Incredible A.M.N.H. Historical Photos

The American Museum of Natural History is one of my favorite places on Earth. It’s one of the most special gems of New York City. I was so excited to see they added a bunch of historic photos to their site, capturing moments from the assembly of the Museum’s dioramas and other slices of Museum life. One of my favorite reference books in our office is “Windows on Nature” by Stephen Christopher Quinn (Head over to Amazon to get it for your bookshelf.). “Window’s on Nature” is a great documentation of the beautiful dioramas in the Museum. If I got to pick a second career, it would be working on these exhibits.

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See more of these historic behind-the-scenes photos HERE. Here is a photo from the book “Windows on Nature”. One of my favorite pages features these moose locked in battle. So powerful and muscular.

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Flying Tigers “Tigertown” – Available!

Oh man, I’m so pumped for this little bugger. One of our favorite rebranding projects we’ve done, one of the coolest places for baseball and Americana, one of our favorite designs from the project. All wrapped up in a spiffy new custom colorway and tiger camo print. Head over to the Clink store to get yours. (Yes, T.J. the new Clink store is coming. Rebranded, Clink only, special Clink only stuff.)

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United Pixel Workers X Clink

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Hey Clinkers! Head on over and check out these sweetum hatums that we designed in collaboration with United Pixel Workers. We love what the fellas over at United Pixel Workers are doing and we were exctied when they approached us to collaborate with them. The 2 offerings include one style showcasing their “U” logo designed by the badass Draplin and the “Pixelsmith” designed by us, Brandiose. They’re on pre-order now with a special offer if you order both styles. Go to UnitedPixelWorkers.com to checkum outum.

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Kick this weekend’s ass Clinkers!

Mattel + Brandiose: Pt. 2

As always, the folks at Mattel picked a direction for the designs. Even though this version is heavily influenced by the original sketch you can still see a us trying to squeeze as much variation out of the idea as we can. Streaks or bevels, sparks or lighting bolts. How iconic is the design of Buzz Lightyear? We felt like there were infinite ways to render him and they all we’re clearly Buzz.

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That’s when the name changed! Rock ‘N’ Rollers out, Zing ‘Ems in. This is so common in the work we do. The design is done, everyone is excited, then 2 steps backward. This even happens when designing logos for baseball teams. I’ll bet if you tried really hard you could find team identities whose name was changed mid-process but everyone liked the logos we had been working on. I think it makes the project more interesting. Below you can see our first attempt at the Zing ‘Ems, this time referencing a different composition from a different Rock ‘N’ Rollers Round 1 concept sketch. Again, as much variation as we could while keeping the guts of the design the same.

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Here’s a look at variations of the text on it’s own. I’m not 100% sure but I think Mattel wanted the Zing ‘Ems brand to not be Toy Story specific. Watch out for those Monster University Zing ‘Ems!

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The last part of the project was to create a rendering of Buzz to be used as a graphic for the packaging. Here is the sketch we used as a jumping off point and a screenshot of how we built the character in Illustrator.

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Here are a few different outline color options for the Buzz character rendering.

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And here’s the final packaging. Unfortunately, our Buzz didn’t make the cut. But you know what? That’s just the way it works. Our job is fun and fulfilling, and it’s not that way because of the final product or result. It’s fun and fulfilling because the process is fun and fulfilling. Drawing is fun, working with all the awesomely creative people at Mattel is fun. Looking back at the work you’ve done, whether is printed on the final package or not, and being proud of what you’ve made. That’s fulfilling.

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Mattel + Brandiose: Pt. 1

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Sometimes you get a big break and Brandiose has been lucky enough to get a bunch of big breaks. When the guys and gals from Mattel reached out to us, seeing if we’d be interested in working on project with them, well, that was a pretty epic break. We’re going to spend the rest of the week showing you guys the work that we did for our first Mattel project. We had so much fun working with them, it felt like a dream come true. I mean come on, sitting down to sketch Buzz Lightyear! How great is that?

When it was time to start the project, Mattel sent over a folder. The project was to create a logo and character graphic for the packaging of a new type of toy, originally named “Rock ‘N’ Rollers” but eventually named “Zing ‘Ems”. As if working for Mattel wasn’t cool enough, the home of Barbie and Hot Wheels, but to find our we’re working on a Disney and Pixar product. It was tough to wrap our mind around how great it was. So we broke all the furniture in our office, piled it in the middle of the floor, set it afire, and danced around it while smearing war paint on our faces in ecstasy. Well not really, but we were pretty excited. The contents of the folder they sent over were amazing. It was like getting a skunkworks brief. Grainy shaky video of the product in action (Check that out here), rough prototypes, and inspiring renderings of the final toy.

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To say we were inspired would be a bit of an understatement. We have a saying around the office, if a project is inspiring it’s a “fast pencil project”. That feeling that the pencil has no friction to it, those smooth lines spill out of the pencil and quickly pile up as the vision in your mind emerges from the paper. Here’s what we came up with for the first round of sketches.

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Tomorrow, we’ll show you some of the vector color concepts!

Hometown League Winners!

Here are the 6 big winners of the Hometown League contest! Congrats to all of them. I think there are some great concepts in this batch and we look forward to bringing them to life. I know there are some surprises in here. We really tried to pick entries that had the most interesting concept, not necessarily a production ready design. Jason and I want these contests to be true collaborations between Clinkers and Brandiose and with these winners we will showcase the dynamic of these Clinker X Brandiose collaborations. Below you’ll find a brief look at why we picked these designs to be our winners.

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Jesse Velleu’s “Tribe” – Our first ever instant draft jumped out of our inbox when we first got it. The Native American is iconic a classic. Inspired by Jesse’s Hometown City’s seal it Jesse took a retro design and modernized it by adding graphic waves to the shadows. That mix of retro and contemporary makes this very interesting.

David Creighton-Pester’s “Big A Mascot” – Just look at that face, that lean, that swagger. I love his piercing eyes, I love his glowing cheeks, I love his asymmetrical hat.

David Creighton-Pester’s “Big A” – Simple and clean. This sort of entry I really love. The Shadow League produced a lot of this type of entry. That limited color palette is a gift to these contests. I was happy to see that David restrained himself from complicating this concept. I think they’re going to love this in New York.

Martin Lopez’s “Skin Walkers” – This is such a great concept. The powerful symbol of a warrior in black and red face paint wearing the head of a wolf as he screams into battle. We love the idea of this design having 2 icons in it. The wolf and the warrior. We can’t wait to help Martin bring this concept to the next level.

Martin Lopez’s “Aztlan” – This was one of the major vote getters in this contest. And I agree, I think it’s a really cool image. The character radiates strength and confidence. I think the design is a little complicated as is but, working with Martin, we’ll simplify the design so that his concept will look it’s best in embroidery.

Jesse Feltner “Bay Dogs” – It’s unusual to see a design that has such a unique sense of style. The San Francisco icons within the seal head are flat and simplified almost like a hieroglyph. And the shape of the seal’s head is instantly recognizable. Again, simple and iconic was the deciding factor in making this entry a winner.

Thank you to all of you who entered. We’re going to start another contest in a few weeks so you’ll have another chance to win soon. Behind-the-scenes of our first project we did with Mattel starts tomorrow! Pixar, Disney, Mattel, it’s an exciting step in the history of Brandiose. We’re looking forward to sharing that story with you.