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The Illustrator Behind the Casper Ads on the Subway: Tomi Um


A few years ago, Red Antler, a design agency located in Dumbo, Brooklyn, launched an ad campaign for Casper, a sleep start-up company that’s redefining mattresses. If you live in NYC or have visited in the last few years, I’m sure you’ve been on the subway at least once. While most of the advertisements found on the subways are aggressive and simply unappealing, once in awhile you stumble across an ad that makes you smile. It is not an easy feat to make cynical, angry New Yorkers smile on the subways, which are constantly delayed and dirty. What do you imagine when you think of an ad campaign for a mattress company: A photo of a stock image looking couple laying on the bed they’re trying to sell or perhaps the bed photographed in a staged room? Boring! The first ad Red Antler launched for Casper a few years back were simple illustrations with funny copy. Each quirky illustration referenced to sleeping without showing you an image of people sleeping. It obviously worked because Casper has over 20,000 likes on Facebook.




Most people have no idea these whimsical advertisements were created by Red Antler. Designers are often buried in the credits section, if at all visible. Even lesser known are the people who actually worked on the final product. Red Antler partnered with illustrator Tomi Um to create these delicious ads.


Tomi Um, an illustrator based in New York, has been featured in Print Magazine, American Illustration 32, and ADC Young Guns 9. Also, her work is in the collections at Brooklyn Museum Libraries & Archives, Savannah College of Art & Design Jen Library, and Queens College Art Library. You might’ve seen her illustrations in The New York Times, TIME Magazine, or Billboard Magazine. Her work is energetic and filled with little eccentric details. I’m obsessed with her brilliant color palettes that fit each illustration in their contexts.

Check out some of her beautiful illustrations below:




All images belong to Red Antler and Toni Umi.

May 20, 2017

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