IC Farm League

Long before music and design (and almost everything else), there was … baseball.

In the eighties it was our hometown pride and joy – The Bend Bucks – who would later become the Portland Rockies. The Bucks were a single A farm club for the (now) Anaheim Angels. We’d love to hit the games with Dad and grab autographs from the retired major leaguers who were acting coaches for the team. $5 tickets and cheap popcorn didn’t hurt either.

Between Bucks games, the best movie ever created, our own little league games (where I told all my teammates that I was related to this guy), watching the Braves (lose) every waking moment on TBS and our unhealthy addiction to baseball cards (wish we still had this), there was time for little else. In 1989, our family moved to Sacramento and our love of the game got even stronger - thanks to the Giants and these guys across the bay. RIP Candlestick Park.

Fast forward 25 years later. After visiting the beautiful new Ebbets Field Flannels storefront in Seattle a few months back, we came up with a crazy idea to fuse a few of our old passions into one: Baseball, art and … people. People who are making really cool things in the world of baseball – and beyond. We even commissioned our Humble Beast bros in Portland to create some knickerbocker-era music to bring it all together. After coming up with a dream team list (and it was hard to stop at 6), we had our roster.

Enter: Invisible Creature Farm League.

We’ve partnered with Ebbets Field Flannels from Seattle, Mitchell Bat Co. from Nashville, Leather Head Sports from New Jersey, Oxford Pennant from New York, Curtis Clark Woodworks (or, Dad) from California and the uber-talented and undisputed aesthetic king of baseball himself, Jon Contino from New York to bring you IC inspired game gear for your closet, wall, shelf, desk … and even the field.

Have a look around our rookie season and click some stuff. A HUGE thanks to all of our collaborators for an amazing experience. We hope you enjoy …

 

Cover Story

It’s been busy here at IC, to say the least, and we haven’t been updating the blog as often as we’d like. To make up for lost time, here are a handful of new albums we’ve been working on over the past 6 months. Enjoy.

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WovenWar
I’ve been friends with these guys ever since we toured together in 2010, but never had the chance to work with them on a design level. I couldn’t be more pleased with how smoothly everything went. We knew we wanted a cover image that centered around an icon, and the WW mark is something that came to mind instantly after our first conversation. As always, I loved working in simple black and white. Each image is comprised of abstract painted shapes to convey a ink-blot/rorschach vibe. Pre-order the physical package here.

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Tedashii Below Paradise
Taking a page from the late, great Storm Thorgerson book of “doing it for real,” we ventured out into the high desert of Southern California in early 2014 to create this album cover. Caleb Kuhl did a killer job on the photos, Neil Visel was particularly handy with the forklift, and I put too much lighter fluid on the car and we had to call the fire department. Apparently they saw the smoke from a neighboring county. Oops. Grab the physical album here.

Propaganda Crimson Cord
Our pal Prop gave us free reign on his (amazing) new album – we wanted the packaging concept to feel as organic and layered as his music. What may look like paint drips and splatters are (mostly) images of his iconic dreadlocks. Our goal was to blend his soul into the art as much as possible – which was inspired by the album title and album concept. Grab the physical album here.

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Memphis May Fire Unconditional
The guys in MMF came to me with this concept, which I thought was great – that of the bond between father and child. Since my dad happened to be coming to town around this time, I thought it would be a great opportunity to photograph his arm for this cover… and I was able to talk one of my brother’s children into giving us a “hand” as well. Grab the physical album here.

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The Atlas Moth The Old Believer
I’ve always enjoyed creating imagery that is “more than meets the eye.” I also love concepts that allow for some real hands-on interaction. Ideas like this have kept music packaging exciting for me through the years. When The Atlas Moth came to me with a concept that would change the cover image when wet, I thought there was no way we’d get the necessary approval to make it happen. Thanks to the folks at Profound Lore, who, in rare fashion, believe in going the extra mile in the name of artistic endeavor, this amazing idea is something you can now hold (and drench) for yourself. Above are both “before” and “after” versions of the cover. Grab the physical album here.

Lecrae Anomaly
One of our favorite clients, Lecrae (and his label – Reach Records), asked us to work on the follow-up to his last album Gravity, which we had the pleasure of working on in 2012. We enlisted the help of our friends at Shinbone Creative to create Crae’s likeness in 3D wireframe (spot gloss varnish!) form for the cover. The physical packaging will def. be worth checking out. Pre-order that here.

