November 21, 2017

AmericanMuscle Holiday Gift Garage

It's been a while, to say the least. Most of the summer was consumed of designing for the AmericanMuscle Mustang Show, traveling here and there and moving to a new spot. I'd like to pick back up where I am currently, and then hopefully backtrack to share some of the show graphics.

Every year the holiday promotions seem to get bigger and more involved. This year, the company has introduced zmags, an outlet for the graphic designers to create custom landing pages without having to utilize our busy e-commerce developers. I worked on the AmericanMuscle Holiday Gift Garage campaign that included a zmags landing page, on-site graphics, email graphics, display adwords, social graphics and catalog covers and inserts.

I started with a really awesome in-house photo of our 2015 Mustang in the snow. I made a few adjustments in Camera Raw to boost the image quickly.

I wanted the overall campaign to have an icy winter feel to it, so I began by color changing the car to Grabber Blue and building out the background for the catalog cover. The build out is a bit rough, but worked with the layout I had.

I also needed to cut out the car for the web graphics I intended to use. Additionally, I wanted to render out the other car generations from Keyshot, so I removed the car from the scene in Photoshop so the other cars would lay over top. I kept the original wheels and shadow to get the placement of the new cars in their accurately. Below is the back plate I used for the renders.

I added cars into Keyshot and added additional aftermarket parts to them that were built in-house. Below is the 2014 Mustang with added mods that was placed in the scene, color changed and with an HDRI map applied and edited to look closely to the original 2015. 

I repeated this process for the other four Mustang generation cars. While those were rendering, I focused on the layout of the custom zmags landing page. 

I started off with a rough concept for both desktop and mobile. I wanted to combine lifestyle imagery and product imagery throughout the layout while working with the categories selected by the Marketing Department. Without having all of the finalized product sku's and images, I came up with the below version for desktop.

Through a few rounds of revisions, it landed closely to the above design and was then made generationally. I used the rendered cars at the top of this and then a mix of in-house lifestyle photography and product photography. I incorporated sliders into a few categories as well as off-car product photography to give the layout dimension and variety. Throughout the entire layout, I placed a vector geometric pattern that symbolized wrapping paper. Overall the goal was to have a winter feel with holiday hints carried throughout. Below is a closeup of a section with the "wrapping paper" pattern darkened to more easily see the design.

Note: the above image was pulled from Fox Racing and was the design inspiration and direction for the Holiday Gift Certificate Promotion I'll show later. I also incorporated these vector elements in the campaigns logo I was working on simultaneously.

"Holiday Gift Garage - The Perfect Presents" was the marketing copy for this entire package. Similarly to last year, I designed a logo to be used throughout the campaign to be included in web graphics and on the catalog covers. I used the above vector pattern within the logo I designed and created a version to be used on white and on black.

I also needed a version with slightly different copy to be used in display ads and Facebook social graphics.

Before sending all of the above into the proofing system, I did a quick mock of the AmericanMuscle catalog cover for the 2015-2017 generation. The layout of the copy was later revised, but the overall imagery and concept was approved.

Once the above was approved, I made some tweaks per request and began making the additional site, email, display and social graphics while building out the zmags landing page. I did the full package for the '15-'17 generation first before duplicating and creating the others. Below is the final 2010-2014 generation homepage hero.

When the customer clicks on Shop Gifts, they are taken to the zmags landing page. Below is the 2015-2017 landing page I had designed and built via the Creator.

While the campaign is still live on, you can view and interact with the landing page here. The final catalog cover design for that same generation is below. As you can see I incorporated the vector elements on the front and back cover as I had throughout the landing page.

The catalogs arrived in customers' mailboxes this month and also featured an insert that included products within the Holiday Gift Garage. Below is the 4-page insert design. 

Many other graphics were built to promote this campaign on the various channels. Below includes email graphics and display ads.

May 15, 2017

Social Media Email Footer

For a few weeks, I've been working with various people on updating and organizing our email designs. There have been several tests performed to determine the best way to go about updating the email templates and how to move forward. 

One aspect of our emails includes the Social Media portion that lives by the email template footer. The goal was to put more focus on YouTube and getting customers to go subscribe. Additionally some social icons needed updated and reorganized based on clicks. Below is what the social portion looked like before the redesign.

As you can see, the original design was very simple and to the point. With the emphasis on YouTube increasing, I decided to add some imagery and provide more content with the overall design. Below is the design I landed on.

I redesigned the larger YouTube button to mirror other YouTube style guide elements and those from for consistency purposes. The image I selected is a very exciting one and selected similar ones for the five other Mustang generations we sell for. Marketing provided the bullet points of what to entice customers with to get a sample of what they will find on the channel. Below that I have the updated social icons for the channels that perform best. Overall the height has increased significantly and so has the performance of the overall graphic. Below are the additional video images for the other Mustang vehicles.

