My Podcast – The Graphic Sound

This freelance graphic design career of mine has been quite a journey. In the past 14 years, I had moments of feeling completely lost, I’ve had moments of feeling completely alone, I’ve been excited out of my mind, and I’ve wanted to run my head through a wall. But looking back on all of it, it all just feels like it’s been a complete blast.

There are phases throughout my career where I am learning entirely new ideas about how I work, and why I work. Every new revelation stays a while, and I eventually move on to the next new idea. Everything I think I know about this work continues to progress. The subject on my mind one year can completely change to something else the next.

It’s all so fascinating to me.

So this passion and interest in this creative work is something that I enjoy discussing more than anything. I am always hoping to meet someone interested in discussing these topics on the level that I want to talk about them. While those participants may have been few and far between, I’ve gradually built up a passion for sharing whatever message I may have with a larger audience.

It may have started with blog posts here on this site. Then, it evolved into speaking engagements at art schools and conferences. But this year, I’ve viewed my desire to help and connect with a larger creative community a perfect fit for a podcast.


Introducing, The Graphic Sound. A (hopefully) weekly podcast about what I have learned and continue to learn in this career of graphic design. I’ll have monologue shows and discussions with creatives who also want to share their stories. This show comes from a hard-working passionate guy who wants you to learn to love what you create, and to enjoy the process of doing so.

So take a listen to The Graphic Sound. I hope you get something out of it, and I hope you enjoy your creativity a little bit more.

Behind Blurryface

The creation of the artwork and branding for Twenty One Pilots‘ sophomore album Blurryface was an in-depth, honest, and layered observation of the concepts behind the record, as well as an overall representation of the band, and how they are perceived.


Tyler Joseph, the singer and songwriter of the band, introduced me to the character over lunch. He explained the elements of ourselves that we hate, and the constant battle against these traits. In order to add clarity to this internal struggle, he gave a name to these negative attributes: “Blurryface”. This way, we can attempt to define the struggle, and to see the battle we are actually facing.

Continue reading 

Adventures In Design Podcast Interview

I had a great conversation with Mark Brickey of the Adventures In Design podcast recently. I’d love for you to check it out. Here are the details:

AID-AM 31 Brandon Rike “Hardcore Graduate”

Brandon Rike learned his discipline in life from playing music in a hardcore band. Everything that he learned to fight for in the world of music was transformed into a very efficient career in designing for that same music industry. Brandon designs with discipline and structure and creates a massive amount of projects for his always growing roster of clients. Hear his blue collar approach to the arts and take a ounce of it with you to improve your own output and profitability.

Listen on iTunes
Purchase Episode at AID Market
Watch Live Interview

Racing Machetes Tees – 15 Bones

The Racing Machetes Tees
A while back, I launched a small run of tees for The Racing Machetes. As life got busy, I temporarily shut down the webstore – with hopes of opening it back up. I’ve opened the store back up, and orders are speeding out the door. This first edition of tees is the first of many to come, but possibly the last run of these styles. I’ve priced the tees at a rock-bottom $15.00 each, so that the people who wanted them could get them.

These are the last of the first edition. Go to the new storefront and grab ’em.

Creative Works Memphis – My Take.

The heavy pistons that were pounding in my soul have subsided to a gentle hum. The chaos that has been hindering every thought is now still.


My chin comes back up, and I can finally see the path in front of me. That season, whatever it was, is over.

This past weekend, a humble design conference in Memphis was the first time I found myself truly experiencing Church. While there was no mention of a defined higher power, the conference represented and shed light on every aspect of what we truly believe, and what truly fills our souls.

Creative Works Memphis was founded and executed by my friend, Josh Horton. His love for Memphis was quite evident, and filled an intimate room full of 200 creatives. Artists eager for inspiration and insight into their diverse creative careers, sat upright in their chairs, extracting every ounce of hope, encouragement, and inspiration from each unique story.


Visible Music College. Memphis.

There are conferences that people arrive ready to impress and network. Unlike those events, Creative Works was full of artists open to vulnerability. It was a room full of talent, all doing big things, and we just wanted to…


Miraculous things happen when artists open up and tell their story. These seemingly well-adjusted and established creatives open their souls wide enough to let the listeners right in. These esteemed professionals let their guard down, and assure their congregation that they have the same pain, the same doubt, and the same insecurities as them.

Events like this stretch a safety net right under the tightropes that we all walk on a daily basis. We suddenly allow ourselves freedom to take a new path, to push harder, to pull back, to change perspective, and to make leaps without the fear that we once had. Creative Works Memphis made us realize that someone is cheering us along, but also there to catch us if we fall.

Work in the creative field long enough, and you’ll soon realize how important it is to connect with a creative community. Work in the field even longer, and you may muster up the courage to foster that community. Josh, with his heart, coupled with his tenacity and attention to detail, managed to wrap his arms around the attendees and speakers of a sold-out event. His undying conviction and love for his city made a mark large enough for the rest of the creative world to take notice.

