Hat Club Brand Pt. 6

I’m writing this final installment of the Hat Club behind-the-scenes from the Brandiose bunker, sacks of rice, jugs of water, and beef jerky piled up on all sides. We may have made a mistake spending all of Brandiose’s resources on this. Oh well, live and learn.

Final pile of Illustrator renderings! And I mean a pile. It’s weird seeing all that work stacked up like so many palettes of beef jerky. The amount of anchor pushing on these designs was an epic task, but really fun and rewarding!

Here’s a few close-ups of my favorite pieces from the first collection. We really went nuts on the embroidery instructions with these guys. I know we drove New Era a little crazy with our exacting specifications. But obsessive attention to detail is the name of the game! Head on over to Hat Club to grab your favorite design from the collection.

Jason and I want to wish all you Clinkers a Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukkah, a Festive Kwanza and an all-around kick-ass Holiday weekend! PS. A little Holiday elf whispered in my ear that Clink may be having a sale come December 26th. Save up those gift cards from Grandma and we’ll see you back here on December 26th!

Hat Club Brand Pt. 6

Simple is hard. I really like these simple retro-Cubs inspired bulldogs but they didn’t make the first cut. Another candidate for the future maybe? We knew that the Bulldog was going to be one of our flagship mascots for the collections so we tried to come up with a bunch of variations. Simple, collegiate, more of the idea that we could swap out the different flags in an iconic design(lower left) and even an NFL look like the third sketch down on the right. An homage to the Lions logo.

Here’s an example of a design that went through a few redos. We pitched the idea of a Minor League team identity called the “Dirts” made up of a bunch of rats that play dirty, sliding into 2nd with spikes up, spitballin’, etc. Hat Club liked the idea but wanted it to be a raccoon. You can see the version 2 sketches of the concept in the 2nd row. We changed the name to the Trashcals, Which I think is a cooler name. Mash up of trash and rascals!

This last batch is a bit of a hodgepodge. A few text based designs for snapback styles. You can see our Black Tigers logo in nearly it’s final form at the top right. The Loose Lips Sink Ships design is one of my favorites in this whole process. It almost made the cut a few times but never crossed the finish line. I love the idea of the white silhouette skiff being over taken by the black silhouette ghost pirate ship. The bottom 3 designs make up our pitch for the Hat club key as it would exists in a secret society family of logos. With Medusa as the mascot of that team. How about that retro Medusa/Roman Soldier? A really fun idea that I’d like to explore further.

Tomorrow, we’ll cap all this off with some shot of our favorite hats from the final collection and a glimpse of a few Illustrator variations!

Hat Club Brand Pt. 5

When we set out to come up with some LA inspired designs, we had a few ideas that we were drawn to. One being that LA doesn’t have a football team. We thought it would interesting to reference the lack of a team and possibly create a new team. Like the LA Pits for instance! I really love the Mammoth running tar character. I hope we can do something with him in the future. Maybe remove the “LA is the Pits” on the helmet? I also want to try something with the fractured crystal idea. I think the LA in fractures is cool but we could find a more fun idea to apply to that design concept. One of the best designs of this group that made the final cut and came out really great is the Racer LA circle design. You can see the LA shoreline as it heads north to Malibu with the Malibu hills rising to the left. If you sit on the right side of a plane as it departs LAX this is the view you’ll see.

Hat Club early on told us they had a lot of success with the Filipino themed hats. So we made sure to come up with a few for the first round. Our research lead us to the national animal of the Philipines the Carabao. The Carabao is a badass water buffalo that is found in the rural areas of the island. All the photos of the water buffalo show the farmers stringing a rope through the animal’s nose to be used as a lead. We really like the idea of including that authentic touch while referencing the great boxing tradition of the island. This round also shows the genesis of the “Shipwrecked” styles. Once we had the Filipino flag done Hat Club asked if we could try it with the California Flag and that ended up being on of the most popular styles in the collection! Origin story told.

Hat Club Brand Pt. 4

Since Hat Club is based out of Phoenix and they have a bunch of stores in the Phoenix area, we knew we had to get some great Phoenix themed designs into the collection. Lucky for us Phoenix is pretty cool name for a hometown, flames, fiery eagle-like mythical creatures, the beauty of the desert. Unlike some of the styles we showed yesterday, we had a strong back-and-forth with the Hat Club guys to try and pin down the Phoenix themed designs that we wanted. We’ll go into more of that in later posts.

Here are the Sketches for the California themed designs. You can see the upper left bear head design, our most popular design in the line so far, in it’s earliest incarnation. You gotta see this design in the flesh. The real hook of this design isn’t California flag crossed bear head, but the white of the flag containing a detail sculpted bear head. It’s really cool in embroidery.(Now I’m seeing it’s sold out and not on the site anymore. I have a feeling it’ll be back though. I’ve added a photo of the final embroidery so that you can see the final result.) In the next collection you’ll see the what the upper right design became, I think it’s really cool.

Just in case you missed it, this first collection that we’re showing here is available now on HatClub.com and in Hat Club stores everywhere. Go HERE to check it out. Tomorrow, more sketches!!!

Hat Club Brand Pt. 3

And we’re back! I promised sketches and here they is. One thing I had forgotten about this process is how close a lot of these sketches are to the final concepts. I think that’s kinda rare for our process, but I suppose because we had so many concepts to get through, that could be part of it. I also think there was a clear goal for the project. When we’re rebranding a team, often we have to answer the question, “What the hell do we want this identity to look like?” But for the Hat Club project, we knew the style and application for the designs, we just needed ideas and those are easy to get down in pencil once you’ve got the style figured out. Does that make sense? I don’t know.

