Cadence Race Promotions

I lost a bet. While I cannot reveal the terms of the bet, I can tell you that in losing that bet, I was on the hook for creating a logo for an awesome friend’s new business…and I totally geeked out over losing. Sure, I could have sketched something out in crayon on a napkin and handed that over—I never said anything about the format or quality—but I just can’t do something half way.

Sketches of the letter A

So, I started sketching out the letters within the company name to find a style that connected with the what I believe the business’s characteristics are (reliable, creative, smart, fun, and modern). I worked out several pages of letters (including the full page of As at the left).

Once I worked my way through all of my lettering ideas, I took a look at other race management companies and considered the audience’s expectations.

Thumbnail sketches for Cadence Race Promotion Logos

I know CRP’s audience pretty well (runners!) and know that we see more than our fair share of logos—unless you’re leading all the races, you’re bound to have a few shirt-backs full of logos right in your face at every race. I wanted something that would immediately draw a runner’s attention and started on sketches that incorporated a runner with the company name. Many were absolutely hilarious, but I finally created one that I felt worked well, and sent it to Rooster & Stretch* for feedback.

First Accepted Cadence Race Promotions Logo

They were thrilled with one of the designs, so I built it out in Illustrator and sent them a workable logo. At first, I was pretty proud of this guy, but after another designer moved him to the other side of the logo, I was…not happy. I hated my creation and basically begged to create a new logo option.

So, I went back to my sketchbook and drew a bunch of runners. This was a fun challenge—there are so many runner icons running around out there, and I wanted something a little different. Once I found some workable options, I scanned my favorites using the Genius Scan app on my iPhone and worked up some rough comps (shown below) using the Concepts app on my iPad to speed up the process a bit. Then, sent them off to Rooster & Stretch for feedback.

I was surprised when they chose my funky wave dude (upper left). He was my last-ditch filler dude. I never thought he’d make the cut, but he was the one.

Cadence Race Promotions final logosSo, I reworked the lettering slightly to create some visual connections and worked out color options. They wanted orange and royal blue, but that color combination could be confused with the race timing company they work with. I brightened the orange and adjusted the blue to darker teal (to avoid any color vibration). I also created several iterations of the logo to allow for multiple uses.


They loved the final colors and logo and had me create course signs to use at their 5k and 10k races. Next up: converting all of the handlettering into custom typefaces, the full brand identity package, and website redesign.


This project didn’t quite follow a standard process, but the guys launched Cadence Race Promotions quite quickly, and at the time, I was still working a chaotic full-time job and designing in my free time. Now that I’m designing on a full-time basis, I’ll be able to give this project all of the creativity and energy that it deserves.



Design A Pin

I recently bought a button maker (the real deal, not the cheap kid’s version). It’s a Tecre Button Making Machine as shown here.

Making designs to fit the 1.25″ buttons is a bit of challenge, but a fun one. I’ve created designs for Girls on the Run of Stark County and Jackson Cross Country, so far.

Download this sketch sheet and give it a try yourself. Pick a theme, set a time limit, and see what you can come up with!


Abstract Sputnik Creative Challenge

I’ve developed a bit of a fascination with Mid Century Modern bookcases, especially the ones with the asymmetrical shelves. I’ve started to notice these frameworks in vintage fabric designs. Two of my favorite fabric designers, Lucienne Day & Marian Mahler used asymmetric frameworks as the base for several patterns during the sputnik era (mid-1950s through the 1960s). Of course, Lucienne’s frameworks were much more organic, while Marian’s tended to be more rigid.

For this morning’s creative caffeine, I sketched out a few frameworks of my own and adorned them with random shapes. No real goals here, just taking 15 minutes to work out my retro design skills before jumping into what is most likely going to be another chaotic day!

In case you want to play along, download my worksheet below. (Or just grab a sketch book, and make your own.)