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 …

 

Don Clark, Circa 1938

Here’s a fun photo of our grandfather, Don Clark (great name, right?) at around 10-12 years old (which should put this at around 1938-1940) with a few home-made wooden toys he had created. Dad got his supreme woodworking chops from this man. Love that Model A-esque rig in the background!

Dril One x Leroy C.

New commission for the shop shelf: Seriously bitchin’ war-torn battle-scarred vintage Leroy C. by the talented Dril One. Epic.

Kids

Stumbled upon this yesterday. Circa 2001 with Mr. Arges at our first studio – almost 10 years ago exactly. Where did all the time go?

The Way It Was, V.2

In this series I’m going to try my best not to compare apples to oranges. I understand there are vast differences in technology, ideology, legality, etc between designs of the past and designs of the present. However, I believe there was, is, and will always be a way to almost objectively design something properly. To me, this means a design that is well executed, aesthetically pleasing and properly communicative… in relation to whatever is being “sold.”

TWIW, V.2 is in regard to travel advertising. In this case, specifically cruises. Here are my thoughts on the ads in question:

1. I don’t even know where to start. How about the copy? Clearly one is simply advertising a specific cruise ship, while the other goes into much more detail about the price, locations, discounts, dates, etc., but that in itself says something about modern advertising’s problem with forcing too much information into a single ad. Add to that the tragedy of 5+ arbitrarily used fonts and typesetting that seems to make no sense at all. Except of course for the legal line, which is strategically set in black type over a dark portion of the image. Crafty.

2. We used to marvel at things like the massive Cunard cruise ship, shown above. But as technology and engineering progress, we’re less interested in how we’ll be getting to our destination and more interested in where it’s taking us (and how much it will cost). But aren’t these ads for the cruise itself? If you just want to go to The Bahamas, you can fly there in a fraction of the time. This is about the experience of the cruise. And as you can see in the more recent ad, the actual cruise ship has become an afterthought; a footnote.

3. As for the imagery, we’re faced with the obvious difference between professional designer and someone with a personal computer. Before the computer we relied on professionals to do the job of advertising. They were skilled in their craft. They knew type and composition and cohesion and color. They designed because they were good at it. I know I’m stating the obvious here, (and there’s a heaping helping of irony as I sit here and type this) but it’s a bit of a bummer that the computer has turned every civilized human into a jack-of-all-trades.

4. In the end, one is clearly worth framing and displaying in your home, and the other is sure to end up in a trash bin. I refuse to believe that we collect things that are “vintage” purely based on nostalgia. The bottom line is that, in most cases, that old stuff is flat out better than the garbage that we see today.

The Way It Was #001

I had the idea a while back to post about the perils of modern design, specifically in regard to rebranding, the evolution of a particular design and things of that nature. I’ve decided to finally pull the trigger and go for it. As my brother has begun posting a series dedicated to our grandfather, I thought this might be the right time. After all… the time period in which our grandfather was designing will often be the era in which my postings will refer to.

“The Way It Was” will be a study (and occasional pseudo-rant) about a particular design of the past, and a directly (or at least somewhat) related piece from recent years.

TWIW #001 is based on an email conversation I had with a few like-minded friends a couple of years ago. The subject in this case is a box of Trix cereal. Target had announced that it was re-issuing old General Mills cereal box designs for a limited time, (God bless design-savvy corporations) and in being reminded of that classic old box design, I couldn’t help but dissect the modern design and suppose what it’s trying to tell today’s consumer. Here are my thoughts:

1. The logo, once simple and bold, is now 3-dimensional, has a white stroke, yellow bevel, and emboss. ALL of which have gradients. Somehow this “pops” more.

2. Since brand loyalty is dead, the nice big General Mills logo at the top of the box (which I’m sure used to assure people of the reliability and integrity of the product) is replaced by a very small GM logo, overpowered by a “whole grain guarantee” and a list of other nutritional values. Not that nutrition is anything to shrug at, but let’s be real- this is Trix.

3. The cereal itself isn’t enough anymore, so there has to be added incentive to buy. In this case, there’s an ad for “fruitalicious” games on the back of the box.

4. The fun-loving bunny on cute roller skates is replaced by (honestly) what seems to be an INSANE rabbit, literally throwing Trix at you.

5. Lastly, and probably most importantly, the modern box has a disclaimer sentence that reads something like “cereal shown not actual size,” because people are so stupid (or assumed to be so stupid) that they can’t comprehend that the 1″ macro-lens-photographed meteor puffs on the front of the box are bigger than they actually are.

Hunt & Gather

Apartment Therapy just posted an article about an antique store called Hunt & Gather in Minneapolis, MN. I’m currently searching for airfare as we speak.

Not really, but this looks like some sort of paradise.

Top Ten Online Shops For Vintage Furniture

Bookmark time! Apartment Therapy just posted an article featuring the ‘Top Ten’ online shops for vintage furniture and accessories. Now you know what to do this weekend.

Blue Notes

Fact #1: Reid Miles is a personal design hero of mine (as evident in my approach for Chris Cornell’s Carry On album).

Fact #2: Japanese website Vintage Vanguard just made my year. 

Via Drawn!

Modernist Gas Stations

You’ll never look at gas stations the same again. Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies Van der Rohe, Arne Jacobsen … I had no idea they also contributed epic work to the world of auto fuel. I am guessing it was a tad cheaper by the gallon back then, no?

Thanks Frank.

Nerdbots

I am loving Nerdbots (and their site) – and may just have to pick one up. 

“Oddly obsessed with all things robot, married couple Nicholas and Angela from Kansas City, Missouri, decided on a whim one day to do nothing other than to build one themselves.”

I’m starting to feel partial to Drip, but Beamer looks like he may need a hug

Via Yewknee

Grain Edit Turns 1!

Congratulations to Grain Edit for turning 1! One of my favorite sites on the interweb is throwing a big birthday bash, offering giveaways from some pretty stinking amazing artists. Grab a slice of cake and enter to win!

MoModerne

Loving Anna Weiss’ home AND blog!

Vintage Kitchen Ads

Loving these illustrated vintage kitchen ads over at the See Saw blog.

Via Mid-Century Modernist

Otto

While we were on tour last month, we had a chance to walk around Fullerton in So Cal and hit some of the cool vintage and music shops. We stumbled upon Otto, which was by far my favorite. Full of mid-century goodness of all kinds, it was hard for me to walk out of there without emptying the bank. I did however manage to score some Gama-Go goods and a miniature LCW to match my life-size version. Score.

ABOUT

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

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