Hello, I'm Brandon
Now, what do you do, exactly?
You can call me a graphic designer, apparel artist, or a graphic artist. I’m trying to keep it simple, and not to overcomplicate things. I design shirt graphics for bands – mostly. I also do logos from time to time. Once in a great while, I will do a poster, maybe even some low-key album art. I try to stick to what I’m good at. I make letters look good. That’s my passion – tweaking letters around, getting them just right, and being able to come back to it, some time later, and still be pretty tickled with the work. That’s what these graphics are about, aren’t they? Longevity? Creating your new favorite t-shirt – that’s my business – a graphic that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy to look at. Well, that’s how I see it, I guess. I love this stuff. Whether I’m doing art for Deftones or Billy Joel, I get excited, all the same. I live and breathe this stuff. Hope you enjoy your look around.
Now, how’d you get into this line of work?
I was in love with art since I could grip a crayon. I was a little kid that just drew all the time. I “wanted to be an artist when I grew up” ever since I knew what growing up was. Art was all that I was about. From special art classes in elementary school, to college art courses while in high school, I could never get enough. Art was always my constant. My friends and I started a band when I was only thirteen years old. Before I knew it, I was making fliers by hand, or by dabbling in Microsoft Paint – whatever got the job done. I was sketching tape jackets on notebook paper. My first real band logo was created on graph paper in Geometry class. Later, I would find out that all of this stuff was known as graphic design — and it just made sense to me. That band of mine hit the road a few weeks after we graduated high school. We spent those “college years” living in a van, driving across the country, playing rock and roll for anyone who would have us. We even managed to sign a record deal with a label in Seattle. We put out three albums, and toured with some pretty awesome bands. My relationships with these bands allowed me to start designing shirts for more than just my own band. I did a few graphics on my Powerbook in our van, or in a venue, or a hotel. I started getting paid to design shirts somewhere around 2002. My bands last tour was in 2006, which was also the year I turned all of this into my full time occupation. I’ve been designing shirts, freelance, strong and steady, ever since. I am so happy to be doing this. I’m loving every stinkin’ minute of it. Life is good.
Freelance Unleashed: Interview: Brandon Rike
One Minute With: One Minute With… Brandon Rike
HOW Magazine: Top 10 Websites for Designers – August 2011
Curious & Co: The Rike Stuff
Abduzeedo: Weapons Of Mass Creation Event Recap
DesignWorkLife: Brandon Rike Typography
SixWordStoryEveryDay: Live Up To Your Own Expectation
LogoMyWay: Custom Titles By Brandon Rike
Eight Hour Day Blog: The Best Thing I Saw Today
Thread’s Not Dead (ebook): Featured Artist / Contribution
Ohio Authority: Profiles In Creation: Brandon Rike
Aenonfire: Brandon Rike: Musician & Designer
DesignBlinks: Brandon Rike
Faye & Co: Brandon Rike
Fun Facts About Me
• While I adore Paul Rand, I think his quote “Don’t try to be original; just try to be good.” is a very silly statement. It left a window wide open for designers to rip-off other designers. Paul should have included a disclaimer.
• One of my life goals is to be on a TV game show. I think I could destroy Wheel Of Fortune.
• I rarely wear graphic tees.
• My favorite bands include Deftones, Nine Inch Nails, Third Eye Blind, Death Cab, & A Perfect Circle.
• Deadliest Weapon: Adobe Illustrator
• I think Fiona Apple’s “When The Pawn…” is the finest produced record of all time.
• I am a pizza judge/taster for the North American Pizza and Ice Cream Show.
• I definitely prefer Batman over Superman.
• I am a die-hard Cleveland Cavaliers fan. No, I do not miss LeBron.
• I was born January 6, 1983 in Dayton, OH.
• My favorite ice cream is Jeni’s Savannah Buttermint.
• I’m one of those OCD / neat-freak types. Everything in it’s right place.
• Weezer’s Blue Album and Green Day “Dookie” got my life started.
• I grew up in New Lebanon, OH. I had a graduating class of 83 people.
• Haven’t used a PC in over 12 years.
• I don’t drink or smoke.
• My favorite movie is The Goonies, no contest.
On my DVR
Mad Men, The Pitch, Deadliest Catch, Parks & Recreation, Cleveland Cavaliers Basketball, Revolution, Holmes on Homes, Louie, Maron, and Shark Tank.
I miss LOST and Breaking Bad.
