Nine and Two Thirds
The identity for Nine and Two Thirds represents the most fun I’ve had as a designer in a good while. I really enjoyed collaborating with the owner, and fellow artist, Matthew Larkin. Mat is a high-end metal fabricator and true craftsman. He asked for an identity that wouldn’t look like every hipster logo that adorns craft beer bottles and shaving kits.
When I sat with Mat during our first meeting he handed me several volumes of machinist manuals and pointed out the hand-drawn illustrations tool & die machines. These were tight mechanical drawings made by draftsmen using ruling pens, indelible ink, and straight edges. The lines were precise but organic, the drawings were full of life. I knew Mat’s new identity had to reflect the character of these drawings.
I gave Mat several concept sketches and told him to live with them for a while. He taped them to a metal column in his shop so he could see them as he worked. A few weeks later I called him and he told me the calligraphic rendering of the numerals “9 and 2/3” was the winner. Not only was it unique but it perfectly reflected the tagline that had been rolling around in his head the past few weeks: Metal Craft as Art Form.
The next stage was the one in which I had to be the most careful: refining the concept as a finished design. I resisted the urge to reconstruct the sketch using geometric forms and a pre-designed font. Instead, I used the Bezier tool in Adobe Illustrator and created the entire logo curve by curve. It took much longer to work this way but the result was well worth it.
As I was creating mockups of the logo in different contexts (because logos don’t exist in a vacuum) I thought, “This thing needs to be a tattoo.” Given Mat’s love for tattoos and how satisfied he was with his new identity, how could I avoid suggesting it? So I ordered a couple dozen temporary tattoos and mailed them to Mat. His Instagram post the day he received the tattoos speaks for itself.