Cre8iveJuice on Graphic Design, Cleveland Sports, and the Cavs

When Rick debuted this image this past Monday over at WFNY I though it was awesome, and not just because I saw the likeness of this blog in the top left corner along with another one I write for featured on the right either.

  

It simply struck me as flat-out cool, and I had to hit up Mike Brenkus (@Cre8ive_Juice), the designer behind this and a ton of other classic images, to talk about it.  I caught up with Mike on Thursday and asked him a few questions about this particular series of images, as well as some of the other design work that he does for pro athletes and celebrities, and our conversation is below.

Stepien Rules: I thought that image you designed for the daily blog round-up at WFNY was awesome when I saw it on Monday. How did you come up with the concept for the design and what was your thought process behind?

Mike Brenkus: Thanks! I have to thank Rick over at WFNY for being patient with me and giving me time to come up with a cool concept. I did a previous graphic for them for their first-annual Woofnies awards. They wanted an image of a trophy, so I took the idea of waiting and created a clock where each number on the face was a different logo of our big three sports teams here in Cleveland. I thought it came out great, so for this graphic I still wanted to go with the waiting theme, but didn’t want to use a clock or any other time-keeping device. Instead, I thought of a waiting room at a doctor/dentist’s office, and how there were always plenty of magazines to read “while you’re waiting”. One of my favorite things to do in design is to create new logos/designs using previously created logos/designs as inspiration. This of course meant finding the fonts for eight or so popular magazines and then typing the names of some of the sites that WFNY links to each day in their “While We’re Waiting” blog. There were a few instances where I had to make custom letters since the font wasn’t able to be had for free. As soon as I thought of your site, I knew The Sporting News would be a great logo to use. I went with their older logotype though, since in my opinion, it is more well known and is frankly a classic Sports magazine logo. The others I used were: Cosmopolitan for Castroturf, Gentleman’s Quarterly for The OBR, Guns and Ammo for Dawgs by Nature, Glamour for Cavs The Blog, Cleveland Magazine for Cleveland Frowns, Entertainment Weekly for Eleven Warriors, and High Times for Highball Times. I also made a larger magazine using the ESPN font for WFNY, and found an hourglass image to use for the cover. Only real change I made to it was by making it’s shadow a silhouette of the Terminal Tower to give it that CLE touch. Tossed the mags in a magazine holder that I made from scratch, dropped in a victorian-style wallpaper in the back and voila! One of my fave designs as of late, that’s for sure.

SR: I know you’re a huge Cavs fans, what would be your favorite Cavs memory of all-time if you had to pick one?

MB: Well, if it’s any Cavs-related memory, it would have to be Jan. 5th 2010 when I proposed to my now fiance Candice on court during a break in the game. If you go to CavFanatic.com you can see the video they took of it for us. Couldn’t have done it anywhere better, seeing as how we met first through the website, and then in person at a Cavs playoff game. As far as actual basketball is concerned, it’d have to be beating the Pistons and making it to the Finals in 2007. I think that was such a great playoffs, and watching that game with some of my best friends at a birthday party made it that much better. Me and a friend were near tears, and while we got swept by the Spurs, winning that series is probably the closest we’ve ever been to knowing what it’s like to win a championship in Cleveland, at least from a Cavalier fan’s perspective. I’ll never forget it.

SR: Assuming this lockout ends, what are thoughts about your squad heading into next season?

MB: I want another lottery pick dammit! But seriously, I don’t think we’ll make the playoffs, so I just want to develop the young talent we have, see if guys like Christian and Samardo can be productive members of our team in the future, and hope that Kyrie and Tristan can learn from the vets we still have on the team. In short, I just want us to develop our youngsters, stay healthy, win about 25 games and have a top 5 pick in the lottery. Our time isn’t now, it’s in two or three years. We all need patience.

SR: What are some other designs that you’ve done lately that people can check out, and where can they find your latest stuff?

MB: My original creative outlet was CavFanatic, so people can view my galleries there for some old-school stuff, but more recently I’ve mainly been working on twitter backgrounds. It all started with JJ Hickson (@JJHickson21) following me for some unknown reason (probably because I RT’d any article I could find on him, haha), and offering to do his for him. After that, I’ve done backgrounds for Samardo Samuels (@samardo24), Christian Eyenga (@christeyenga8) and Booby Gibson (@BooBysWorld1) of the Cavs, ESPN’s Jay Crawford (@jaycrawfordespn) (who was born in Sandusky fyi), Robaire Smith (@BigHomie4real) of the Browns (I’m actually working on a new version of his now so it might not be updated yet) and former Brown Shaun Rogers (@QBComa92). I’ve done one for Candice (@CandiColrdPixls) of course too, but have yet to do one for myself! I’m putting that near the top of my to-do list for sure, right underneath “create a self-promotional website” lol. Gotta teach myself how to do that soon. Other than that, I’ve been mainly using twitter to showcase any artwork I’ve made over the past few years. A few highlights in recent memory have been my “Gone Fishin” pic of the Miami Heat that got picked up by Terez Owens, and the Custodians pic that I made depicting a few members of the Tribe sweeping away their opponents. You can check out my twitpic page or just follow me on twitter and I’ll be sure to keep making things as I become inspired.

SR: Anything you’re working on currently that you want to give people a heads up on?

MB: I’ve been working on another Skyenga graphic, although it’s taken a back seat to some paying sidejobs as of late. It’s another take on a classic image. Think MJ meets Skyenga. Otherwise, just have a few feelers out there on some possible twitter backgrounds for celebs/athletes. I do have an itch to create some more magazines though, just to keep those of us who are waiting a bit more interested. :)

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Thanks to Mike for checking in with us, and you can follow Mike on Twitter by following @Cre8ive_Juice. Keep doing your thing buddy!

Brendan Bowers

About Brendan Bowers

I am the founding editor of StepienRules.com. I am also a content strategist and social media manager with Electronic Merchant Systems in Cleveland. My work has been published in SLAM Magazine, KICKS Magazine, The Locker Room Magazine, Cleveland.com, BleacherReport.com, InsideFacebook.com and elsewhere. I've also written a lot of articles that have been published here.

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