May 11, 2017

CB360 Custom Seat

One of the last larger purchases that I wanted to get done for the CB was a custom seat. Sure it was a modification that didn't need done in order to get it back running, but it was definitely something I wanted to do for several reasons. The main reason of course is looks. I've gradually developed the look of this vintage Honda over time, somewhat going at it blindly. Mods have been determined a lot on functionality, cost and then looks. Therefore, this seat was all about looks just because it could be.

I've looked at a ton of cafe builds and determined I like the flat brat style the best. I really like the look of leather upholstery, but I've been undecided on the color. With my tank being a turquoise, I was leaning towards a brown leather, however, the more the bike developed overtime more and more parts were transforming to black. I determined I didn't really want to go brown leather on the handle grips so I figured just the seat being brown would look a little odd. Color determined: black. Stitch color determined: black.

While the main emphasis is on style, I did consider some functionality in the design. Overall I fit pretty well on the bike but would be more comfortable with slightly lower seat. The goal would be to shave down some of the foam to reduce the height. The type of material was critical too in that I don't want to be slipping all over the place while riding, but still wanted some mobility. The upholstery suggested a vinyl, which gives it the look and feel I was going for.

In addition to all of that, I really liked how the stock seat mounts on the bike and has this nifty little compartment underneath for my registration and any other paperwork. Luckily I was able to keep all of that to get exactly what I wanted.

A few weeks ago the seat shipped off to Michigan to a friend I met last summer, Chris Carr. Chris builds some pretty gnarly bikes from start to finish. I already posted some of the progress shots Chris had sent me of him shaving the foam and repairing the seat pan (view original post). He then took it to his upholstery place for the finished product. Last week I received it back, and it was as good as I could have imagined, if not better. Visit to see a few of his awesome builds.

May 10, 2017

AmericanMuscle Mustang Show

It's that time already-where the graphics department actively works on creative for the upcoming Mustang Show. A lot of the creative I am working on including the program and apparel items that I am unable to share until the show, however, there are a few web items I've worked on that are currently live.

One of the new additions for this year is an #AM2017 Mustang Show landing page. This page is a hub of all things show-related including a teaser video, how to register for the show, special events info, all about the show, FAQs and sponsors. The marketing efforts have greatly increased this year, and it has been proving to be quite effective in that registration sign-ups are skyrocketing! 

This landing page design is based off the original Gift Garage/Seasonal Collection landing page I had worked with the Art Director on the end of last year. The web team was able to develop a template that was flexible and could be used for this page. After a couple planning meetings, we got all of the design, image assets and copy in place. Below is a screenshot of this page.

At the bottom of the landing page, underneath the sponsors list is another new graphic for this year. This Save Your Spot graphic that pushes to the Registration page is at this location on all pages of the site. I am curious to hear how the data rolls in, to see which efforts are performing the best, but overall it's becoming a success already. Stay tuned for more graphics to come over the next three months.

May 09, 2017

AmericanTrucks Catalog: Wheels

The AmericanTrucks business has been picking up within our company and a new catalog recently dropped. This catalog features aftermarket automotive parts for Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra trucks. I designed the wheels section as well as proofed and approved the book for press. The catalog process never truly stops, so onto the next! 

May 08, 2017

AM Customer Spotlights

Each time the AmericanMuscle Customer Spotlight articles come around, the goal is to try something new design-wise and see if it sticks. Some redesigns go better than others, and some make it to print. I was excited about this design I came up with and how easy it was to execute and work with this content. 

I look at a variety of retail sites ranging from motorsports, action sports, fitness, surfing, footwear and automotive brands to pull inspiration from. This specific design was pulled from a Roxy homepage ad. Below are the designs for the 2015-2017 and 2010-2014 AmericanMuscle Customer Spotlights for the May catalog drop that landed in mailboxes today. Following is the original inspiration image I pulled from.

May 06, 2017

East Rutherford, NJ SX

For starters, Supercross is awesome. I'm surprised it took me so long to get into it, but I'm grateful I got into it when I did. Daytona was my first sx event, and now Saturday I added East Rutherford, NJ to the list too. I think attending Red Bud had to have ignited the initial interest, and it's only grown from there.

It's funny how some of the best times are created from last minute planning. I had been wanting to go to the NJ sx since it's been on the schedule this year, but wasn't sure how it would play out logistically. One day a friend offered to buy the tickets if I drove. Less than ten minutes later tickets were purchased. Saturday came and we made a full day out of it, departing at 8:30am. 

One of the wisest things I did this past Saturday was taking my Polaroid camera to the race. I managed to capture some pretty awesome shots on film. Below are a few digital and print snapshots of the event. In case it's not apparent, I am also equally obsessed with panoramas as I am with Polaroids. Below are some shots from the event.