Logo created for a collection of maker spaces owned by Jeb Gast of Fido Motors in Kalamazoo, MI.
Animated gifs created to be used for Dark Horse Brewing Company's Instagram page as ads and content.
44-page product catalog created for Heritage Guitar Inc. of Kalamazoo, MI. Truncated version shown.
All photography by the wonderful people at Rhino Media of Kalamazoo, MI.
Editorial illustration made as a personal project.
13" x 11" coffee table book designed for Dark Horse Brewing Co. (Marshall, MI) as a gift from Rhino Media during my internship with Rhino. 200 pages, only one copy produced.
To give myself practice as a designer and a curator of a brand, I've begun a series of unofficial image redesigns for businesses located in my home city of Kalamazoo. As I make the new identity, I keep a couple of goals in mind:
1: Honoring and expanding on what the brand does right. Its history in Kalamazoo, what its image means to the people of the city, its recognition and perception as is. I use this as a foundation to enhance and give viability to the new look.
2: How to better reflect the image of a popular modern company while still maintaining a Kalamazoo influence. Kalamazoo has many veteran companies and new businesses that locals take great pride in, but appearance-wise, don't always do much as visual centerpieces or attractive brands. Basically, I want Kalamazoo to look as cool as it actually is. I want Kalamazoo to be on shirts and walls and car bumpers and not just because of the funny name or the (delicious) craft beer.
These redesigns aren't meant to be belittling or an example of the only right way. But I feel an approach of emphasized visual appeal is mostly lacking In Kalamazoo, so I wanted to envision scenarios where this wasn't the case. I want to improve the city, not tear down what others have done.
With all that said: these are unsolicited and probably unwanted, but here we go.
The Growlers are a Kalamazoo summer league baseball team formed in 2014. Filling the spot vacated by the Kalamazoo Kings, who dissolved in 2010, the Growlers are one of Kalamazoo's 2 professional sports teams and a source of pride for the city: merchandise featuring the team's branding isn't ubiquitous, but is moderately popular.
It's obvious why. Supporting sports teams acts as a channel for displaying your affection for your city, your own history and pride. If it looks nice, you don't even have to be a fan to display team memorabilia. It's synonymous with a declaration of "this is a place I love". If the products look good, people are going to buy them to champion their town. But right now, I don't believe that people are as attracted to the Growlers' aesthetic as they could be.
To start, I updated the logo. The current logo is legitimate looking, but generic: besides the skyline silhouette of Kalamazoo, changing the "Kalamazoo" element to a different city would result in a logo that would fit in about anywhere. That doesn't match up with the unique identity of Kalamazoo. I used the excellent name "Growlers" (which mainly references the city's relationship with the craft beer industry) as an inspiration for a mark that looks menacing without being cheesy or recycled, and importantly, looks good on product.
For colors, I chose grey and golden-brown, referencing Kalamazoo's famous architecture and the city's infatuation with beer, respectively. I used these colors and black to create a palette for uniforms and advertising.
Ideally, jerseys, hats, shirts and other merchandise would be available for purchase online and onsite at Homer Stryker Field, the Growlers stadium. I believe strongly that if you give people the opportunity and the clothes that look good, they would be excited to wear team colors that also represent their city. At the time of me writing this, the Growlers website offers a backpack and a couple polos with a team patch on their site. These aren't popular choices for most people's apparel. Who is the team selling to? Everyone living in Kalamazoo wearing Detroit Tigers, Lions, and Red Wings gear should be targeted. Give them a sports team to be proud of from their own city.
While working on this, I realized Kalamazoo doesn't have much merchandise representing just the city itself (besides those tired "Yes, There Really IS a Kalamazoo!" shirts.) As I said before, team pride is nearly synonymous with city pride, so why can't the Growlers capitalize on their position? I designed a couple example shirts to explore this idea. Simple text shirts expressing Kalamazoo love, featuring a small Growlers logo to remind people of the team. It's intentionally rather subtle, so even if you aren't a fan you could wear the shirt. You're not a walking advertisement while you're wearing it. But by selling it and having a logo there, the Growlers become mentioned in the same breath as Kalamazoo.
And that's what I want the most: for the Growlers to take advantage of their opportunity to become the waving flag of the city and offer people something they can use to show off their identity as a proud Kalamazoo resident. By doing that, you benefit the team, the population, and Kalamazoo itself.
Logo badge created for a collaboration between designer Andrew Lynch and myself. AWL & RHE = WHALER.
Website thumbnails feature Andrew Lynch's work.
Personal logo, business card mockup, and stationary created for Montana real estate agent Jon Ellen Snyder.
Unofficial CD single cover for Fugazi's song Waiting Room.
Vector, digital illustration.
Grand prize-winning design for a Minecraft T-shirt contest put on by J!NX.
On-shirt photo courtesy of J!NX. Buy the shirt here.
Various illustrations meant for experimenting with techniques and entertaining my handful of Instagram followers.
Poster designed for screen printing.
Vector and digital illustration.
Fan art text poster featuring the lyrics of Run The Jewels.
Digital painting produced for norwegian blog Folk I Arendal.