After winning The Clink Room’s Taco Shop League Challenge, New Yorker and loyal Clinker, Kevin Werther, has been keeping busy. In conjunction with the recent “Reboot” release of the winning design, HAT CLUB 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