So I broke the sketches into a few groups. Here is the San Diego set of concepts. I was worried about designing a hat for our hometown, maybe we were too close to it to come up with something fun. But that wasn’t the case. One of my favorites is the retro, Twins parody with the Mexican guy handing a taco across the boarder to the Uncle Sam. That might still be in the running for an upcoming collection but I think everyone’s a little nervous about it. What do you guys think?

Here is a concept that we tried really hard to get down but could never find the correct way to execute. It’s a take on the classic monogram lockups (NY, LA, SF). In order to figure out the lockups you have to say them out loud. Get it? Es Eff = SF? Eh?

The Bay and Phoenix stuff was fun. Very referential to classic logos so a lot of these didn’t make the cut for that reason. I think you’ll find less referential stuff in the next collection.

Here’s the Bay stuff. The top 2 are almost exact version of their final forms. Check out that “SF” streaks in it’s early form. NOT, close to it’s final form.

Tomorrow, even more sketches than we showed today!

Eugene Emeralds- Now Available!

The Eugene Emeralds are the Class A affiliate of the San Diego Padres. Brandiose has designed around 100 official on-field caps for Major and Minor League Baseball teams. This is one we know you’ll love.

Eugene, Oregon is some gorgeous country. Green as all get-up, just the kinda place a Sasquatch would love to call home. Eugene is also the most barefoot friendly place we’ve ever visited. “Barefoot friendly,” you may be asking? From the barefoot runners (Eugene is home to the birth place of Nike and the place where Steve Prefontaine made a name for himself.) to hippie drum circles, to college students finding their way home after a few too many and a shoe or to has gone missing. It’s and eccentric place and the Ems are honoring Eugene’s eccentricities with a few of their own.

Go HERE to get yours! Kick this weekend’s ass Clinkers!

Eugene Emeralds-Available Tonight!

We interrupt this regularly scheduled BTS for a Thursday hat drop. We just have too many unreleased hat styles to wait. And this is probably the last weekend to get the hat in time for Christmas(No guarantees, sorry.). We’ll do a behind-the-scenes for Eugene in the upcoming weeks. But tonight at 9pm PST/mid-night EST the Eugene Emeralds home hat will be available HERE in Clink’s online store!

Don’t worry we’ll get the Hat Club BTS going again next week.

Hat Club Brand Pt. 2

Where to start with all this stuff? Lets start with the Hat Club key logo. Part of our new relationship with Hat Club was to create a new logo to represent the new hats we’d be designing. We wanted to find an icon that represented the new direction the Hat Club wanted to take their brand. Something fun and compelling. But simple that would look good on signage and embroidered small on the back of a hat or in a tag.

Hat Club has an large membership program and they knew they wanted to expand the benefits of being in the Club. So we tried to think of one icon that we could use to represent what we wanted this new relaunched Club to be. We decided a “Key to the Club” would best describe the idea of exclusivity and access. With that in mind we set out to make a key that felt fun and unique. (I threw in an early concept that we came up with of a “hat monster” just for fun. It hit the cutting room floor early but I still like the idea, but not for this project.)

That led us to the “HC” hidden in the key. It’s subtle, I haven’t’ seen anyone point it our in the comments, but we liked that the people who knew would be in the know.

We also knew we didn’t want to throw a logo on a hat at expect people to be into it. We wanted something that we could build a whole story around. So we came up with a bunch of ideas for how to infuse the key into different hat designs. We came up with the Bowery Bulldogs concept, the Lion-headed knocker and even a few others that I’ll get into tomorrow.

This was the first round after we took the concept into Illustrator. You can see that the key in this version is a little too stubby and the “HC” is not proportional nor is the key very well proportioned. This round helped us come up with the idea of the 2 toned key. That would allow for more color options on the back embroidery of each hat, an important part of it’s everyday usage.

This set features the refined key and different options for how to encapsulate it. We really liked a few of these but when we started mocking them up on different hat designs it became clear that the straight-up key on it’s own had the biggest impact and felt the most unique.

Tomorrow, sketches, sketches, and more sketches!!!

Hat Club Brand Pt. 1

Since it seems Hat Club and Reading are the top two requests for behind-the-scenes, I’m going to make the call and go Hat Club first. Our first collection for Hat Club has been out for a couple weeks and some of the styles are already selling out.

Here’s a little of the back story: Hat Club approached us over a year ago about creating some exclusive designs for their brand. Designs that would cater to their customers and help them express the ideas that they had for their brand. It became clear after a few conversations that they wanted a lot of designs from us. Like a lot a lot. Not just a new logo for their company that they could slap on the front of a hat and call it a day. They also wanted to continue our collaboration into the foreseeable future. They didn’t want us to drop a bunch of designs off at their doorstep and say, “adios.” We agreed that a partnership had to be formed, something that would allow us to build something very unique together. It was a first for us and for them. But because Hat Club had such a cool vision of what a partnership could be and because they’re just a bunch of great people, we decided to go for it.

We started, like we always do with a research meeting. I don’t remember if it was in one of their stores here in town, but we met and tossed around a bunch of ideas of what the brand could be, and how it could be different for other brands out there.

So as you know by now, we hit the sketch pad in preparation for our first round of hat designs. We had a lot of ground to cover in our first round. We had to create designs for each of the regions that their stores are in, we had to create their own stories and characters the would populate the Hat Club universe, and we had to create a logo that would represent the entire line and possibly their entire brand.

After the graphite and pencil shavings had settled we had 100 concepts to sift through (the scope and breadth of which was so broad, it warranted a unique presentation style for us: traveling to pitch sketches, something we’ve never done in Brandiose’s history.)

We printed out each concept on a slip of paper and spread them out all over their office floor (this is their old office floor, they’ve got a new jazzy place for us to create in now.). Then we had a draft.

Tomorrow, we’ll give you a closeup look at some of the sketches.