Tuesday, January 20, 2015

First Business Card + Origin of Arrrggghhh Ink

I think one thing all artists, illustrators and designers can agree on, is that they hate looking at some of their early work. At least I feel that way about this item: my very first business card. It has so many errors and flaws -- it makes me cringe. Too many small details, too many motion lines and let's not talk about that font!

My first business card as a freelancer (can't believe people actually hired me!)

Looking back, I remember this image helping me decide on my company name, Arrrggghhh Ink. This card inspired me to make several other similar images. In all those versions, things were always going wrong with the characters screaming, "ARRRGGGHHH!"

This eventually led to things going wrong with pen ink; for example, ink spilling on a white horse getting zebra-striped ink stains along his back. (And instead of screaming "Arrrggghhh", the characters usually just cursed the ink.) Adding the word "Ink" to "Arrrggghhh" was a simple play on words so that, "Arrrggghhh Ink", when spoken would sound like an incorporated pirate company. (And of course there's the Ink/Inc pun . . . )

With so many characters cursing the spilled ink over the years, eventually the tipping ink bottle became my company icon.

An example how the spilling ink bottle became my company icon for Arrrggghhh Ink

My use of the word "Arrrggghhh" has been with me for decades. It was equally inspired by Charles Schultz's Peanuts (which was more Aaugh! than Argh!) and Monty Python's Holy Grail. As a kid, I always loved seeing different spellings of word ARGH in comic books. There was even a short lived comic by Marvel called Arrgh Comics!

When I started using computers, I created my I.D./handle as Arrrggghhh for bulletin boards, online services and I've been using it as my username in almost every online game I've played.

The latest version of the company logo, using the same elements, but cleaner and simplified

Looking back, was it the smartest name to use? Probably not.
People rarely ever spell the name right. Verbally telling someone my email address is often a task.Yet, people smile or laugh at the name when they see or hear it . . . that's why it's a great name. (I've even had several people snort with laughter on the phone; one time was with an IRS agent . . . really, some of them do have a sense of humor!)

People do remember the name - just not the spelling.

I can live with that . . .