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It’s all in the details.

Published on February 28, 2018

A few years ago, I was approached to design an identity for a new nightclub in Las Vegas. Visually, they wanted to have the same look and feel of vintage muscle cars from the late ’60s and early ’70s. When taking on any new project, it is imperative to fully understand not only the needs & goals of the project, but also deliver an interpretation of the project that exceeds the vision of the customer since it is the designer’s responsibility to add value & expertise to the project. I was fortunate to own a 1970 Chevelle, and I was like many kids who grew up appreciating all of those cars. I was able to draw from those experiences to create what would be a classic design that holds true to the iconic hood badge designs from that era.

Why does this design work so well? It features several details that bring a sense of realism and authenticity. The perfection is in the imperfections. Since the overall concept lies in the time period of the late ’60s and early ’70s, this design needed to show age without sacrificing the vibrant and shiny characteristics of the subject. These details can be seen in the pitted chrome and rust stains on the surface. Even the black edgework has irregularities consistent with exposure to the elements. One feature that really brings that extra dimension is the refraction of specific objects that mimic the distortion created by light passing through domed clear acrylic.

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Like most experienced designers know, identities must also work in simple applications. There have been several examples of identities that work well in full color but those same designs will suffer when reduced to a black and white format for simple applications. Here is the same design simplified.

You can’t buy this level of attention to detail from those discount web sites offering “professional” designs for $10. Additionally, you can’t simply apply the bevel filter in Photoshop and expect realistic results. It simply just can’t happen. Understandably, organizations face budgetary constraints, and choices have to be made where to invest those funds. However, this level of polish does not have to break the bank either. Utilizing my personal knowledge about the subject in addition to my extensive knowledge of illustration allowed me to quickly develop a rock-solid identity for an organization who is still going strong to this day.