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Either you're in, or you're in!


First of all, Mr. Draplin, thanks for taking the time to teach this course for a wannabe like me. I’m a textbook over-thinker, so I hope your “GO GO GO” mindset will rub off on me. I learned a lot of new techniques just by watching you work; thank you for sharing a little piece of your process.

Second, this project kicked my ass, in the best way possible. I’m a novice at design in general but I think the hardest part of this project was distilling so much family history into one thing.



So first I looked at what the components of Aaron’s family crest were. Then I sat down to brainstorm things I could put into my own crest for each component. From there, I narrowed my focus to 4 symbols: the cast iron skillet, the bicycle wheel, the ocean sunset, and the mountain. The hammer replaced the wheel as I got toward the end of the design process (same meaning, simpler lines).


THE CAST IRON SKILLET: My mother loves to cook, she comes from a family of incredibly talented and smart cooks, and she cooked for all of us every single day for over 20 years. And she did this while working full-time. She has a couple cast iron skillets that she uses all the time. Those things are indestructible, versatile, and they create magic that brings people together. So if there’s one thing that symbolizes my mom, to me, that’s it.


THE HAMMER: Initially it was a wheel, but as I mentioned earlier, I like the hammer better for its simplicity. My dad was a cyclist. He raced for Shimano back in the day. Even when he was middle-aged he’d still go out for a casual 50 miles after work a few times a week, no big deal. I remember when he first taught me how to ride a bike. We bonded over the sport as I got older, but unfortunately, my dad passed away in 2015. Just like Aaron said, I still miss him, viciously.

I gave some more thought to what might really exemplify my dad’s side of the family, since he’s really the only one of them who was a cyclist, I wanted something that would be a more common thread in his family. Another defining trait of my dad’s, and many of his relatives, is that they build things. So I chose to use that simple hammer icon to symbolize this idea. And I hate to part with my wheel that I made — but, the hammer can also relate to cycling, because cyclists use that word fairly often (see: “hammer down” “drop the hammer” etc). And besides, when you spend so much time riding a bike, and teaching your kid to ride a bike, you’re building something. You’re building independence, skill, confidence, happiness. And muscles!


THE OCEAN SUNSET: My mom and dad, when they lived by the coast, they used to make the 5-minute walk to the beach to watch the sunset together every night. They got married on the beach. The ocean has always been a source of peace and clarity for our family, so I wanted to include that.


THE MOUNTAIN: This represents a few things. Our family home is in a mountainous area that’s well-known for being wicked to bike through. You’re always going uphill, and if you ever get to a downhill, then congratulations, you earned it. It’s lush with the beauty of the natural world. Your backyard might be frequented by various wildlife — foxes, deer, bears. We have some stories about the bears. But the mountains also symbolize stability, to me, stability in the face of a challenge. One thing I learned from both my parents is perseverance. They taught me to get back up every time I get knocked down, and it's possible to make it to the top of the proverbial mountain (and back again) no matter how tough the journey.


THE BANNER: You might notice the ! at the end of “From California”. There is a story behind it. One thing my mom and I still do all the time is watch movies. She makes the best homemade popcorn, and in the winter we turn on the fireplace, and we settle in with our favorite movies. One of our favorites is "Elizabethtown." No spoilers, but part of the film is about recognizing your roots: the ones that existed before you, and the ones you’ve put down yourself. The main character’s family, out in the midwest, looks down on him because he was born in California, and at first he’s sort of ashamed, but eventually he starts to just own it, and that’s where I got the quote that became my banner.

AW YEAH T SHIRTS!  Definitely the two colors that come to mind for our family are blue and green, maybe a little orange. But I also tried to make the shirts look like a color that people would actually want to wear — something a little different from the "bucket" colors. And the shirt would need some texture, maybe like a tri-blend sort of thing. 


THE MOTTO:  We have a ton of inside jokes in this family. But probably the one that gets repeated the most is, “Either you’re in, or you’re in! And if you can’t decide, I shall decide for you!” Imagine this coming from the sweetest woman you’ve ever met, with the most dainty South African accent you’ve ever heard… while she presents you with a tray full of tequila shots.

New Year’s Eve was my dad’s birthday, so we always go out of our way to spend it with our close family friends, who are the source of a lot of our inside jokes, including that last one (and it was said on New Year's). I have many things in life to be grateful for, including people who are basically rays of sunshine in human form, and they’re awesome. And they are that way even though they’ve been through their share of hardship. The lady who said this quote, which is now famous in our family, is one of those people. So this quote reminds me of the tradition of kindness in our family. Kindness and a little hard liquor.

NINJA EDIT: Made the skillet and sunset align properly, and made the laurels reach up a little more.

Feedback, suggestions, thoughts, fire away!

Thanks for looking. Stay rad.


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