I feel prompted to say, “Once in awhile I get the opportunity to work on a really fun and engaging project” – but that would be a bold faced lie, because all of my projects are fun, educational, and lead to great experiences; good or bad… ANGRY BARTENDERS however was honestly a different sort of project; it was a long time in the making, a really long time in the making — but this is a testament to patience, discipline and lots and lots of follow ups, touching base, and keeping the hope alive.
Sometimes, you will be presented with projects that have lots of zeros attached to it; other times you will be presented with projects that have the promise to lead to many more growth and client opportunities; and other times you are presented with projects that make your creative heart happy and provide fair compensation. While the monetary aspect is extremely important to make a living, you also have to make your heart, brain, and soul happy — and if you can do BOTH, well then, that’s called WINNING!
I first delved into the world of Bartenders growing up in NYC – it was a hectic, fast paced, diverse, community of misfits and a mix of lifers / temps. After my brief encounter with that scene, I later moved to Houston, TX, and got sucked into this community of bartenders, whom proudly called themselves the LIQUID NINJAS! This was bigger, deeper, and much more organized than the crew I collaborated with in NYC. Both experiences had one common theme… THEY HAD A BEVY OF RICH STORIES AND EXPERIENCES, and airing / sharing these stories back to back in afterhours or late-night diners simply wasn’t enough. The beauty of this world and why I easily transitioned into them, was due to my ability to be my own boss and make my own hours. Due to this, I was able to find time to bond with this community, and well, to tell the truth, my rebellious university days allowed me to keep up with them as well heh heh. Nevertheless, I honestly met some of the most amazing clients through this community, and to this day have been given the opportunity to work on some really fun and creative projects.
Fast-forward to today, when the group of Angry Bartenders approached me, it was a no-brainer — I had so much experience with this world, and experience working with this community, that I salivated at the opportunity to do it all over again — this time with more experience and more enlightenment as an evolved creative.
The goals seemed simple enough, but it was one of those projects where the client approached me with what seemed like a clear direction, but no clue in how to apply, nor enough to make an established presence. What I mean by the latter is that sometimes clienst come to you with an idea, for ex. “I need a logo…” however, the client does not realize after sitting with me, and hearing their ideas out loud, subsequently they realize that much more is needed. The end result was that this group of rag tag bartenders from all over the USA and beyond, needed more than just a logo for their group, but a vehicle to display, share, and evoke a bond by creating a community – and dare I say it, A MOVEMENT?
The directions and goals became clear after a face to face, they were as follow:
Research played a huge role in this project – I mean research always plays a role, but this time we went though hundreds of images that exemplified the rebel / humorous approach to iconography. The graphic elements that we narrowed down, were the icons from humorous and eccentric rebels Howard Stern, and the vintage Hunter S. Thompson logo (R.I.P.) — These icons (both figuratively and literally) were rebels of industry, outspoken, daring, and game-changers. The ironic thing about both identifying marks, is that they use FISTS as logotypes / iconic marks. The Howard Stern logo of recent, utilizes a raised clenched fist, with the H substituting the middle portion of the fingers. The Hunter S. Thompson logo (AKA the “Gonzo Logo”) is a fist with two thumbs holding a peyote button. All of this research prompted me to fall into the rabbit-hole and uncover more about the history of the “Raised Fist” — it turns out that it has had a global political history, gaining prominence during the Spanish Civil War of 1936–1939, when it was used by the Republican faction as a greeting, and was known as the “Popular Front salute” or the “anti-fascist salute”. The salute subsequently spread among leftists and anti-fascists across Europe.
The Raised Fist became further popularized and etched in American history, by use of the Black Panthers Party, and the historical media moment when African American Olympians raised their fist in the 1968 Olympic Games.
Once the proper name and identity were developed, everything essentially fell into place. The website being developed in efforts to involve and create a larger community, is utilizing an UP-VOTE feature – which allows viewers and content developers to control the popularity of content and its prominent placement, via voting. The Iconography and brand identity says it all! Its bold, legible, clean, and most of all the icon for the brand truly says ANGRY, ANGRY AS HELL to be exact.
The clenched fist with the broken bottle, not only stems from the rebellious influence of Hunter S. Thompson, and Howard Stern, and its history in American culture, but ultimately it derives from some of the craziest stories in the nightlife world, told to me by the founders and ever growing group.
Overall, this was one heck of a journey, and I am happy to be a part of its inception, and most importantly part of its evolution. Remember boys and girls, #drinkresponsibly.