Creative Works is one big group hug that the whole creative world needs to get in on.

For me, it was a time to tell my own story, and to bear my own soul. I arrived broken, jaded, and exhausted in my own day to day operation. Speaking for thirty minutes was only a to-do item on an event that I attended in hopes of having a good conversation or two.

I got so much more than what I came for. I was lucky enough to see every speaker, and hear every story. I couldn’t help but to think of all of the ways that I could change and improve upon the approach that I take to my work. With every speaker was a new way that I envisioned stretching my business.

But then there were the conversations. There’s something that happens when the people who inspire us tell us how inspirational we are to them. Our whole perception of life flips around, and we suddenly allow ourselves to see something new in the mirror. We see someone who is inspirational, capable, and more powerful than we ever realized. Not only did I get pulled up off the ground this past weekend, but this community also dusted me off, straightened my collar, and hoisted me up upon their shoulders.

Thank you, Josh. Thank you, Yellow Shirts. Thank you, Memphis. Thank you, Creative Works. I am fully restored.


New Work Added

If I could update my site on a weekly basis, I would.

But, for whatever reason – I can’t. However,  I can give you a huge update once in a blue moon, and that’s what I managed to do this morning.

Just added a ton of new work to the portfolio. To be exact, 129 new pieces spread across 9 new pages. Check it out.

The new updates include work for Twenty One Pilots, Thirty Seconds To Mars, Nine Inch Nails, Gary Clark Jr, Fall Out Boy, Christina Perri, Pharrell Williams, Paramore, Panic! At The Disco, Rage Against The Machine, Paul McCartney, Neon Trees, Iggy Azalea, Ed Sheeran, Britney Spears, Pearl Jam, Blink-182, Alice In Chains, The Fray, One Republic, Billy Joel, Korn, KISS, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Justin Timberlake, Michael Buble, and Deftones, and a few others. Whew.


Radio Silence

Photo by David Sherry

Photo by David Sherry

I tend to disappear for extended periods of time. At first, it was a trait that wasn’t as glaringly obvious as it has become today, but slowly my friends and colleagues began to recognize that I tend to fall off the face of the earth quite frequently.

Obviously, I still feel fully present in my own day-to-day, but the idea of “keeping my head down” and grinding through my work feels quite literal. The ability to isolate and churn out unbelievable amounts of work has been the very attribute that has led to my success in my niche of the design world. While I can recognize and sympathize with the benefits of a more extroverted lifestyle, the nature of my work has forced me into an intensely introverted state. People who know me well would never characterize me as an introvert, and it feels like a blatant lie when I describe myself as such. But, the reality of my current operation shows all of the tell-tale signs of a chronic shut-in. Continue reading 

Miller High Life x Harley – Artist Series

Every now and then, crazy awesome projects come along. Very happy to have been able to be a part of Miller High Life x Harley Davidson Artist Series limited edition cans. Here’s the can that I designed – in stores now.

Honored to be in such good company, alongside Derrick Castle, Jon Contino, Hydro74 and Roland Sands.

Good Reviews

The first week of my online class on Lettering has been great. Lots of students submitting great work, and giving great feedback. If you haven’t checked it out, take a look at Lettering Made Simple: Efficient Methods for Custom Type.

My main goal in the class is to help designers to not be intimidated by lettering projects. There is a vast world of lettering styles, and you can use simple methods to help you find your unique aesthetic.

Here is some of the feedback of from the course:

“This class is great for anyone who wants to learn more about type and manipulating an existing font. It is also perfect for beginners and professionals. I know personally from working in the field of merch design that Brandon Rike is in a class of his own amongst designers, and this class helps prove that. I believe you can always learn something new and after taking this class I can honestly say that I learned several new things. I look forward to learning much more from Brandon Rike in his future classes if he chooses to do more!
Corey Thomas

Continue reading 

Opinions on a Career In Graphic Design

A few months ago, a high school senior, Samantha Cleveland, sent me a list of interview questions. Samantha is interested in a career in graphic design, and I answered as honestly as I could. I wrote quite a bit, so I figured that I would share. Enjoy.

Why did you decide on a career in graphic design?

I can’t recall any moment when I made a “decision” to have a career in graphic design. My parents recognized that I was artistic as soon as I was old enough to color and draw. Art was just always “my thing,” and it was only natural for me to assume that I would be an artist for the rest of my life. I think we often get side-tracked into thinking that we need to pursue the occupation that makes us the most money. I got good grades in school, and I knew there was an option to pursue a career in something like medicine, or law, or those other seemingly high-paying careers. But those options were never really options for me. I viewed them as boring, and I viewed art as fun. So I naturally kept art as my main priority, and always have. I think part of our purpose is to spend our time doing what we are best at. I was lucky that I found a way to make a living at doing art projects all day. Continue reading