Clinker Kevin Werther Interview

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After winning The Clink Room’s Taco Shop League, New Yorker and loyal Clinker, Kevin Werther, has been keeping busy. In conjunction with the recent “Reboot” release of the winning design, we decided to catch up with Kevin and discuss the inspiration behind the original design, what it takes to be a “Clinker,” and why he enjoys Clink Room contests so much.

You currently work as a designer at Crosman Corporation. What is it like creatively, designing for the The Clink Room vs. designing for clients?

There is a really fun, open, “anything goes” vibe to the Clink Room contests. Casey and Jason really encourage everyone to push the boundaries and to have fun with the designs. In the “real world” I find there are so many restrictions that can really temper creativity. You really have to look actively to bend the rules. There is so much pressure in the Clink Room contests to be clever, original, and of course, talented. Every contest is a struggle to bring out my best against so many other talented designers and illustrators. Winning these contests is a blast, and losing them is always very disappointing for me.

What does it mean to be a “Clinker” and how did you get involved with The Clink Room?

To me, being a “Clinker” means being willing to put yourself out there with silly ideas and your art, and then being willing to take the constructive criticism provided to keep growing as an artist. I stumbled upon The Clink Room right in the very beginning of its existence, though I can’t remember the date. I am very interested in sports logos and uniforms, and I was excited when I heard about their blog and that was going to give us behind-the-scenes access to their work. Creating sports logos professionally is my dream job, so I was eager to soak up anything and everything Casey and Jason were willing to share. From there, the contests started, and I was hooked. I can’t think of too many other sites where you can have a direct relationship with such talented designers. I have been very fortunate to be able to trade emails and phone calls with Casey, and my illustration skills have grown tremendously from my relationship with their site and contests.

Please tell us about the Taco Shop League design challenge and what was your inspiration and creative process behind your design?

The Taco Shop League challenge was born out of Brandiose’s San Diego hometown culture. We were challenged to create a visual identity for a taco shop that is part of some sort of league—maybe a softball league or something, I guess. My goal was to come up with something clever that would make me stand out—which in my mind translates into bad puns. My first submission was a northern-based team called the “Chilly Peppers” (get it?) and featured a pepper swinging a bat. My next submission was the Taco Bulls, which as you might have noticed, is another bad pun. The original design was of a taco/bull creature. That design got a lot of praise from other participants, but Casey challenged me to push it further. He was concerned about how well a hat with a taco on it might sell (and I was a bit skeptical, too). I’m glad he pushed me further because I am really happy with the chili pepper bull that we ended up with. I had submitted three or four totally different concepts, and we settled on the pepper. Early on in the contest, I did really horrible little thumbnail sketches of anything I could think of that seemed appropriate—a mariachi band, a burrito swinging a bat, those really cool Aztec pyramids, etc.

Any exciting projects coming up?

Currently, I am continuing my day job as a graphic designer for Crosman Corporation which keeps me very busy. I have a few freelance projects on the side going on as well, but mostly, I’m looking forward to the next Clink Room contest. Those contests are a really great way to stimulate my creativity, and to learn from Brandiose and all the other participants.

Kevin’s portfolio can be seen at www.KevinWerther.com

Interview originally posted at HatClub.com

Q & A with Kevin Werther

We love to go behind-the-scenes of pretty much anything. (Maybe not a Spam factory.) One way that we thought we could go behind-the-scenes is by doing a Q & A with designers who have had their designs picked for production here on Clink. We thought we’d start with perennial all-star and all-around nice guy Kevin Werther of Taco Bulls fame. Here’s a short conversation we had about his experience…
What was the process of coming up with the Taco Bulls design?
I had already used a chili pepper for my first concept, so I was trying to think of where else I could go with things. My next few sketches involved a burrito, a mariachi band, and Aztec temples but nothing was jumping off the page. I enjoy clever wordplay and bad puns, and that is where my mind went next. I thought of the name “Taco Bulls” as a bad pun capitalizing off the brand equity of Taco Bell. I felt that it gave my name instant recognition and the “Bulls” added the necessary sports/aggression component for the logo. From there it was just a matter of finding the best way to marry the two together. I was having too much fun to worry about how ridiculous the whole idea really was.

Did you feel like the cap and tee was a good realization of your vision?
I really do. I am the only one—to my knowledge—who actually got to design two logos and have both produced. That is very exciting for me. The taco logo was very well received by the Clink Room’s viewership, but I shared the same concern as the guys about how viable it would be to really sell a hat with a taco on it. The real fun came in finding yet another way to push the concept even further, which is where the chili pepper bull came into play. I had done two other logo options for the hat, but the chili pepper one was the strongest. It was a bit difficult at first because I had some differences of opinion in terms of colors with the application of my logos onto the hat/shirt, but it was an amazing opportunity to work with (and learn from) Plan B, so I was glad to take all the feedback they could give me.

