Gundersen Motorsport

 

 

 

Gundersen Motorsport was a longtime employer of my services for a lot of things, both with running their website, their vast webshop. Also, and perhaps most importantly, I had the sole responsibility for their marketing material. How their material should look, how it would evolve, and how it would be presented on their various platforms.

Initial Marketing

I was hired as a full time employee back in late 2014. The nicest way to describe their marketing at the time, is that it was very lackluster. It lacked creativity to a fault, and skillwise Id say there was no fundamental skill to be found in any manner. Case and point, my typical guidelines for making the marketing to begin with was «white background, black text», the most uninspiring thing you could possibly do as a graphic designer basically. This could be for one or two reasons. One, my store manager had no prior experience with photoshop and its capabilities, or two, he was blissfully ignorant of the fact that I had gone to a bit of school and worked with designing for at the time 2-3 years. even after seeing my CV…

So I started taking liberties, Motorsports is such a broad field, with so many things you can pull inspiration and clever marketing from, its pretty easy work really. Something as little as taking an action photo, blurring it to an extent, and putting text to it, that alone is easy to do. And its something I practiced a little later in my tenure with the company.

I took babysteps though. So for a starter, I went with the guidelines I was given. Even if that didn’t last too long. My store manager also had this odd thing/bad habbit that he felt his marketing needed to brag about what his products could do and what they had accomplished, that the competitors could/had not. This was and still is completely against my teaching in this field. Good marketing speaks objectively about your products, and makes no mention of the competitor, good or bad. But this guy was the one with the checkbook, which mattered for a while to start with.

This bragging minimalist approach didn’t make for very appealing marketing Though. it Was evident in the numbers we pulled on social media. No growth and hardly any likes and interaction, and so I started working on a more precise and consistent look to it, with sharp colors and motorsports-esque details.

For one thing I experimented with an approach where complementary contrasts took the high seat. The complementary contrast to orange (the companies’ main color) would be a deep blue, it makes the orange, pop more, and equally makes the blue pop. They complement each other very well. Aswell as blending a pattern of diagonal tightly spaced lines on the background to give it just a bit more life. This was the standard I stuck with for most of my second year with the company.

All of a sudden this was not as well received with my store manager. And so the marketing needed an overhaul.

The chequered flag is a recurring theme in motorsports, it signifies that its the end of the race, and your end goal is to be the first guy to cross the line, win the race essentially. so that’s something I wanted to use, but a chequered flag with just 90° up and down is dull, has been done before, and just the pattern on its own isn’t that appealing. so I curved it slightly, and made the white squares transparent, that way, I could for example place an action photo in the background. Even if i in most cases would opt for a gradient from light grey to dark grey. With big popping letters with an orange gradient overlay, which gave it a very warm, and active tone.

Admittedly i took inspiration from the Norwegian home electronics chain Expert for that branding. while i didnt outright plagiarize their theme, i certainly took inspiration from it.

Pirelli Rally Cup

One recurring project that i’m glad is thriving, is the Pirelli Rally «Cup» initiative, in essence. Rally is expensive as a motherf****r and only growing in prices. so the company, at the time being the only provider of Pirelli’s rally tyres in Norway. re-negotiated/restructured an existing deal with Pirelli into whats now the Pirelli Rally «Cup». i use that term very loosely, as there isn’t a cup element involved. There is no point system throughout the season to determine the best driver/Co-driver duo on Pirellis rubber. I was structuring that points system, however, i was told there wasn’t going to be a point system because they didn’t want the cup to actually be a cup.

its simply the name because the administration was adament that we call it that. I was against that decision once the actual cup element was taken away. However i had no say, because if i had a say, it would have been called a Pirelli Rally Bonusdeal, Which it is in essence and how it operates to this day. terms are simple, race on pirellis new or old, with one Pirelli sticker on each corner of the car, if you are the fastest in your class, you get a check that you can spend exclusively on more tyres at the store.