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Killer Be Killed
Working with an entire band of metal visionaries isn’t something I get to do every day. Needless to say, I jumped at the chance. The aesthetic that we really bonded over, and seemed fitting for this project, was that of crusty, gritty, photocopied punk. The real fringe – Discharge, Man Is The Bastard, Doom, Crass, etc. It was a blast getting to work in a style that I love, for awesome guys that totally get it. Grab the physical album here.

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Grieves Winter & The Wolves
Another album cover that’s more than meets the eye. We worked with Grieves to create something really special for 2011′s Together/Apart, and we knew we wanted to do something amazing for this record as well. The actual cover (top image here) features a die cut hole right in the center, where a standing Grieves shows through. When the cover is opened, we see that he’s surrounded by wolves. Careful out there, buddy. Grab the physical album here.

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Insense De:Evolution
I had the pleasure of touring with these guys in Europe during the spring of 2012. We spoke a bit on the road about working together for the artwork on their new record, and I’m stoked that we were able to make it happen. Not to worry – no babies were harmed in the making of this cover. Grab the physical album here.

2014 LEGO SDCC Minifigs

It’s that time of year! SDCC is upon us, so let the mayhem begin. LEGO has officially announced their exclusive minifig offerings this year, so we thought it’d be a good time to show some of the packaging and interiors we had fun with. Each clam shell opens up to reveal Batman of Zur-En-Arrh, Bard The Bowman, The Collector and Uni-Kitty in their own element. Oh, and if you have $4,000 burning a hole in your pocket … grab one of ours from last year with some guy’s name scribbled on it. Thanks to our AD’s Joseph Galluccio and Jennifer Healy! Happy collecting.

‘The Showdown’ Mural for Twitch

We were asked by the great folks at Twitch to create a mural for the PC Gaming Lounge at their new offices in San Francisco. Inspired by gaming culture, the eSport world (5v5 matches) and well, this … we were free to run wild. The result? An epic battle of motley characters, warriors, creatures and one flying chicken. Thanks to David McLeod and Kat Nieh for the fun project.

The Moment

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We recently completed the artwork for Manafest’s new album, The Moment. Our idea was to encapsulate that “leap of faith” moment – in this case, literally, as we see Manafest contemplating clearing possibly the largest gap of all time. You can pre-order the album here while there’s still time! Go!

This Is All We Know

Over the years, Number One Gun has been a source of creative exploration for us. They’ve always been great at essentially giving us free-reign, which has allowed us the room to create some work that we’re really proud of (thanks, Jeff). For this, their newest digital-only release, This Is All We Know, we created a scene made to look like a page cut from a special Twilight Zone Edition of a 1960s Life Magazine. We started with a pre-printed image and added a mysterious mirrored box, nestled into the setting.

Adobe Illustrator CC Tutorial + Poster

Last year we received a call from our favorite software company, asking us if we’d like to preview the soon-to-be-released Illustrator CC. The one caveat was that we had to create whatever we wanted and document how we did it. Our answer? A resounding ‘Awesome!’ and “Uh-oh, what are we going to create?” There were no guidelines, save for a few key words: Modern, fearless and reborn. Adobe’s theme for the new release.

Since we had just recently bought a farm outside of the city, we were in the thick of having our normal lives turned upside down – yet at the same time, we were having a blast with our new lifestyle. ‘Reality. Reborn.’ is inspired by that personal transition … blended together nicely with the amazing new features of Illustrator CC and Adobe’s willingness to give us carte blanche on creative direction.

We’ve been using Adobe’s products for almost 20 years now and rely extensively on their tools to create our projects. Huge thanks to Terry Hemphill and the Adobe team for asking us to do this. We had a lot of fun with CC’s great new features.

Without further ado, download Adobe’s awesome iPad magazine, Inspire to check it all out – or read it online. And to top it all off, grab the mega-huge uber-limited 25″ x 46″ poster in our shop now.

Read about how we went from sketch phase to final color blocking … and how our process always evolves as we work.

One of the coolest new features in CC is the Multiple File Place tool, allowing you to adjust the size of your file before dropping them on the artboard.

CC’s new Touch Type tool is especially great as well, allowing you to manipulate and edit individual characters without creating outlines.

