2014 Design Competition Winner: 3rd Place
Artist: Jason Nale
Client: Custom Werks

The judges chose Jason Nale's "Custom Werks" design as the third place winner for its excellent layout and skillfully crafted design elements. There is a clear hierarchy to the design elements pulling the most important aspects forward. Upon closer look you'll see many expertly crafted fine details, adding to it's complexity, while still remaining uncluttered. Jason wins his choice of any LHF font.

Fonts used: LHF Unlovable™ and LHF Sinclair

Chuck: We noticed many subtle things in the "Custom Werks" design. Was this a case where the customer had requested a lot of stuff (skulls with his logo on it) and you had to somehow work it into the design?

Jason: No, actually, this was a rare customer who let me do whatever I wanted. This one was just about all me. I was so glad that he left me go wild on this one. I really enjoyed designing it.

Chuck: It's nice to have free reign on a design. Was there any input or direction the client had?

Jason: The customer did recommend the LHF Unlovable™ font to use in it. He had seen me use it before and really liked the way it looked. He also sent me some picture references of some bikes he had built, so that did give me some help and direction. I guess I just picked up what he was really looking for from studying those motorcycle pics. Believe me, I'm not always this lucky, he was a great customer to design for.

Chuck: Can you explain the tools you use?

Jason: As far as tools go, I use an 8-core Mac Pro and a mouse. It has been recommended by many friends that I should upgrade to a tablet of some kind, but I haven't taken the plunge. I feel very comfortable using the mouse.

I use Adobe Illustrator CS3 for all my designs and all of them are in vector format. I like to be able to pick my designs apart if I need to move something around or make changes. I kind of have an odd way of doing things In Illustrator, but I feel comfortable doing them in that way. For instance, I only ever design in one layer. If you open any of the designs I have done, there is a “layer 1” and a “parts” layer. All the work is done in the layer 1. The parts layer contains everything that is not used, original elements that were modified, fonts that were used and not used, copies of the final design, progress designs, etc. I like to have access to everything I used to make the design, just incase I need to make a change or maybe even use some of those unused items for other designs. Another odd thing about my design process is that there is not one stroke in any of my work. I use offset paths for all the outlines, and I really like to use outlines. Also, I do not use prefabricated drop shadow effects. All the drop shadows and shading in my work are vector objects themselves. Again, so I can easily manipulate them.

Chuck: Do you sketch it on paper first?

Jason: There was a time earlier in my career when I would sketch out ideas for designs on paper. Over time, I started realizing that I would change so much from my original drawing, when working on the digital part of the design process, that I now just go right to the computer. I do still think sketching ideas is an important part of the process, but I really only do it if I am stuck on a design or if I am somewhere that I do not have access to my computer. And yes, I usually have some sort of notebook with me at all times just in case. Another thing I will do from time to time, especially on complicated designs or if I am drawing a blank on what to do next, is brainstorm ideas in a list form. Whatever comes to mind when thinking of the design task in front of me. This seems to keep me focused.

See more of Jason Nale's work at: Nazareth Sign Company