Starry Night: An LA Galaxy Poster

The LA Galaxy have a pretty cool tradition: they ask artists and designers to create posters for every home match. I’ve been following this year’s series and it’s had some really good moments.

This week, it’s my turn.

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I was incredibly flattered when the Galaxy reached out to me to create one for this Saturday’s coming home game against the Whitecaps. This poster is my visual tribute to the club and a particular Hall of Famer on the team who wears the #10 shirt.

Note: If you’d like to learn more about the design, or even purchase one (proceeds go to charity), you can do so here.

How did I arrive at this design, exactly? Here’s what I was hoping to get across.

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A Moment on the Radio

Earlier this summer, I traveled to Brazil to see the US play in the World Cup. It was a once-in-a-lifetime trip; I’m going to write up a little travelogue soon. One of the cardinal rules of going away for more than a couple days is that “interesting stuff, that you would normally be all over, happens back home and you can’t really take part in it.” It sure happened to me. This is a bit old now, but I want to mention it separate from my travels – if only because the whole thing was such a cool experience in its own right, and something I’ve never really gotten to share with everyone.

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A Boston Dream for the New England Revolution

I’m still waiting to become a New England Revolution die-hard. They won’t get me until they move into the city; the team is on record as wanting such a move, but in almost two decades, nothing beyond some shuffling of papers has happened.

That hasn’t stopped me (and many others) from dreaming about what a beautiful urban soccer stadium could do for our city. Boston would instantly - mark my words, from day one - become one of the most passionate fan bases in North America. The Revolution would be a cultural happening in the city, and matches would be events. Boston is a soccer town waiting to be unleashed.

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Three Limited US Soccer World Cup Prints

The World Cup is a great excuse to design. My apparel shop, Clean Sheet Co., has you covered for shirts; now I’ve worked up something for your wall too. Just in time for the USA’s run in the 2014 World Cup, I’m pleased to announce a very cool collaboration: three USMNT-inspired poster prints - one for each opening round game - designed by me and hand-printed by the artisans at Boston’s renowned AntiDesigns studio.

USA vs Ghana 

click to order USA vs. Ghana at shop.mwillis.com
order USA vs Ghana here

USA vs. Portugal 

click to order USA vs. Portugal at shop.mwillis.com
order USA vs Portugal here

USA vs. Germany 

click to order USA vs. Germany at shop.mwillis.com
order USA vs Germany here

Each hand-pulled, edge-to-edge screen printed poster measures 11” x 17”, and is brought to life with gallery-quality inks on beautiful 100 lb. Speckletone stock by French Paper.

These prints are extremely limited - I’m working with AntiDesigns to make a small initial run, and only 39 prints of each match will be available. You can grab individual matches or order all three as a set; single match prints are just $25, and a set of all three is a pretty good deal at $60. Pre-orders are now open at shop.mwillis.com, and we’ll ship them during the World Cup (end of June / beginning of July).

If you’re a fan of US Soccer, or know someone who is, you might just want one - or even all three.

A Red Sox Patriots’ Day Concept

The Red Sox use a special “Boston” jersey on Patriots’ Day.  As a Bostonian, I love the sentiment; why not go one step farther? For one day, dress in Boston Athletic Association colors, sell the jerseys and hats, and give the proceeds to relevant charities. 

Hey, maybe next year. Best wishes to all of the Marathon participants and this lovely city I call home. Go Sox!

Identity Sketches for the San Jose Earthquakes

I design because it’s fun and satisfying - but I also design as a form of communicating critique. This isn’t necessarily because I’ve found a perfect – or even, better – approach to an existing brand; it’s mostly because when it comes to discussions of identity, visuals communicate much more clearly than words ever could. After all, if you’re responding to something visual; why not craft a visual response? Why not express yourself on the same terms the brand does?

The best way to criticize a movie is to make another movie.
Jean-Luc Godard

I created refreshed identities for the New England Revolution and the Columbus Crew with this principle in mind.  Both of those brands continue to use old, out of favor design language that could stand some fresh thought. In one of those cases, help is on the way; in another, the potential for change is still at least, er, theoretically possible. I’ve also done some visual thinking about New York City FC, a brand which has since defined itself in a rather dignified (if heavily inspired) manner. ‘Critique by design’ is the best way I know how to get new identity concepts across - concepts that may begin with visuals, but usually extend to the way a team presents itself and carries itself.  A well-conceived brand takes on a personality, and becomes a living thing – but the process invariably starts with a foundation of solid design work.

Today, I’m offering a visual critique of the San Jose Earthquakes, a soccer brand that, much like the Revs and the Crew, had good reason to re-imagine their visual identity.

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