Those are just 2 of my favorite new features. Read about the rest. A few details below:

… and pick up the giant 25″ x 46″ poster in the shop now for only $40.

Firestarter Leroy C.

Just in time for those blistery cold and lonely nights – FIRESTARTER Leroy C. is here! He’ll warm your soul – and toy shelf. We have a super limited run of these, so be sure to get your hot little hands on him quick …

Gift Maker Toys For PNC

We are excited to announce the launch of a fun new project we just finished up with the kind folks at Deutsch NY. Deutsch commissioned IC to create 12 unique character toy designs based on the classic song “The Twelve Days Of Christmas” for PNC’s infamous annual PNC Christmas Price Index. Beyond the task of creating 12 original characters based on the song, we also designed multiple interchangeable parts for each character – over 100 pieces in total. Partridge In A Pear Tree, Turtledove, French Hen, Calling Birds, Golden Rings, Geese-a-Laying, Swans-a-Swimming, Maids-a-Milking, Ladies Dancing, Lords-a-Leaping, Pipers Piping and Drummers Drumming.

The PNC Christmas Price Index site is loads of fun and allows you to create your own toy by selecting various heads, legs, arms, bodies and accessories. When you are done creating your character, PNC calculates the total cost of what your selection would be in 2013, as well as how much it has gone up or down since 2012.

But the coolest part? For 12 days, PNC is selecting 24 lucky winners per day to receive a 3D-printed gift in time for the holidays! Using Makerbot desktop printers, winners will be chosen randomly and selected each day. The more gifts you build, the more chances you have to win. Read more about that here.

We had so much fun with this project, now it’s your turn!

More about PNC Bank’s Christmas Price Index:

The PNC Christmas Price Index® shows the current cost for one set of each of the gifts given in the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”

It began 30 years ago when the chief economist at PNC Bank decided to figure out how much it would cost to buy each of the gifts. Little did he know, he was starting a holiday tradition that continues to this day.

The PNC Christmas Price Index® is similar to the Consumer Price Index, which measures changes in prices of goods and services like housing, food, clothing, transportation and more that reflect the spending habits of the average American.

The goods and services in the PNC Christmas Price Index® are far more whimsical. And most years, the price changes closely mirror those in the Consumer Price Index. It’s a fun way to measure consumer spending and trends in the economy. So even if “pipers piping” or “geese-a-laying” didn’t make your gift list, you can still learn a lot by checking out how their prices have gone up and down over the years.

Deutsch Credits:

Partner/ Chief Creative Officer: Kerry Keenan
SVP, Group Creative Director: Jeremy Bernstein
Senior Copywriter: Matt Moyer
VP, Creative Director: Qian Qian
EVP/Director of Integrated Production:  Joe Calabrese
SVP/Director of Digital Production: Suzanne Molinaro
VP/Executive Digital Producer: Jennifer McBride
Senior Art Producer: Hillary Jackson
Producer: Jillian Cornette

Production Companies:

MediaMonks (creative digital production)
Invisible Creature (toy design & packaging)
3D Printer Experience (3D printing the toys)
ShootersNYC (intro/outro video production)
Director/DP: Craig Needleman
Executive Producer: Jim Huie
Senior Editor: Anthony Marinelli
Account Director: Amy Sweeney

Stack And Scare!

We’re extremely excited to announce that our first line of toys with Uncle Goose is now available! Over a year in the making, Stack And Scare™ is a series of 4 stackable wooden monster block sets. Each Roar! set contains 14-18 pieces in various shapes and sizes. Featuring eyeballs, teeth, horns, arms, rounded shapes for shoulders and eyes, monster heads, hands, feet, legs, torsos, patterns and more. Mix and match shapes or combine with other Stack And Scare™ sets to unleash endless (and taller) creature combinations! Beautifully and meticulously crafted by our friends at Uncle Goose in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Made from FSC certified basswood, using non-toxic inks. Purchase Stack And Scare™ from us, Uncle Goose or independent toy stores everywhere. We designed Stack And Scare™ for everyone at any age. We can’t wait to see what you do with them. Share with us at #stackandscare.

