I picked up a brief interest in gaming videos back in 2014-2015 When Pewdiepie was white hot and gaining subs like noone ever before him. Among the things i kept up with and searched a lot for was content concerning the new Legend of Zelda game that they started teasing in 2014 ish. That content was scarce at best back then, but has gained a lot of exposure, views and attention before and around the time Breath of the wild Finally released.
Back when i started looking for this content. I stumbled across this guy by the name of HMK on Youtube. a relatively new youtuber at thetime with less than 40k subs at the time i started watching. because the new Zelda was becoming a more and more hot topic, he was garnering a lot of attention and positive reactions for his content. and his very unique physical appearence easily distinguished him from just about anyone else on the platform. While skeptical to begin with, i subbed to the guy, and kept up with his Zelda videos.
At this stage id say my photoshop skills were getting quite adept, i could replicate or create just about anything with a little time. in HMK’s case, his graphic design package consisted of a metal plate background with flames of various colors burning in front of them. While this was an interesting visual, it was distracting, and perhaps not the most aesthetically pleasing thing you could use for a video background and or social media branding.
One day i was watching his Twitch livestream. and i thought to myself. «im making that guy a new goddamn twitch layout, because i just god damn want to.» and one hour ish later. I had this new layout ready and rendered. Whats interesting here was that i had not consulted with him at all before making the layout. i just made it because i got inspired and threw something
together. and as shown on the images, it.. closely resembled the layout he already had, but a bit more and dare i say a bit more structured than the layout he had. Shortly after finishing, i sent him the files over a business email that i found on his youtube channel.
Not thinking at all about him perhaps using it or whatever. Because «how dare this norwegian stranger come in and tell me that my shit looks bad and the shit he has made is cooler.» was my attitude. Much to my surprise and with no prior notice, next time i tuned into his twitch stream, the layout i had made was the one he was using. i remember spontaneously pointing at the screen and yelling, «THATS MY SHIT!» And he gave me a whole bunch of shoutouts and got in touch with me over email. We exchanged pleasant emails and the work was cool enough, at one point, after i had done his new twitch layout, i had made a pattern consisting of Zelda and Kingdom hearts pictograms (His channel focuses on these two series primarily) That replaced the metal plate flame graphics he had been using. The pattern with the various logos was a consistent aeesthetic that many others in his circle were using, but none incorporated zelda and KH in one thing. That pattern is being used to this day in videos and on his social media marketing material. Interstingly, he put his own spin on the pattern and made it red, which made it even cooler.
But once the Pattern became such a staple of his videos, i thought, «well now his twitch layout is the odd piece of content.» and so i sketched out a new one. That incorporated the pattern, and also added a new element. a clean 8 bit font called 8bit Wonder, that you can find on dafont.com. while the Digital Alarm clock font that is on his logo is fine, it isn’t an as pleasing font to look at when there is a lot of it. aswell as 8bit is derived from gaming and classics such as super mario or zelda. so it was a perfect fit. i think he dug it, as he still to this day uses this very same font on virtually all of his youtube thumbnails.
This layout went through a reskin at the end of the year to tone down the red a bit. but beyond that this aesthetic was his primary one for 2016 to the beginning of 2017. in 2016 i should mention, two more very cool things happened considering HMK and my working relation, he comissioned me to do a custom HMK Kingdom Hearts HUD. Which was prominently featured in his «Keyblade cut video.» in the live action portion of the video. link attached below. And after that, He was kind enough to also pick a suggestion i had for a series name. the series was called «Hypeotheticals» where he would ask and elaborate on questions that seemingly had no answer yet. I did the series logo and thumbnail motive. The video where he announces this can be found below.
Early 2017 rolled around and was asked to make another rendition of the layout we had been doing, in which it was to be more Breath of the wild inspired. effectively it became a reskinning to some extent of his existing set up, it looked ok, but i didnt feel i ha put much effort into it beyond that.
In mid 2017. He reached out to me again, His livestream setup was about to take a production quality leap, and so his visuals had to be consistent with that. In came my finest piece of work ive done for him yet. it became a combination of all the things i had composed for him previously, with some added flare to it, we cleaned up a lot of the screen, and made a very cool design both for the instream layout, but also for his banners, buttons, and such. I still very much think it looks cool, sorta action movie poster inspired somehow.
I have had a small brush of work with HMK in 2018 aswell, seen as we both liked the previous version we had made in 2017, my task was as simple as switching out the artwork, and doing some minor adjustments with placement and sizes, still keeping the motive relatively simple, as the point has been since i started doing work with this creator.
Being part of the evolution of his channel from below 40k, to now over 120K subs. And helping direct and shape the graphic design direction of his channel and content, it’s been a very positive expirience.
Go check out HMK on youtube by clicking this link
The Keyblade Cut Video