fairy tale.  It is a fantastical zine that merges story-telling efforts with rigorous drawing technique, the end result being a product we think both architectural enthusiasts and story-connoisseurs will love.

Beautifully Banal was the 2nd place winner in the Blank Space 2015 Architectural Fairytales Competition.  For that, we developed a single self-contained 5-spread story that showed Phineas on his adventure to find his way home after being displaced for unknown reasons.  Following the competition, we realized there was more to the story we wanted to tell and more drawing techniques we wanted to explore.  It is now through this kickstarter that we are aiming to develop both a prequel and a sequel to our original story.


Story and Technique

Beautifully Banal is a detail-packed three part trilogy loaded with experience and adventure.  Part 1 unveils the mysterious origin story of Phineas as the house fly is born outside of a suburban residence.  Part 2 has our hero desperately searching for food in a commercial office tower.  Part 3 pits Phineas against his greatest challenge yet-- an industrial water treatment facility. 

Part 1: Fly by Night (residential)

Part 2: House Fly no More (commercial)

Part 3: The Industrial Flywheel (industrial)

Each page of the story is grounded in a strictly conventional architectural drawing type, to never be repeated within the book.  This method allows a reader to fully engage with the environments in the story, and to uncover aspects of the story that would not be addressed in a standard comic book. For example, we see drawn instances of site plans, floor plans, ceiling plans, elevations, sections, plumbing sections, axons, exploded detail drawings, developed surface drawings, info graphics, multi-view projections, and more.  Working in this way uncovers a variety of scales and vantage points to enhance the story, all injected with elements of narrative and character.  On the flip side, the narrative components of the story activate these normally stoic drawing techniques to do work beyond mere representation and start to engage a series of possible worlds and scenarios behind the drawings. See below some scenes and artwork from our saga thus far, Beautifully Banal Part 2, House Fly No More.  See a link to download Part 2 after the break.

elevation

 elevation detail

  elevation detail

plan

 plan detail

 plan detail

ceiling plan

 ceiling plan detail

axon

 axon detail

wall section

wall section detail

wall section detail

Download part 2 as a FREE PDF Today! 


The Team

Beautifully Banal is produced by Alexander Culler and Danny Travis, designers based in Chicago, IL. Their blend of skill-sets allow this project to be possible, mixing the narrative minded with the detail oriented.  Beautifully Banal, like other projects of their interest, is an effort to re-define the audience of architectural oriented works, by adopting the drawing style of cartoon and the highly accessible texts that reads like a fairytale. This way, a broader range of people can get in on the fun, and of course, what's more fun than architecture?

The Book

The standard edition of Beautifully Banal is a soft cover, portrait-styled book that opens up to reveal full-bleed 11x17 spreads. The book is 44 pages loaded with supremely fine details, writing, and extras. Each spread contains its own drawing type unique to itself while continuing a single story-arc. Back this project to find your name printed within the Beautifully Banal Universe.


Rewards

Beautiful Swag.

 Stretch Goals

We are thrilled to be a in position in which we can offer stretch goals!  And now, without further adieu...

Stretch goal number 1 will allow us to upgrade each copy of the standard edition with a higher quality paper, to really make the black and white details of Beautifully Banal shine on the page.  Meeting this goal will allow us to deliver a higher quality product for you (strength in numbers/bulk pricing) and so it is our ambition that you can help us get there.

 See where it all began! Critical Mass was the first collaborative drawing effort between the team of Beautifully Banal, and in some ways acted as a pre-cursor to the conversations that allowed Beautifully Banal to form as a concept. Critical Mass follows the events of two paper architects (physically made out of paper) as they attempt to make sense of the built environment. If this amount of money is raised, all backers who have pledged at the $15 reward level and above will receive the bonus mini comic free as a separate booklet! 

What in the world is this you ask? Well, it’s a commemorative drawing, of backers, with festive accessories! Upon completion of this goal, we will devote a full two page spread in the acknowledgements section of our zine that features a crowd of backers which reference, well, YOU the backer! Think of one of those big drawings that capture a whole universe of characters, something like you would see from the Simpsons, showcasing everyone in town. Each and every backer of this project will be represented in the crowd of people, and since it probably won’t really look like you all that much, we will send out a survey to let you choose a custom festive hat or accessory to wear, so at least you can have some control over how your visage is reproduced. This should be a lot of fun, and the more backers we can cram into the drawing the better, so be sure to spread the word!