And of course … we thought it would be fitting to create a short “IC Filmmercial” featuring our wooden critters in action. We enlisted our friends in Portland, Beautiful Eulogy, to create a score using the blocks themselves and the result is pretty fantastic. Scroll to the bottom of this post to see how we (and they) made it all happen …

Roar! Set One:

Roar! Set Two:

Roar! Set Three:

Roar! Set Four:

… And check out how we (and Beautiful Eulogy) made the film … Then go grab their new album Instruments Of Mercy, out today.

Missed our original teaser? Check it out.

Water & Guns

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Here’s a look at the album cover we created with long-time friend Aaron Sprinkle, for his newest release, Water & Guns. The Album itself is phenomenal, and Aaron, as usual, gave us his unyielding trust to create something with no boundaries but our own imagination. Water & Guns speaks of (among many other things) Aaron’s recent move across the country, and his long journey to complete this record. Our idea was to represent two polarizing landscapes using abstract shapes. In this case, all pre-printed materials from vintage magazines. Buy this record.

IC Partners With Uncle Goose Toys

We are extremely excited to announce our new partnership with Uncle Goose Toys. Made in Grand Rapids, Michigan for the past 30 years, Uncle Goose is the world’s premiere manufacturer of wooden blocks. We’ve partnered up with their amazing team to bring the highest quality and most creative wooden toys and playsets to the market. With new products and creations lined up through 2015 and beyond, we couldn’t be more thrilled to work with such a passionate company dedicated to their craft.

Hot off their debut at the NY NOW International Gift Show, our first product is titled Stack And Scare. Crafted from replenishable basswood and printed with non-toxic inks, the Stack And Scare series contains four stackable block sets that allow children (and you!) to create and configure hundreds of possible monster options. Before we let too much out of the bag (or box), we’ve put together a teaser film announcing the new line.

Stack And Scare will be available in retail locations worldwide and through our shop beginning in October. Stay tuned for the big launch …

We were in the big apple for their debut at the NY NOW show …

… and we visited the UG workshop in Grand Rapids this month to check out the progress.

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IC Speaks At LEGO

We had the great privilege and honor of speaking at LEGO‘s internal Design Camp last week – a day away from the office for the creative team in beautiful Enfield, Connecticut. Scott Decoteau, along with the talented and generous crew at LEGO, were gracious hosts during our time in New England. Highlights of the trip included the LEGO HQ tour (wow), dangerously delicious indian food, bowling and sharing sentimental stories about the infamous drawstring denim LEGO bag.

To commemorate our talk, we decided to make some things. One of them being a poster of us creating our new mark out of 4,236 bricks – flown in from all over the world. After 2 hot days, 1 broken mallet (don’t ask), 6 iced coffees and 3 blisters, the mosaic came to life. Extra special thanks to LEGO for supplying the baseplates.

Unfortunately these posters and prints are not for sale, but who knows – we may throw some in future IC poster orders …

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A New Mark

As we enter into our seventh year here at IC, we’ve decided to give our iconic mummy mark an upgrade.

The reenvisioning of our logomark is something we have been considering for some time. With a consciousness for particularly small uses (social media icons, products, packaging, clothing tags, etc.) we sought out for a bold, timeless mark that stands strong in every possible scenario. With a handful of new projects/products on the horizon, we decided that now is the time.

The original mark I created in 2006 was inspired by skateboard graphics and other pop art from our coming of age. Although it feels somewhat classic in its own right, the detailed style has proved to be limiting over the years.

Our goal was to create a simpler, more streamlined version of our classic “cyclops mummy,” keeping its overall concept (and hopefully its recognizability) in tact, but modernized and with a broader range of usability.

We explored a variety of shapes for the head itself – a perfect circle, a rectangle with rounded corners, etc. In the end, it was imperative that it truly convey a head shape, so we landed on what we refer to as the “egg.”

Aside from the logo’s core theme, we also knew we’d be sticking with our classic color scheme. It feels as integral to our brand as the mark itself, and allows us to maintain our focus. Another benefit of this new mark is our ability to explore varying combinations of these colors depending on its use. The solid white or yellow wrap will be the primary marks, while the shaded versions – with white highlights on the yellow wrap, and yellow lowlights on the white wrap, give us more detailed options as well.

A minor but important detail was the small piece of wrap peeking around the backside of the mummy head. It’s a subtle inclusion, but it truly helps the read. It was necessary that this piece be included, but without jeopardizing the true center of the new mark.

You’ll also notice the inclusion of an ® mark. With the recent registration of our brand name and identity, it’s time to make it official.

