Case Study: Maverick Unbranded Script Design

Thumbnail image for Maverick Unbranded Script Design case study by Jake Rainis

Maverick Unbranded is a well-established lifestyle apparel company based out of Las Vegas owned by John Wood. As a renowned MMA fighter and owner of the Syndicate MMA gym, Wood had the vision to start a company with a clean and bold aesthetic that blended MMA culture tastefully with the skate and street cultures.

Typically, when designing for a client’s brand, the outcome is the result of objective design decisions. These decisions are not made in favor of the client because as a professional, I don’t design for my clients — I design for their audiences.

But designing for boutique clothing companies brings about some unique aspects of the client process. Not only does the design need to appeal to the client’s target audience, it also has to reflect the idea of the brand’s visionary.

Project Demands

Maverick Unbranded (MU) approached me with the interest in strengthening their overall brand aesthetics, starting with their primary logo monogram. MU had already put a lot of hard work into developing their visuals up to this point, and as a result, they were interested in refining what was working into something more robust and permanent.

After the initial discovery phase, we determined that the primary focus was on the M of Maverick, with the Unbranded part becoming more secondary. The M needed to convey elegance while still being strong and recognizable. The full Maverick also had to play a complimentary part of the logo along with just the M, which would in many contexts, be standalone.

Ideas and Exploration

Maverick Unbranded script design process shot
Maverick Unbranded script design process shot
Maverick Unbranded script design process shot
Maverick Unbranded script design process shot

I got to work sketching the letter M. I quickly became very intimate with its variations and nuances. I kept in mind the fact that the full work Maverick would eventually be written out, but I wanted to develop the letter M first as it would inform the style of the rest of the word.

As I was developing the sketches, I kept in mind the applications in which this logo would be used. It needed to work well in screen printing, but it also needed to work with embroidery. This meant that very thin hairlines weren’t not going to be a viable option.

After exploring the M in various different varieties, I ended up choosing a thicker, modern Spencerian treatment. This style of M would work well on its own, but it would also blend harmoniously with the rest of the word.

Maverick Unbranded script design process shot

At this point, I began working with the entire word. Given the fact that I was dealing with script, I didn’t limit myself to just a pencil. I played with a handful of different brush pens that each had unique nib strengths. This allowed me to capture human gesture, which helped breathe life into the design.

Maverick Unbranded script design process shot
Maverick Unbranded script design process shot

Execution and Refinement

Once I had a pretty solid direction, I took the gestural brush drawings I had done and recreated them with pencil. I traced them over and over again piece by piece until I was able to get every line perfect prior to vectorization.

Maverick Unbranded script design process shot

As always, the vectorization phase exposes inconsistencies in kerning and other letter relationships. Cleaning this up digitally really made the design shine.

This process takes hours upon hours, so I like to space out my work sessions over the course of a couple days. This enables me to re-approach the design with a fresh eye. Patience is key.

Maverick Unbranded script design process shot

The Final Product

Maverick Unbranded script design process shot

The careful execution resulted in a beautiful piece that was real and organic, but still bold and professional.

I delivered both the M and the full word separately. The standalone M has slightly different exit stroke than the M in Maverick. This gives the M more balance and character.

Maverick Unbranded script design process shot
Maverick Unbranded script design process shot
Maverick Unbranded script design process shot