Signalnoise supports DDC/Philly

This one is for you, Philadelphia. It has been announced that Aaron Draplin of the Draplin Design Co. will be doing a talk down in Philly on September 28th, and they are in the process of kickstarting that thing to raise money for the event. Being a fan of that Draplin for quite some time (3 shirts to prove it), I really enjoy seeing different cities bringing him in to speak to younger and veteran designers alike. He’s got things to say. Important things. Honest things.

So this little note is to bring your attention to the event and direct you to where you can help the guys make this happen. If you’re in Philly mark your calendar. Get over to the Kickstarter page and show your support. At the point of writing this they are 80% there.

Just a small cap on this, man it’s great to see so many smaller design events happening these days. We’re a small but mighty community.

MarsUnited prints by Andy Rohr

Now we’re talkin’. Check out these art prints created by Chicago’s own Andy Rohr. This is the kind of personal project I really enjoy, Andy invented an “airline” called MarsUnited then proceeded to create some cool travel posters for it. 100% homegrown for the fun of it. You can’t beat that. Well done, Andy.

You can check out his diverse portfolio, or swing over to his shop where these posters are available to purchase. Big thanks to my pal Ron Doucet for the heads up on Andy’s work!

Halifax Design Meet: July 27

The third Halifax Design Meet is scheduled for tomorrow evening, Wednesday, July 27 starting at 8pm. As usual, we will be hanging out in the back room at Gatsby’s, 5675 Spring Garden Road in Halifax.

Should be a great time. Hope to see you there!

My Winnipeg Jets logo

As most of us Canadians (or hockey fans at large) know by now, our beloved Winnipeg Jets will be coming back to the NHL real soon. Being a hockey fan back in the ’80s and ’90s those Jets were part of our team, and by “our team” I mean being on this side of the border. We’re a patriotic bunch up here and tend to cheer for our Canadian teams. So it was a sad day to hear that Winnipeg’s team was being packed up and shipped down to Phoenix. Sad day indeed.

Well here we are. The Jets are back and us Canadians are pretty happy about it. I was cheering for you ‘Peggers the whole time, hoping luck would swing your way and your team would come back.

Now for what it’s worth, I loved their old logo for too many reasons to list. BOTH of them actually. Simple, obvious and whatever else. Nice colors, somehow very Winnipeg and it fit in nicely with the other Canadian teams at the time.

With the team returning to Winnipeg it was inevitable that they go through the process of a re-brand. I would have been ecstatic to see that old logo return as their official, but this is 2011. Fat chance with all the re-brands that sports teams go through these days in the first place. Last Friday, Buffalo correspondent Paul Pants gave the word that they’d be releasing the new identity “in an hour” so I was pretty excited to see what they came up with. I was also a bit frightened …

I’ll go on record here. Just personal taste so don’t chew my head off. I have a pretty strong dislike for modern sports logos. It started back in the 90s when teams started going through all kinds of changes in identity and the logos moved away from the simple and iconic to these over-beveled, character-based, swooshing, snarling hunks of shit. They became interchangeable pretty quickly, and it wasn’t only with one sport. Baseball, basketball, football, hockey … they all started to look the same. No respect for individual identities or team legacy. I completely understand that design and printing technologies are far better than they were before, allowing us to do much more with jerseys and stuff, but just because we can doesn’t mean we should. Logos transformed into illustrations.

I urge you to look through the logo histories on this site. So much good stuff lost to the years.

This is why I was frightened while waiting for the new Jets logo unveiling. “What if it’s some jet zooming forward, shooting fire, with a big angry mouth on the front?” Seriously, could have happened. I was pretty nervous. So when I’m in a situation like that I always ask myself “What would I do if given the opportunity?”. I fired up Illustrator and threw together a Jets logo that I’d like to see on a jersey. That’s it at the top, and here it is mocked onto a player.

I’m still tampering with the logo even as I write this post. I did it for fun. I did a Jets logo the way I’d like to see it done in an attempt to play off the previous identity, something you Winnipeg inhabitants might recognize and enjoy. Not much more to the story, really.

Just a little note in conclusion for what they did release as the new Jets identity. My first reaction was genuine relief. They didn’t go the direction of “crappy, hip, typical sports logo” and for that I send every thumbs-up I can to the team involved in creating it. Huge relief. It was obviously created with respect to the team and Canadian air force history.

It’s catching some beef online and I’m not sure it deserves it. Yes it looks a bit military, and I’m curious to see the logo from afar (like on a player’s jersey during a game) to see if the design holds up, but it DOESN’T look like a damn beveled raptor, or a silver shark or whatever that “thrasher” was supposed to be. It’s simplified, plays off the Royal Canadian Air Force roundel, and has the leaf worked in. Not so bad.