And of course, we celebrate this momentous occasion with some swag. New T-Shirts are available for pre-order (shipping mid-late September) as well as new silk-screened die-cut stickers.

IC x LEGO x SDCC

Comic-Conners! Head over to the LEGO booth and check out the FREE 2013 SDCC Exclusive Superhero Minifigures! We had the pleasure of designing and illustrating the packaging, 2 for Marvel (Spiderman & Spiderwoman) and 2 for DC (Superman & Green Arrow). Each carrier folds out to create an action-packed city backdrop for your Superhero. From what we’ve heard, these go pretty fast – so Tweet or Instagram us if you grab one! Gigantic thanks to Scott Decoteau and the team at LEGO for the super (get it?) fun project.

Spacehack Mural for Facebook

A few months ago we were approached by the kind folks at Facebook, asking if we’d be interested in creating a mural for their offices here in Seattle. It sounded like heaps of fun, so we signed up. They gave us a few keywords that represented the culture and atmosphere at Facebook. ‘Making The World More Connected’ and ‘Hacker’ got the most votes internally, so we dug into those ideas as our direction. Inspired by Ben Barry’s in-house postings, we based our piece on combining both thoughts – the idea of going beyond the ‘world’ being more connected intrigued us. Facebook existing outside of planet Earth seems like an attainable goal, so that’s where we landed. Once again we worked with our friend Don Rockwell on the application of the mural and it turned out pretty spectacular. See our quick and fun ‘Making Of’ film below:

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Gennadiy

We’re extremely thrilled to take part in the campaign for a new film titled Gennadiy. Our friends, Steve Hoover and Danny Yourd, the visionaries behind the powerful and moving Blood Brother documentary, have been hard at work on this incredible film and are now looking to finish the project with a little help from you. Visit the Kickstarter campaign here, where you can view the trailer, read about the film, and learn all the ways you can contribute to ensure its completion!

Once the campaign reaches $10,000 the poster that we created for the film will be revealed.

Dog On A Hog

Fire up the V-Twin and pick up our new Biker Bullseye Gift Card for Target – in stores now. Complete with ultra-cool chromium reflective foil stamping technology in person! Below are a few initial sketches we provided the client before we began illustrating the final card — but see the whole process here.

Illustrator: Don Clark / Sketch Artist: Doug Oudekerk / Art Directors/Designers: Scott Gilson & David Ledsinger / Writer: Aaron Muther / Production Designer: Sarah Schroeder / Creative Manager: Ted Halbur

We Built This City

We’re excited to reveal our new cover for Minorville, the upcoming album from Nashville’s finest: Derek Minor. With the help of Curtis Clark (or ‘Dad’, as we like to call him), we designed this from the ground up in approx. 2 weeks. With over 100 feet of basswood and baltic birch, Dad took our design and created an entire city in 50 hours. Each structure arrived safely in Seattle, ready to be constructed in the shape of Derek’s profile. When we were initially presented with the challenge of creating this album cover, this was the first concept we pitched – Many thanks to Derek and Reach Records for sending us off and running. Stay tuned for a full comprehensive “Making Of” film coming in the next few weeks, but for now – enjoy the teaser (Processed using VSCO film emulation):

2013 South Lake Union Block Party

Oh Summer, where art thou? It’s always a pleasure working with Josh Lackey and our friends at Vulcan Real Estate. Here is our poster art for the 2013 South Lake Union Block Party, happening Friday August 9th and benefitting The Center For Wooden Boats. Printed on 80 lb. Cougar Opaque stock. See you at the beer garden.

 

ABOUT

Founded in 2006 by Don & Ryan Clark, Invisible Creature is a
multi-disciplinary design and illustration studio based in Seattle, WA.

NEW IN THE SHOP

  • IC Farm League

    Pennant

  • IC Farm League

    Embroidered Patch

  • IC Farm League

    Ebbets Field Ballcap

  • IC Farm League

    ICFL T-Shirt

NEW WORK

  • Invisible Creature

    Farm League

  • Stack And Scare!

    Stackable Monster Blocks

  • Captain Bullseye's

    Build-A-Plane!

  • Keys To The City

    South Lake Union Mural

LIL'HAPPY CLUB SUBMISSIONS

FROM THE BOOKSHELF

FROM THE TOYSHELF