Nerd-Up | Skillshare Projects

Ralston Vaz

Brand Strategy & Design




It was fun to watch another creative do their thing. Thanks, Brandon, for offering a window into your creative world.

I decided to take the opportunity this class project presented to work on a t-shirt idea I’ve been sitting on for forever. The phrase is simple: “Nerd-Up.” And its significance is plain. It’s about rolling up your sleeves in the face of intellectual challenges. Challenges that your friends know only you and your incomprehensibly awesome brain can slay.

So here is the visual evolution of that mantra. Enjoy.

And Nerd-Up.


I’m all for sketching and thumbnailing before cracking open Illustrator. With this project though, I had a clear idea of the visual style. So I started with font-hunting and went with Andrew Tyler’s Minecraftia typeface (freely available via DaFont). Perfect style for the phrase.

▲ I thought the characters would benefit from a little vertical lift so as to feel like standing in the face of challenge. So I extended the character heights and adjusted the x-heights of the smaller caps. I also decided to keep adjustments and spaces to a decisive grid. Points and paths were moved and positioned with a 10px grid in mind.

▲ I liked the Offset path method from Brandon’s class and thought the effect would lend something to the overall feel of the phrase. So I hooked it up and dug it.

▲ I was going to leave it there and move to color, but I had to try a little skew. I thought it would be a cheap reach for “cool” here, but, once I tried it, I loved it. I felt, absent of an exclamation mark, it really made the mantra shout. Just the feel it needed. Tweaked and kept.

▲ Now color and a simple pattern effect. I thought immediately of old monochromatic computer terminals and jumped to Adobe Kuler ( to create a palette based off of an image I found on Google. Love those greens for this. I then noticed a few of those terminals had some horrible horizontal lines throughout the monitors. So that inspired me to add a bit of a pattern inside of each character. Love.

▲ Now that the core lettering was complete, I mocked up a couple of postery layouts and used the displace filter in Photoshop to get it on a tee. Yayness!


I had fun jamming this together and getting an idea out of my head and on to the screen. I honestly intend to offer this design for sale on a t-shirt in the near future. Thanks again, Brandon.


Revised and soon ready for pre-order!!!

Inspired by Brandon's advise, I simplified the design a bit and made sure colors didn't touch. Then I subbmitted the design to Cotton Bureau—AND THEY ACCEPTED IT!!!

I'll be doing my best to build excitement and promoting the tee leading up to its pre-sale on with some fun, goofy pics. If you're so inclined to help me spread the word at all, you can follow Gabbyrags on Facebook and Twitter and share the fun! I REALLY appreciate the help!


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