The Elective | Skillshare Projects

Justin Rodriguez

Creative Director + Owner of Coursewrk Supply Co.



The Elective

Name: Justin Rodriguez

Location: Chicago, IL USA

Brand: The Elective

Slogan/Mission Statement: Live Electively. Choose Your Course.

My name is Justin Rodriguez and I'm a designer and illustrator in Chicago, IL. I'm in the works of starting my brand called The Elective. The name represents the decision I've chosen to take in pursuing this dream. Like an elective course in school, you choose a class you're interested in but aren't required to take. In a way, creating my own brand is like taking my own elective course because it wasn't something I necessarily had to do, but I chose to do it because I wanted to. So the philosophy of the brand follows that thinking — to follow your interests, pursue your dreams and do the things you're passionate about. I want my brand to remind others that they have a choice to do what they want in their lives. For those who will wear the brand and identify with it, I call them The Elective. My brand is my story and if I can make my dream a success, I hope it inspires others to do the same. Live electively. Choose your course.


I wanted the logo to have a feeling of prestige to represent quality work and a nod to higher-end fashion. The prestige look of the emblem and typeface also makes a reference to the metaphor of the brand being like an elective course so I wanted it to have a collegiate feel which explains the reasoning for an emblem. I designed the logo with the clothing I envisioned for the brand in mind. My style isn't completely streetwear but a blend of that and menswear. Think Undefeated meets Top Man or Saturdays Surf NYC. With that said, the logo needed to be versatile so it would feel right whether it was placed on a graphic tee or on the label of an oxford shirt for example.

The typface I chose for my logo was Sentinel Semibold from the Hoefler & Frere-Jones typefoundry. I chose a slab serif as my typeface because I felt that it embodied the blend of streetwear fashion and higher-end menswear. When you think of a streetwear brand, they tend to have a more tough/cool personality and a reference to athletic wear. A bold and blocky typeface tends to be appropriate for that look. For menswear and higher end fashion, you see more elegant serif typefaces like Didot which is ubiquitous in fashion editorial. Since I want to blend streetwear and menswear, I wanted to blend a bold blocky typeface with an elegant one and I decided on Sentinel Semibold.


The logo is one color in either black or white depending on the background color it is placed on.

* The designer must use his or her best judgement when deciding to place use the logo in black or reversed in white. On a light value color such as this 10% gray, the right usage of the logo should be black. 

** The designer must use his or her best judgement when deciding to place use the logo in black or reversed in white. On a medium to dark value color such as this 50% gray, the right usage of the logo should be white. 

Please observe the clear space around the logo to maximize visual effectiveness. Nothing should intrude into this specified clear space.



1. Change the logo's orientation.

2. Change the orientation of the emblem.

3. Add extraneous effects to the logo. This includes but is not limited to: bevel and emboss, lighting effects and drop shadows.

4. Change the logo colors.

5. Fill the negative space within the emblem with color.

6. Remove the diagonal negative spaces within the "E" of the emblem.

7.  Remove the outer ornimentation of the emblem or alter it in anyway.

8. Use the logo as a repeated pattern, "wallpaper" or other decorative device.

9. Scale the logo unproportionately.


1. LOGO COLORS - These are the logo colors. The Elective brand uses a lot of white and black for a clean and bold look.

2. SUPPORTING COLOR PALETTE - These colors are meant to be used sparingly as accent colors for smaller things such as headline text, links and design elements, but they can sometimes be used as background colors to add variety and contrast to a layout or composition. These vibrant colors add an element of vibrancy, freshness, fun, and approachability to the brand.

3. PERCENTAGES - Use the supporting color palette in the outlined percentages in all marketing material.


Pacquiao? Yes. I would love him to wear my brand too.



These are just the first three shirts I've produced so far: The Elective logo tee, Stay On Course, and Can't Tell Me Nothin. 

I'm working on a few more designs that I want to get produced before I do a photoshoot and get my site up. Until then, I'll have to post CADs for now. Stay posted! 


Here are two more shirts that are in the works as part of this first collection.


This is a super rough sketch. Still figuring out the typography. I was inspired by Macklemore's lyrics in Can't Hold Us. I know dream catchers "catch" dreams, but often times you have to "chase" something in order to catch it. Am I right? ;)

Mock Ups - Here are two colorways I'm thinking using American Apparel Tri-blend Black and Oatmeal


Mockups and colorways I'm exploring using the American Apparel raglin baseball tee.


Mockups for now, but I plan to make these buttons as freebies to go along with orders. I plan to sell button and sticker packs too.

Elective Emblem Stickers 


Here are some resources I've discoverved along the way that could help all those trying to start their own brand and for those still new to learning design and want to get more familiar with the tools and techniques.

Fashion Brain Academy
A business coaching and training company by Jane Hamill specializing in emerging fashion designers and creative types. I'm planning to complete her "New Designer Program" after this skillshare class is over. She also hosts factory tours in Chicago and you can even schedule one on one meetings with her to evaluate your brand.

Chicago Fine Tailoring & Design Institute
If you're in Chicago you might want to check out this program where you can launch your own clothing line within a matter of a 4 month program. I haven't done this myself yet, but I might consider it if I feel like I may need further help in the future. I've heard mixed reviews from past students though. One student actually told me she learned a lot more from just using the Fashion Brain Academy online coaching service (which is more affordable).

This is pretty amazing. My cousin just told me about this site where you can get your own custom fabric printed starting at $15.75 per yard. You can even sell your fabric designs on their site. 

Method & Craft
A great source for tutorials on Adobe Creative Suite programs and techniques. There are video tutorials as well as great interviews from cool designers.

Arsenal - Professional Design Weaponry
This site is a great source for clothing mockups, vector packs, and video tutorials on design techniques. The only thing is you have to purchase everything. Its worth it though for the quality work they give you.

Vector Mill
I like this site for the brushes and texures this guy makes in Illustrator. 

Vector Tuts+
This site has a lot of good vector tutorials.

For handling legal business and all that. My colleague who studied law recommended this site to me for looking into trademarking and starting my business. I actually set up my LLC with these guys and it was surprisingly one of the easiest things. They make it easy for you and do the work for you. You just have to pay and you can split your payment into installments.


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