Earlier this year, my brother Alex told me he was starting a podcast with a friend of his, called It'll Be Alright In The Nineties. He asked if I would mind putting together a logo for it. He gave me quite an open brief...
"I was thinking bright colours based on Jorge Campos shirts, and just some vaguely retro text".
I felt like I'd seen plenty of supposedly 90s themed bits of graphic design and a lot of them didn't really feel authentic to me; they mostly looked like they'd been created to appeal to Gen Z's imagined idea of the 90s. I had a look around and there was no clear stand-out individual font that felt right for the project - I wanted something that said "90s" but wasn't directly connected to a particular franchise as I knew the podcast would be covering all sorts of topics. Then WordArt popped into my head and it felt like the ideal solution. Extremely 90s but still neutral enough to not be too tied to anything specific.
Alex seemed to like the idea so I put that to one side and started to think about the background. I took a look at Jorge Campos' shirts and realised I wasn't going to be able to directly copy any of their patterns like I'd first thought, but I made a note of the colours, and decided to create something from scratch. Alex had told me that they wanted the logo as a square but that it would also occasionally be cropped into a circle, depending on what podcast platforms they were using.
I created various layered shapes and zigzags in Photoshop and painstakingly dotted them around the canvas, making sure that they were distributed fairly evenly and that each one was slightly differently rotated so it didn't look like a repeated pattern. I created a pastel pink and yellow gradient for all these to sit on and added a little texture to it with a zig-zag of halftone dots. I have to admit, I was very pleased with how this turned out. It looks like it could've been the print for a beloved pair of Bermuda shorts.
The design is so busy that I knew the WordArt really needed to be on a white background somehow. My initial idea was to have a ripped page effect, revealing the title...
I think it kind of works but I didn't love it, and there was a lot of unused space. As pleased as I was with the background graphic, I didn't want it to be so prominent. The title also needed to be bigger to work as a visually clear and readable thumbnail on Spotify. And we probably needed a little clarity as to what It'll Be Alright In The 90s actually was, too!
I ditched the ripped paper effect and decided to make the title look like each word had been cut out and stuck over the background instead. Sticking with the crafting motif, I dug out a Dymo Label Maker font for the sub-heading. Like the WordArt, it was nostalgic but neutral, and sort of perfect for our needs (if you need to label something, what could else could be more appropriate than an label maker?).
It was pretty much finished. The only final change was to replace the black Dymo stickers with blue ones, partly because it was a way to add more colour, and partly because that was the colour my childhood Dymo was!
"Yeah, they look phat. Stu says you've done a fantastic job"
I sent it over, along with all the various layers and components so Alex and Stu could create banners and other bits and pieces that would match. The WordArt nostalgia also gave me the idea for this promotional image.
Poor Clippy, did anyone ever take them up on their offer of help?
It'll Be Alright In The Nineties is hosted by Alex Greenwood and Stu Joslin and you can listen to it on Spotify, Anchor FM, and YouTube, and follow them on Twitter at @AlrightNineties. At the time of writing, released episodes cover their favourite 90s football shirts (Jorge Campos obviously gets a mention) and a classic episode of Police Camera Action!.