What was it like to see your cap in the Clink store?
Very exciting! My dream job is to create sports logos, identities and brands, so when the hat went up for sale in a small way, I felt like I had made it. That still is my dream job, and I take every contest on the Clink Room as an opportunity to practice, get critiqued, and hopefully impress some people. My only regrets are that now that I have a baby, I don’t have the time that these projects deserve. I would really love to delve into some crazy designs, but with my time being restricted, I like to work fast and then get comments from people to react to.

What was it like to see your hat in photos, being worn by people from allover the World?
It’s very surreal. I think the first time I saw my hat in a photo was the gentleman from Australia wearing it. Its mind blowing that not only is someone wearing my hat, but someone across the world is wearing it! Coupled with seeing a t-shirt I did for another site actually worn by a comedian on TruTV a few weeks back, I am floored.

What would you like Clink to do with your design next?
I hadn’t really thought much about it. I’m not sure how well my design is selling compared to others to know how viable it is to keep using it, but I would be incredibly flattered if it is used again. Maybe stickers or patches of the chili bull would be cool.

Do you have any advice for people creating their own designs for Clink’s collaboration Leagues?
Don’t hesitate to enter because you aren’t as accomplished of a designer as you would like to be. I am a professional designer and I have already learned so much that improved my skills just from the critiques on my logos and from viewing other people’s work on this site. I feel like my skills are getting so much stronger and I feel confident that I can have a logo be in strong competition with anyone else’s in any contest Clink throws at me. I don’t want to just compete, I want to be the best. There are some AMAZING illustrators on this site and I know I have my work cut out for me to win, but I am sure going to try!

Thanks Kevin!

If there are any questions that you’d like asked to people who have won you can email or post them in the comments section. I’m sure Kevin will reply in there as well. Kick this weekend’s ass everyone!

Kevin – Just Do Work!

We get asked a lot, “Can you give me any tips on designing, getting into this business and how do you come up with unique ideas?” Kevin gives us a master class is how it’s done. Get an idea, and work it till you can’t work it any further, put it down, and then work it again. And then repeat, repeat, repeat. Really inspirational stuff. Kevin put together a great PDF with even more work and a narrative of how it went down. Download the PDF here… Support work by grabbing a Kevin designed hat and tee here

Taco Bulls – Launch Video

Finally! This makes Kong the official spokesman for Clink. Like our very own studio elf. These are really fun for us. We look at them as a chance to learn something new. With this video, we wanted to animate a character. I worked on it in my free time at night with my new baby strapped to me in his sling. Animate, burp, animate, change a diaper. Some parts are a little crude but we’ll get better the next time around. Sorry for the wait Kevin, hope you dig it! (Thanks also to T.J.’s Kong illustration for the inspiration.)

The Clink Room’s – Taco Bulls from The Clink Room on Vimeo.

Not that you need a reminder but Kevin’s Taco Bulls are now available here

Taco Bulls – Now Available

Jason and I are headed to Santa Barbara for the weekend to celebrate the wedding of one of our best buddies (Congrats Mike and Veronica!). Normally we drop new products on Sundays, but we thought we’d try something new. So….

NOW AVAILABLE! Our first collaboration contest cap designed by Kevin Werther. The Taco Bulls’ release represents the end of a long drawn-out process but we’re excited to begin the next chapter in Clink’s history. Have we mentioned that all or collaboration hats are going to be made by New Era from now on? Did we?

Taco Bulls now available!

Oh yeah, forgot to mention this badass tee that we made to go along with this drop. The Taco Bull in it’s full glory the way God and Kevin intended. A little allusion to a certain basketball great to add to the sizzle. Grab the tee here.

Kick this weekend’s ass everyone. PS. To everyone who digs our little videos that we do for each drop. Don’t fret. We’ve got one cooking and will unveil it next week.

Chupacabras and Pollos – Still on Sale!

Now that New Era will be making all of our collaboration hats into the foreseeable future, we want to turn the page on the experiment that was the first run of Chupacabras and Pollos Terrible. (How fun would it be to see these designs in a 59/50? Maybe!?) Well, if you grabbed one of these guys already, you know how cool they are in real life. All those bells and whistles really made them something special. So grab em while the grabbin’s good. And at only $25! Plus you get the new patch! The rent may be too damn high but the price of these hats ain’t.

Click here to grab yours…

Taking a Cue From You

We had a lot of fun messing around with Erick’s vision for the Pollo’s Terrible. With these first few winners we wanted to set the tone with the types of tees that Clink would offer. Sometimes we’ll get an idea and run with it, sometimes we’ll get amazing submissions from you guys and it’s off to the printers right away.

With Pollos Terribles it was fun to image what the rest of the rotting chicken would look like. Part zombie, part salmonella factory, part minor league.