This was done for the R3 Illustration jam on Third Rail Design Lab’s R3 Forum, the subject being a Redesign Challenge: design a contemporary upgrade to DC’s iconic Wonder Woman.
Well, you know I loves me some redesigning. This jam was created as a special response to the now infamous Jim Lee redesign for Wonder Woman that has a vocal majority outraged and a minority willing to wait and see. I didn’t hate the redesign, but it triggered some great discussion with my wifebot(tm) over the nature of ‘contemporary’ when it comes to redesigning iconic imagery: how much change is too much change? What’s the objective?
I really like a lot of the themes of the Wonder Woman look of recent years: thick black hair, less stern face but not too young or too old, the colors, if not the unexplained American iconography… I wanted to keep enough of her look that someone who didn’t know what was going on could look at the drawing and say: ‘that’s Wonder Woman’… in terms of brand strategy there’s two schools: if the brand has totally failed, starting fresh with something radical can reinvent the brand and give it energy; on the other hand, a well known brand that needs a little freshness needs to retain the identity on which it has traded as legacy. I went this latter direction. I don’t need giant boobies falling out or crotchal attacks in my Wonder Woman. And in fact, I actually dislike the hard-muscled, older, angry WW I see too often these days. At the same time, I wanted to get away from familiar American iconography, but keep the bird form, changing from a stylized W-shape evoking wings in the modern look and going with an actual exotic bird motif, suggesting her elswhereneess. I love the red and white boots, and bare, athletic legs, so kept those, but added some bird bling to the edges. The wristbands, belt and headband are all detailed with carved imagery, the former using the bird again, the belt using a peace-wreath cipher, and the headband incorporating one classic star, but embellishing it. I wanted the hair to be flowy and sensual without being overdone. The lasso is hooked in the back, not the side, for ambidextrous reach. And as for the white briefs and neck/chest wrap, I just like the look.
Here’s what was pretty cool about the piece: I did two versions: the classic gold, and a cool silver which had been knocking around in my cortex. I preferred the latter, but wondered if it strayed too far from classic WW… would it stand up to the ‘recognizable brand’ test? Well, as I was considering this, and getting feedback from my buds in PT!VS, my regular UPS guy came into the office and saw my monitor and said: "hey, awesome Wonder Woman!"
I don’t know if this would be judged more or less harshly than Jim Lee’s biker jacket version, but it was my sensibility.
Please enjoy, hell yes![link]
You can see this illustration here on the R3 Forum: [link]
Or here, as above, on the TRDL blog: [link]
And you can see a larger view right off my TRDL Illustration Site, here: [link]
A choice for everyone!
Thanks for looking,
Third Rail Design Lab[link]