TexMex N The Morning is a podcast with Twitch streamer itmeJP and YouTuber/Twitch streamer GassyMexican. It’s also one my new favorite podcasts and I can’t wait until I can get it on my phone via Podcast Addict (not a sponsored post, I love the app, edit: it’s now available on iTunes or any other podcast app you use). It’s a bit of divergent from what I usually do, but also it isn’t, it’s still branding it’s just podcast branding this time.
All of the concept behind the Podcast is pretty straight forward it’s itmeJP (Texan resident) and GassyMexican that makes up the Tex and the Mex in the name. It’s a simple play on words therefor it was the same simple approach I wanted to take with the visual branding. Using iconic imagery with the cowboy hat and sombrero, and using a bold fun typeface to get the message across quickly that this is a fun and light podcast and so should the podcast branding be.
I also wanted to keep the general style very clean yet cartoonish. So not even having any facial features helped in that aspect and if needed they’re even easily animated this way. Could I have gone with more details? Yes, but it was unnecessary, keeping it lighthearted speaks to the content of the show.
Sketching it all up
When I had the idea and concept ready in my head. It was only a matter of looking at reference images of cowboy hats and sombreros and a few different art styles for the podcast branding that would be appropriate to take inspiration from. I draw using a Wacom tablet, but I need to get new nibs for the pen very soon, and after I’ve sketched it all out I bring it into Illustrator to create the vector graphics from the sketch.
There are many reasons why I prefer vector before raster. The main one is always that it can be re-sized to any size and it can also be used if it ever would be used in print. The latest reason why I like it is because you can import it into After Effects and convert it to shape layers. That means you can manipulate each vector layer, as a vector, inside of After Effects without having to go through more steps than drag, drop and convert. What does that mean? It means I can easily do quick animations with it, fade in layers, add strokes and really the options are endless as long as the program supports it. Something that can elevate any branding and with the re-rise of animated gifs online it’s almost a must for any branding and podcast branding isn’t an exception.
Inside of Adobe Illustrator
When I’ve loaded up the sketch into Illustrator I actually switch from my Wacom tablet to mouse and keyboard. It’s mostly beacsue I’m used to it and it works really well when doing this style. When working with line-art I like to use my Wacom tablet a lot more, but when it’s basic shapes I like using the mouse and keyboard more, it’s a personal preference and not something that’s a rule.
The faces are exactly the same all I did was to create two shapes and merged them into one, copied and flipped it. Created shapes for the hair and hats, all in separate layers so it would easier to later move and/or manipulate. For this I used a typface and added the spurs and a Aztec inspired pattern on the M as well. I wanted it standout a little bit and not be only be text.
Creating all of the assets
You might think that the only usage is the avatar. However it ended up being a lot of different version. All depending on what they’re supposed to be used for. Even if it’s only for Twitter and SoundCloud there are a lot to think about. For instance where are things visible? Where is the name shown multiple times? Are the avatar too small for some platforms? With or without text? Only text? Only hats? A lot of things are still needed to create a well rounded podcast branding.
All of these things had to looked at so to be flexible I create several different version. That’s when having everything in layers comes in handy since I can move and place things based on what layer it’s on instead of having to go through and select and de-select if something unwanted was selected.
Everyone next week is my birthday. It’s actually on Friday, so that means there might not be a article. It all depends on a few different things. But I’ll try to get a article done and ready anyway and auto post it on Friday. However if there isn’t one then you know why there isn’t one! If you want to wish me a happy birthday do it on my Twitter @visiblespeech