While the initial idea wasn’t mine, i wrote the majority of statutes, did the branding package, constructed the registration process, published the list of winners after events, and a lot of advertising to every rally-driver that stopped by. Im very glad its still being put to use and people are getting a chance to reduce their costs if only a little for rallies, Even if the process of getting the initiative up and running was a headache and a dozen heated arguments. (you’re welcome rallydrivers in Norway!)

Racewear

Not only did I do the marketing, but I also had the privilege of drawing up custom racewear for customers that might want to buy or that ended up buying. Seeing my drawings come to life in a physical capacity like that, where not only would the various customers look as best as I could make them look, but in a situation of fire, the product could actually save their life.

Its propably the most rewarding work i’ve done at any stage of my career. People from all branches of motorsports, from starting at bare minimum to Norwegian champions picked up an interest and wanted to see what I could do to best capture their imagination. I have a couple particular favourites, like Betsafe edition for Eyvind Brynildsen in 2015 when he became Norwegian champion, or his current suits in their Coolbet yellow, black and red. I also did the suit design for the official Ford Dealer team in Norway, RS Motorsports design. Not only did i do their suits, but also their team logo that they still use to this day.

Honourable mentions in this category goes out to WRC driver Henning Solberg. It was a privilege to work with one of my childhood heroes, and that he put faith in me to do his sponsors justice on three occasions, and to make him visible out on the rally stages. the last one in particular i loved very much. As a designer, its a truly special feeling when you watch the opening stage of rally Sweden, and you see your work shine through the screen like a warning sign, and have the WRC commentators mention Hennings «beautiful new orange suits». That rally in 2018 is quite possibly my single proudest career moment.

Id be remiss if i didn’t mention Marius Bermingrud aswell, who for his 2018 suit, actually agreed to have my logo on his sleeve. So on his green, i believe righthand sleeve, you see the Kings Eyes Logo. Stoked on that too! But i digress.

Departure

In april 2018 I gave my notice, and ended my working relationship with the firm, for various reasons. Main reason was to pursue studies, but looming among the reasons I also will mention is that it became very clear what my worth was, and it was staggeringly low in comparison to my actual worth. for that, I dont see myself and this firm doing business again. Hence no link to their website or social medias.

This is not intended as a smear job. But in its totality, working with this firm was what genuinely made me realize that I value myself and my future more than just getting by, that I want to focus on other things, I want to pursue my own projects, have control over my own creative endeavours, all 24 hours of my day, and to pursue happiness. It also what inspired me to go study in Winchester, one of best universities Britain has on offer. where i’m thriving and getting high praise from lecturers, scholars and tutors for my work, instead of back handed compliments, headaches and half the compensation i should have had. (Literally half the value)

Effectively, I was right in my decision, and Gundersen Motorsport dont know what they have lost out on in me. Thats the feather in my cap.

 

HMK

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.

2015:

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.

2016:

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.

 

2017:

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.

 

 

2018:

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

 

 

 

Introducing Hypotheticals

 The Keyblade Cut Video

 

Tewey – Take Notes

Ive had so many projects over the years, for fun, publication, paid, and just leisure in some cases. And dare i say my graphic design work has gone and gotten way better from back when i started. One of the projects i spent a considerable amount of time working on was related to Tewey. a fledgling rap artist.. and also my cousin. (everyone has to start somewhere)

Tewey’s debut mixtape was called Take Notes. Which i remember he was spelling «TaKe NoTeS» It was 7 tracks of a 14 year young man trying his hand at something that was his biggest passion. Exactly how the title of the tape came about, you would have to ask him about. But being as i had to analyze and think of the graphics for this stuff, i like to think that at the time, my cousin had hardly been doing this for much more than a year or two when the idea of a mixtape came about. I remember his interest took off so incredibly fast, and he studied like a champion, listened to so much music, picked up a lot things, tried a lot of things, and wrote so much lyrics that whenever i came over or we had one of our haphazard recording sessions, he would have hundreds of lyrics and ideas ready that he had just been writing. To me thats where his take notes concept came into this.

