Surfing the Black Wave



Daniel Cobb, CEO and Co-Founder of Daniel Brian Advertising has an inspired vision of the future of advertising. In his book, Surfing the Black Wave, he uses a metaphor about the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami to help describe the current state of the industry, and what's coming next.


design elements


Layout design

The final layout design was distilled after in-depth research into the clean, scientific styles of modern Japanese layout design. I was inspired by the use of monospaced and vertical text, as well as the Tatami mat system when considering compositions for chapter divides and informative charts.

I became attached to the Japanese-inspired metaphor of the tsunami and decided to explore a visual direction based on Edo-period Sumi-e paintings, and more specifically, Hokusai's The Great Wave off Kanagawa, which was reimagined and used as part of the book’s cover.

After the Tsunami-inspired direction was chosen, I dove into exploring an illustration style that captured the heart of Sumi-e, while also remaining contemporary and editorial in context. A monochromatic palette using Daniel Brian Advertising's brand color was chosen, interrupted only on occasion by highly considered streaks of yellow-gold.

Chapter Segment Illustrations