You’ve got to really love a sneaker to create type from it and Will Smith from Portland clearly has a passion, creating these digits in honor of his favorite Jordan sneaker the Jordan 4 “Fire Man”.
You can see the 80’s influence in the colour and style in this concept project. The numbers were inspired by a retro catalog card showing the sequential number given to each new design.
20 years apart: Nike & Emigre
I saw this Nike image (top left) posted a couple of weeks ago (uncredited unfortunately) and liked it. However I couldn’t put my finger on why; it’s pretty unremarkable.
Having a quick look again, it dawned on me that it mimics what Emigre were doing two decades ago. Above, right is a shot of Rudy VanderLans’ 1991 cover for Emigre 19 employing Barry Deck’s Template Gothic.
I loved what Emigre has done to push graphic design forward. The Nike poster in comparison is just very poor imitation adding nothing new.
I’d highly recommend reading the heart warming ‘behind the scenes’ stories published in Emigre’s No.70 Look Back Issue. These journal the rise of the magazine and give a brilliant insight into the founders’ vision and determination - but also their nagging self-doubt. Who could blame them when Massimo Vignelli declared it “a national calamity” and “an aberration of culture”! Very inspiring for any designer.