As far as an art direction, there really wasnt one. We started from scratch on everything. I had not done much graphic design by the time this was made, i knew little to nothing about the software i was using, i just knew it was fun and wanted to do it more and get better at it. I however wanted to keep it simple, with my skillset being what it was. i stuck with one font, The Abandoned treasure which you can find on Dafont.com, and it was consistent for all things related to this project.

The main motive, Tewey sitting down and writing on a note pad was derived from the title,

simple as that. it was a basic shot on a Canon Ixus 100/200 camera, we kept it black and white on the final cover, i think it was just because everything else on the final cover was a either black or white. might have taken a bit of inspiration from Wax’s album cover for his Continue Album that had been blaring on my shitty car speakers for a good long time. Or it could be a slick marketing tactic from me because my shitty logo would be displayed somewhere prominent on the design. I was co producer after all!

That picture went through a few renditions, first one being as simple as possible, where Tewey had drawn out the cover himself. (rendition 1) and that was the intended photo we were going to use, until i realized, «oh shit. the picture needs to be square or it wont fit» and so i had to adjust the canvas size accordingly. which created an excellent space at the bottom to place the title. Thats when i started looking for fonts that we could use that looked alright and handwritten.

 

And boom. i found the before mentioned Abandoned treasure font. To be fair i had used it on a different project from before and might have had a certain bias towards it as a result. (to be published later)

Further, i thought, well that picture is good and all, (i snapped it myself, duh) but what if i make something more out of that notebook? and so i experimented with a picture i had taken of him more recently, even borrowed my moms dslr for that one. but i knew nothing about photography, ligthing, hell even masking in photoshop was at this point foreign/newly aquired knowledge to me. i just noodled around with whatever i understood. and i understood marking an area and pressing backspace would remove stuff. and also the liquify tool came in

handy as illustrated in rendition 2. the idea behind it was, illustrating his lyrical content in a way that made people think a certain way, you could end up having thoughts like «this guy is

drawing a picture of a different version of himself,» or «he is providing his mind to people his way, in a way that might be different. because the image on the paper is colorful, everything else in his world is seemingly black and white»

More noodling ensued, and photofilters also were something i tinkered with, aswell as the standard gradients in photoshop. Along with my shitty logo that i had cooked up in illustrator and was so very proud of XD but thats where the random rendition come from. it in really had nothing to do with anything. and me and the artist settled more or less on rendition 2…. well

my graphic design and illustrator abilities at that point were very much… not good.

Until 2 days before the mixtape would open for download. i sent him a new version, where i had incorporated pictures from a previous photoshoot. i had changed the main motive a bit more, so the picture of him holding his head in his arms was still there, but not as visible, along with the original «Tewey» that he drew on the piece of paper, along with the lyrics to the first verse of one of the more lyrical and socially conscious songs on the mixtape, «I Wonder More». And i decided more or less myself that this was the best version, also i incorporated his new logo that i had created, because everybody kept pronouncing his name incorrectly, the logo was supposed to look like the number 2 and the letter E combined. thats the way you pronounce it. though

The mixtape was published on August 25th 2013. And is propably one of the most interesting projects ive had, because graphic design is one thing, i also did two full music videos, all promotion, social media packages, produced on some of the tracks, did physical copies, printed everything, and all in all, beyond the musical content, i contributed a whole bunch to this project. It was a massive learning expirience and i’m happy i did it, because it opened my eyes to so many routes within media, and opened my mind to being resourceful without prior expirience and with little to no money.

The Artist himself i remember was all smiles and enjoyed the process, being cousins and bestfriends at the time, we never had as many arguments with one another as we did when making this and his other projects that ensued, but if you don’t butt heads with anyone, you wont progress in your field. and if you give up, you close the door entirely. Thats what this project ended up being.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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