Yes! I would love to. Please scroll to the bottom of the page, fill out the contact form, and we’ll talk. I do prefer email instead of phone calls. It’s quicker, and more efficient, and it’s nice to keep a written record of our back-and-forth. Believe me, I will talk your ear off, later on in the project. For now, let’s just get it started.
Unfortunately, I do not do too many album art projects, and I try to not accept these projects. While I would love to, my workflow is very conducive to merch graphics, logos, etc, and album art is too long or involved of a process to justify setting aside other work for.
To a newcomer, this site can be misleading. I’m a graphic designer, showing my work. These pieces were designed for the specific client or band, and are being sold by the client or band. My guess is that the majority of these designs are out on tour with the bands, on their merch tables at concerts. Or they could be on their webstores, which you can access via their official websites. Some may even be available in retail stores like Hot Topic,Spencers, Delia’s or Target. Good hunting.
Yes. For all intents and purposes, I still am in that band. That is, if you’d say that the band still exists. See, I simply made a better living doing this graphic stuff, and it’s always been a priority. Dead Poetic was one of the greatest things I’ve done with my life, and I miss so many things about touring and recording. I just love doing graphics and staying home a little bit more. I’d love to get the dudes together and write another record some day.
I started using the moniker of Dark Collar as soon as I started designing graphics. I don’t know why I used it, but it stuck around. I always said it was a name that identified with my quest to never be blue collar, but never quite white collar either. I just wanted to work in the way that I worked. I’ve achieved a balance somewhere in between. Lately, I’ve realized that I have no desire to fool people into thinking there are more employees behind the curtain, or that this whole operation is bigger than it is. It’s just me, working my butt off, trying my best to produce great work. Around the industry, I began realizing I was known by simply Brandon Rike, or just Rike. So, I decided I would just strip everything down, and be myself. So this is me, Brandon Rike – a graphic designer. Simple.
I don’t know Carrie Underwood personally. I won’t sit down with Carrie over lunch and go over sketches. Carrie doesn’t know I exist. While it all sounds awesome, it’s not nearly as glamourous as some may conjure it up to be. I love what I do, but I do it while sitting in my office in my house in Columbus, Ohio. Over the years, I have made a connection or two that has snowballed into working with large companies that handle merch for large artists. I get an email one day that asks “Hey Brandon, we need some designs for Carrie Underwood by Thursday. Can you do it?” I reply “Yes” and get those bad boys done by Thursday. Simple as that.
Please don’t try to steal my job. I can’t go back to washing dishes. But if you must steal my job, this book (that I had a small contribution to) may help you.
Since college was placed on the backburner after hitting the road to tour after we graduated high school, college courses were attended here and there if we had enough time off from touring. I did a few courses while I was still in high school, and a few more during the little time we had off from touring. I attended Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio. All in all, I was probably only halfway to an Associates Degree in Visual Communications before freelance work and the band took all my time. I have no degrees, no debt, and no regrets.
I often dream of having a design shop with employees, whom I can shoot ideas off of, and have a general office camaraderie with. Sadly, I’ve never had the experience, and have always worked solo, from the office in my house. It’s quite lonely, but I don’t have any plans of changing my operation any time soon. It currently runs simply and swiftly, and it ain’t broke.
Part of a (merch) designer’s identity and aesthetic comes from what textures they can conjure up to use on their pieces. So, how ’bout you just make your own? Cool.
A Skylit Drive
After Midnight Project
Alice In Chains
All American Rejects
Allman Brothers Band
Angels And Airwaves
Artist Vs Poet
As I Lay Dying
Better Than Ezra
Black Stone Cherry
Black Veil Brides
Boys Like Girls
City Calvary Kids
Come And Live
Dear Jack Foundation
Easy Street Records
Escape The Fate
Every Time I Die
Famous Stars & Straps
Five For Fighting
Forever The Sickest Kids
Gold & Silver Pawn Shop
Goo Goo Dolls
Haste The Day
He Is Legend
Howe Sound Brewing
Lamb Of God
Morgan Wood Products
Mumford And Sons
My Chemical Romance
My Morning Jacket
Nine Inch Nails
Panic At The Disco
Picture Me Broken
Pierce The Veil
Rage Against The Machine
Rock The Vote
See You Downtown
Solid State Records
Steve Miller Band
Story Of The Year
Taking Back Sunday
The Glitch Mob
The Racing Machetes
The Spill Canvas
The Wholesome Home
There For Tomorrow
Third Eye Blind
This World Fair
Thousand Foot Krutch
Tooth and Nail Records
United Task Co