But wait! You say, Beautifully Banal is supposed to be a trilogy, how can you add a chapter? Well, without giving too much away, let’s just say over the past couple of weeks we have been spinning a couple of ideas around as to how to connect this story to a larger one. This bonus chapter would serve as a tangential account to Beautifully Banal, and would be delivered from an alternative perspective. All of the same drawing styles and techniques from the original story would remain intact for this special bonus, of course.

Risks and challenges

We are still finishing up the artwork for our zine, but we are sticking to a rigid schedule to ensure it is completed in a timely manner. We have done ample research and have lined up a production strategy for all of our product printing and manufacturing, in addition to being fairly seasoned in setting up files for print. We do not foresee any particular problems with printing or distribution of this project, but if we do encounter problems with a particular print supplier, we are confident we can overcome them and source products from an equally qualified source, and deliver our rewards on schedule.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    ETERNAL GRATITUDE: You are just awesome. Receive our earnest thanks and your name printed in the acknowledgements section of our zine. Also, you get a STICKER. Includes free shipping anywhere in the United States.

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    Pledge $8 or more About $8

    DIGITAL EDITION: Receive the Complete Beautifully Banal trilogy as a DRM free digital PDF. Receive our earnest thanks and your name printed in the acknowledgements section of our zine.

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    STANDARD EDITION: Receive the Complete Beautifully Banal trilogy in its full printed, high-resolution glory. Each page is a full 11x17 spread printed on high quality paper capable of showcasing all the details. Receive our earnest thanks and your name printed in the acknowledgements section of our zine. Includes free shipping to anywhere in the United States. (add $10 for INTL Shipping)

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    STANDARD EDITION + POSTCARD SET: Receive the Complete Beautifully Banal printed trilogy as well as a pack of 5 postcards that contain printed scenes from the zine (of our choosing). Receive our earnest thanks and your name printed in the acknowledgements section of our zine. Includes free shipping to anywhere in the United States. (add $10 for INTL Shipping)

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    LIMITED EDITION NEWSPRINT + POSTCARD SET: Receive a special limited edition of the Complete Beautifully Banal Trilogy in a glorious overprint format. Printed on fine quality paper in a super-sized newsprint format, this version is an even larger print of the artwork and allows you to consume the most fanatical of details. The limited edition run of 50 is numbered to make it part of an exclusive set. Also get a pack of 5 postcards that contain printed scenes from the zine (of our choosing). Receive our earnest thanks and your name printed in the acknowledgements section of our zine. Includes free shipping to anywhere in the United States. (add $10 for INTL Shipping)

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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    STANDARD EDITION + POSTER PRINT: Receive everything in the STANDARD EDITION + POSTCARD SET in addition to a special edition POSTER PRINT (16 x 20) that will only be available during the kickstarter campaign. Receive our earnest thanks and your name printed in the acknowledgements section of our zine. Includes free shipping to anywhere in the United States. (add $10 for INTL Shipping)

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    HIGH ART EDITION: For high art (low art?) connoisseurs! Receive everything in the STANDARD EDITION + POSTCARD SET in addition to a 12" x 18" x 0.75" CANVAS PRINT ready for hanging in your very own dwelling. Choose any scene you want from the entire zine to be reproduced on high-quality canvas. Receive our earnest thanks and your name printed in the acknowledgements section of our zine. Includes free shipping to anywhere in the United States.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    SUPERFLY EDITION: For super fans! Receive both print editions of our zine, the STANDARD FORMAT and the LIMITED EDITION NEWSPRINT, as well as the POSTCARD SET and POSTER. We'll also sign each of these print pieces for you. As an extra bonus, you get an ultra limited edition 3D Printed object that is relevant to the Beautifully Banal Universe. Receive our BIGGEST thanks and your name printed in the acknowledgements section of our zine. Includes free shipping to anywhere in the United States.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    PRAISE PERSISTENCE ULTIMATE EDITION: There is a featured scene in part 3 of our story that showcases a custom designed chess set. If you pledge this amount, we will build this chess set for you and include your likeness into the third act of our story. We'll also throw in all the cool stuff from the SUPERFLY EDITION. Receive a colossal thank you and have your name printed in the acknowledgements section of our zine. Includes free domestic shipping.

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Funding period

- (31 days)