Notebook

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.

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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.

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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!
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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 

My Skillshare Lettering Class

I had a blast on my first Skillshare class, and I was happy to put together a new one. Today I’m launching a new class entitled “Lettering Made Simple: Efficient Methods for Custom Type”

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My class will roll out with the new Skillshare Subscription Model. This means that you can now purchase a subscription to Skillshare for $10/month, and gain access to their entire library of 150+ classes.

So you have the option to buy the class a la carte for $19, or get a membership for $10/month.

My class teaches you efficient methods to create beautiful lettering pieces. The reality of a the fast-paced design world of insane deadlines is that we need to make good work, and good work quickly. I take use of the resources available, including Lost Type Co-Op, and show you the steps to creating great work.

So, please do me the huge favor of enrolling in my class, and starting your Skillshare subscription today! Go check it out!

Simplicity Tee

I used the phrase “Simplicity Takes Courage” in a recent talk. The fine folks at Cotton Bureau have printed it on a t-shirt. Buy one for you and your boo, or your bae, or whatever you call that other person you hang out with. Only available until March 20th. Act quick!
Buy the shirt at Cotton Bureau>>

Class is Open!

Today is a big day for me. I’ve worked very hard on putting together a Skillshare class to show people my real process and workflow for making band tees.

Enroll in the class!Class Announcement

It was a lot of fun putting this together. I sit down with Tyler Joseph, from the band Twenty One Pilots, and hear his direction for the merchandise. You get to watch my entire process, including the interview, brainstorming, sketches, Illustrator, Photoshop, and mock ups. I talk you along the entire process.

I’m so happy with how it turned out. Do me a huge favor, and use this link to spread the word! http://skl.sh/1cH0ttA

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My Skillshare Class

Skillshare Class

Skillshare came to me recently, asking if I was interested in teaching an online course with them. After trying my hand at a few process videos, here and there, this looked like the perfect chance to put something together that showed my honest process for most of the band tees that I create.

One of the bands that I design for, Twenty One Pilots, offered to get involved, and take part in a real-life interview. I’m pretty stoked with how it all turned out.

You can enroll in the Skillshare class here: http://skl.sh/1iwvTuQ.

Please spread the word!

My talk from WMC Fest

WMC fest recently posted the video from a talk I did in August. Check it out here.

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Balance, Challenges, and Happiness

Two media outlets caught up with me last week – both inquiring about similar topics.

I sat down over Google Hangout with Joel Beukelman and Aaron Irizarry of The Blnce Podcast. They referenced my previous article, “Lessons Of The Grind,” and good conversation followed. Take a listen here.

Also, Heather Sakai at Go Media asked me to contribute to her article over at GoMediaZine on “My Biggest Challenge Running A Design Business” Below was my response:


The biggest problem that I have running my freelance operation is maintaining a balance with my social life, and happiness level in general. We assume, early on, that if we work hard enough, we can achieve a certain level of success. It is also our assumption that that level of success will bring us a wealth of happiness.

It doesn’t.

Achievement of our goals only prompts us to set a new goal, instead of taking any time to enjoy reaching a milestone. After doing freelance design for over a decade, I have set goals and achieved them – only to set a higher goal for the following year, and thus put myself right back to the grind – glossing over any chance to pat myself on the back.

It’s possible that continued success in a creative field has an adverse reaction to one’s happiness. Being creative all day, every day, gets more and more taxing. The well of ideas threatens to dry up, and we put more and more pressure on ourselves to stay afloat. The quest for “better” is admirable, but also tortuous.

This grind keeps me in my cave, churning out work, giving myself little to no interaction with the outside world. More success, for me, has led to a very reclusive lifestyle. On paper, I’m experiencing the most successful time of my life – in reality, I can’t remember the last time I sat down with a friend for coffee.

The solution? Move happiness to first on your priority list. Meeting with people you enjoy or doing things you love can put you in a positive frame of mind that’s more equipped with managing a heavy workload. This positive outlook instantly manages stress better, and is more effective at calculating an otherwise chaotic and overwhelming to-do list.

Days may look less like a row of fires to put out, and more like the privilege that we began these careers with – that, while others toil through jobs that they hate, we get to be creative for a living.

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