Sports-entertainment can be serious business. Scowls, snarling, and toughness are the images we tend to focus on in most all the projects we work on, but occasionally you get to have a little more fun with the brand and treat our outlandish characters with the whimsy they deserve. Here are some cartoonish-style shirts I've worked on in the past few years. Some produced, some not. If you're any bit of wrestling fan, you'll get some of the inside jokes.
Rarely do I get one shirt design chosen and produced for any one WWE talent, let alone TWO, but with Alexa Bliss, this was the case.
Little Miss Bliss was her first shirt with WWE and it was an absolute hit, and it remained near on the top of the shirt sales chart for month. So I was honored when I got the job to top it with her second. Simple brief, she wanted to be a creepy voodoo doll, so Twisted Bliss was a pretty solid solution.
You could fill a football stadium with the amount of cool designs never see the light of day at WWE for one reason or another. Here are a few of my favorites that almost made it to market.
My final project I worked on at Flying Dog Brewery was a the Flying Dog Holiday Collection packaging. We partnered with Otterbein's Cookies to create four separate beers, meant to pair with different cookies already in production out of the Baltimore mainstay. If you've spent any time in Maryland, you've definitely seen the iconic red checkerboard pattern. So, it was a no brainer to take that imagery and "Flying Dog" it up.
For some reason in my senior quotes, I wrote that as one of my goals. I wasn't even a fan of KISS, but I was a weird kid... who ended up growing up to be a weird adult. Either way, I never would have guessed that I would have (indirectly) gotten to work on a project for Gene Simmons. WWE Studios partnered with The Demon himself to start a new horror imprint. My logo got chosen and starting with Temple, there will be at least 3 films made with this logo hidden somewhere in the credits.
Here's some of the sketches that would eventually lead to the final logo.
While not chosen, this one was my clear favorite.
Without doubt, my favorite project I've worked on since starting to work with WWE. One of the companies most popular superstars, The New Day, began talking about how eating (an at the time imaginary) Booty-O's cereal made sure they weren't "booty". It was only a matter of time before we were tasked with designing a mock cereal box/t-shirt combo to sell at events. Since that release, they included it in their WRESTLEMANIA 32 ENTRANCE AND launched a REAL CEREAL!!!
Earlier this year I helped a friend out with some political cartoons for my hometown paper. Unfortunately, things never took off, but I figure I'd share. On the plus side, the project got me refamiliarized with my love of drawing cartoons. Now I try to draw for the fuck of it as time allows (or if my creative tank isn't empty when I get home from work). Anyways, heres the three we collaborated on. News links below each image so you know what the hell you're looking at.
Say what you will about people that drink with any regularity, but they aren't widely regarded as the most consistent or dependable people. As with everything during my tenure at Flying Dog Brewery, this project was way more of a headache than it was probably worth, but being that we had done a previous cookbook a few years prior that I wasn't 100% happy with, I wanted to knock this one out of the park.
If anything good came out of this project, it gave me that final push to take the initiative and get a job that I'm passionate about. Sometimes a slap in the face is all you need to wake up.
It took me about 2 months working at WWE to gain the trust necessary to drive and develop a project from start to finish. The project that tipped the scales was The Road is Jericho. This was a new home video collection that showcased veteran superstar Chris Jericho telling road and match stories from the span his epic career.
The selling point of this was that on top of the match content, it showcased Y2J in the back of a limousine, in between gigs, in a 1-on-1 format doing commentary. I have to believe this idea came from Jericho's podcast and his innate skill of storytelling (inside and outside the ring).
While there were several other options developed by our amazing creative services team and myself, this was the one ultimately chosen.
I don't do a lot of pro-bono work, but when the lady who brought you into this world comes asking, you tend to oblige. It doesn't hurt when she has a cause that you can actually get behind.
Since 2013, she's been heavily involved in the seniors community with her business A Life Well Lived. Their primary function is to assist people getting their houses in order before they start to deteriorate physically and mentally. She needed a marquee event to help raise awareness for her organization, so she paired with Friends Meals on Wheels of Frederick County.
I almost made it a full year without posting new work on my site and/or blog. Kind of defeats the whole purpose of paying that domain fee, huh?
Been a crazy year that's for sure. Sometimes life has a habit of sending you on a weird trip that you never saw coming. Last year about this time, I was offered a job at World Wrestling Entertainment, which if you know me now or as a child, is absolutely bonkers. I've been a closeted pro wrestling fan for most of my life. Taping Saturday Night's Main Event and watching it over and over again. We didn't have cable, and our reception out at our house wasn't great, so I've seen/heard Macho Man yell at Hulk Hogan about the lust in his eyes (through TV fuzz) over a hundred times at least. I bought every wrestling action figure that I could afford with my allowance, sometimes saving my lunch money all week. If they didn't make one of someone, I would get out a box of sculpey and paint and make my own. When I got older and the testosterone started to flow, I got involved what is now known as "backyard wrestling" with my friends. I escaped relatively unscathed, with only a separated shoulder, stitches in my mouth, and a concussion to speak of.
Needless to say, I took the job. I moved up to Stamford, Connecticut in October. Didn't know anyone there, save for a few friends about an hours distance away in New York City. No doubt its been interesting. I've never been required to work at such a rate of speed, and I've spent more hours pathing and silhouetting half-naked men (and women) than I care to speak of.
This was one of the first projects I worked on when I started working there. Its not anything groundbreaking in the grand scheme of things, but I'll always hold it in high regard for what it represents: Following your dreams even when they are bound to cause you great discomfort. Sometimes you have to look back to the things that made you happy as a kid.
I hope my 7-year-old self is proud of me.
A few years ago, Flying Dog Brewery wanted to take a crack at an open source beer project that would supply the basic ingredients for some of our most popular beers and make kits available to the public to take a crack at brewing them. The below label/logo was used on all the kits.
We're now entering year four of the Flying Dog Movie Series at the Weinberg Center, and each year I try to do a little fine tuning to a pretty straight-forward take on the minimalist poster design genre. Taking the "fucked-up and photocopied" style I've come to love and use frequently, I felt the most representative image I could take from "Dazed and Confused" was taking Slater's words of If you're gonna sign that paper man. you should throw a little grass right in the middle, man. Roll it up, sign the joint, man, and bringing it to life.
The movie runs at the Weinberg Center in Frederick, MD on September 25th. TICKETS HERE
Flying Dog Brewery was recently asked to sponsor and brand a prime location at RavensWalk at M&T Bank Stadium, conveniently located beneath the MLK boulevard underpass. After hours and days of strategic marketing meetings, we lovingly named it "The Flying Dog Underpass", or for brevities sake, "The Underpass."
Anways, here's the final logo I developed for it. Look for it in action before and during every Baltimore Raven's home game.
I keep saying I'll start doing more hand drawn type when the job calls for it. Pretty happy how this came out.
It seems a bit comical that keeping your web portfolio current isn't a priority for a lot of designers. Unfortunately, I'm not an exception to this defective quality, but like most people in the new year I have hope that this year will be different and that change is possible. Here's hoping I can keep it up for more than a month, and you're welcome to follow along in my voyage in the strange world of graphic design.