As for my little logo, might get some stickers of this guy printed up. This one’s for you, Winnipeg.

Canadian swimming badges

All you Canadian kids out there probably recognize these little morsels, and so will Mom and Dad. When I was little my parents enrolled me in swimming lessons, tossing me half-naked into a group of other kids I barely knew in order to ensure I wouldn’t sink to the bottom of a pool like a stone. Well, it worked and today I can swim like doofus whenever I need to.

The Canadian Red Cross swimming lessons were broken up into “colors”. When you completed a level you were awarded with that badge color. I always liked the design of those badges, really smart with the swimmer aligning with the wave. I managed to find these online last week and wanted to show them off, mostly because these are the four I got when I was a kid. Maroon basically meant “He can dive, but not well.”

Not sure if you have these in other countries, or if us Canadians were the lucky ones. I’m not even sure if these are still being used. Anyone know?

T-shirt for The Sword

Here we go. On the list of “cool stuff I hope to do during my career as a designer”, this project lands right at the top, filed under “1. Design a shirt for my favorite metal band”. Enter the heavy as hell, talented Texans known as The Sword.

Back in 2006 or something I came across a link to their Myspace and immediately thought “The Sword, that’s a cool name for a band” and decided to give them a listen. I fired up Iron Swan for the first time, which is a funny introduction to the band’s sound considering the fairly long subdued intro. I was sitting at my desk with headphones on, then the song tore into the heavy and almost took my head clean off. Fan for life, right there. No foolin’. Been listening to the boys consistently ever since, throughout their albums Age of Winters, Gods of the Earth and their most recent space epic Warp Riders.

“Man, I’d love to work with those guys someday.” said James, years ago.

Last February I sit down at my computer and a tweet from the band pops up “Hey, we’re looking for an artist”, or something like that. 20 seconds later I had my website link over to them. 2 minutes later I shot over an email. Suddenly I’m emailing back and forth with the guys in my favorite metal troop, developed a poster that was used on 2 of their tours (Australia and Europe), and now a brand new t-shirt the boys will be having on-hand as they tour with Kyuss Lives this fall. So damn proud.

Shown above is what I created for the guys. Total artistic freedom, they let me run hog wild on this thing and offered some helpful tips along the way. You can definitely hear a vast metal influence in their sound so I wanted this design to be thrown back to the roots of metal … way back, talkin’ Black Sabbath days with a twist of The Sword in there. I used their older logo because it just reeks of old school metal. Love that thing. Shown here are 4 different colorways.

Be sure to check out the tour schedule, and watch for this shirt at their merch table and their online store (I would assume). Also, go listen to them. Now.

Small moral of the story. You never know what will happen when you try and chase down those dream projects. Sometimes it’s just an email away.

New Signalnoise logo stickers

Here we go, further implementation of my new Signalnoise identity, in sticky form. I came home from the office the other day to find a nice envelope from my friends at Sticker Mule with a fresh bunch of my new Signalnoise logo stickers. Nothing makes me happier then seeing my identity on stuff, especially stuff I can hand out to friends.

If you’ve met me at any of the design events I make it a priority to get my stickers into peoples’ hands, and I’ve been real proud of my previous stickers. Simple, round. Those things served me well and if you managed to grab one, they are now obsolete. Out of print forever. Collectors items. EBay gold.

Enter the new hexagon sticker, which may or may not have been completely ripped from my favorite board game, Settlers of Catan. Draw your own conclusions.

Now, the kind folks over at Sticker Mule hooked me up with a nice sampling of their capabilities at the right time, since I needed to update my swag. But here’s the thing, these stickers look and feel different then other stickers. There’s a soft, matte finish … almost feels plastic. No gloss. The best comparison I can hand out is a vinyl toy texture. Seamless color, looks real, real nice. Big thanks to Sticker Mule for really knocking these out of the park.

So if you see me at any upcoming design events, I’ll have some of these on me to throw around. I’ll also be adding these to online orders when my store is finally set up.

TV Party radio interview

Last week I had the pleasure to sit down with my friends Ryan and Stephen for a big interview session on their show TV Party. This was the first time I’ve ever been on the radio. Awesome time, really laid back and we talked for an hour and a half on all my projects, design thoughts and other rad topics. Here you go:

The reason I’m excited to put this online is because it’s local. CKDU is an independent radio station here in town and Ryan has been a good friend of mine for years, so he brought up some funny stories involving some local static I caused over the years. Most of these stories never made it online until now. So funny.

Big thanks to those guys for having me on their show. Big heap of fun. And Stephen, if you read this shoot me your Twitter link and I’ll hook ya up!