Grubfest 2006 Badges

10 June 2009

Today, 10 June 2009, marks the third anniversary of a party hosted by Jeff&Erin Osthimer. Grubfest, which was on paper a gathering of Jeff's students to celebrate the end of the school year, was also open to their friends to herald the coming of summer. Now, normally I wouldn't take notice of the anniversaries of every single event I ever attended, but Grubfest 2006 bears some special recognition for me because of some designs I threw together on a whim. That means it's time for another issue of....


Saturday 10 June 2006 was a far different day from Wednesday 10 June 2009. In 2006 the weather was absolutely beautiful, with brilliant blue skies full of puffy white clouds and a warm sun shining down upon our heads. For 2009 the day was marked by overcast skies and a general gloominess outside, with heavy grey clouds blocking the sun and the look of rain perpetually overhead despite none being on the forecast.

Today would have been a lousy day for a backyard party. Three years ago we could not have hoped for better and Grubfest benefited greatly from the gorgeous weather. It was a day you wanted to be outside. In other words, perfect for grilling and trampolining under the sun.

This was primarily Jeff's party on account of it being hosted for his former students at the end of Whitmer's school year. However, the invitation was open to anyone who wished to make an appearance, and the planning was very open and forthright. On 8 June, two days before the party, Jeff made a post on the Gopher Gathering providing a list of Grubfest positions. This struck me as a very Josh thing to do which, of course, only motivated me to follow through with a similarly Josh course of action: to design individual insignia for each of these positions. That is only natural.

All images link to larger versions.


Grubfest positions | 8 June 2006

These were the positions appointed for a handful of Grubfest attendees, as dictated by Jeff at 8:08 AM on 8 June, approximately fifty-four hours before things were to kick off.

Eleven positions, all very straightforward. Sure, I didn't personally know five of these people (reduced to two during the following years), but that was okay. They would bend to our whims and fancies just like anyone else, I was certain.

With the positions set in place by Jeff, my role began.

Grubfest position sketches | 8 June 2006

Unbeknownst to Jeff I set to work designing the position insignia. First up were the individual graphics that would adorn the then-undrawn base patch. This part was just a very quick exercise in scribbling really fast the ideas that came to mind. I didn't have a whole lot of time to spend getting really detailed and fine-tuning the designs and, as we'll see, many of these concepts were trimmed down to even simpler forms, especially in the case of Erin's "Hostest with the Mostest" designation.

Grubfest badge | 8 June 2006

With the eleven positions speedily sketched the next step was to draw everything up in Illustrator. The first step in this process was to create the base patch. This was more or less painless, and is your basic round patch with a tag on the bottom. Military and space programs around the world have proven this design's flexibility and it's just a convenient design to work with. It not only gives you a large canvas for unique graphics but also provides a nice platform for uniformity. The tag at the bottom allows text to be displayed prominently without infringing on the graphics above. This is a design that I use a lot myself, most recently on the Department of Dan's Dreams insignia.

The patch makes use of red and yellow coloration. This is a backyard cookout after all, so the colors of ketchup and mustard seemed a logical choice.

With the base in place the badges fell together pretty quickly.

Below are breakdowns and descriptions of all eleven original badges, plus the three that were added later. The size of the physical pieces measured 3.5" across and 4" tall.

Griller in Chief

Assigned to: Jeff Osthimer
Design comments: Jeff's badge features the grill that he lorded over the domain of. The original sketch featured a spatula and grill prong crossed menacingly in Jolly Roger fashion, but this was dropped for the sake of simplicity.

Hostest with the Mostest

Assigned to: Erin Osthimer
Design comments: Erin's badge changed the most between the concept sketch and its actual drawing in Illustrator. The initial concept featured a very feminine Donna Reed-like hostess with a tray bearing victuals. It was reduced to only the drinks when it became the most complex of all the concept scribbles (and was maybe slightly sexist to boot). I like it much better this way. Simplify simplify!

JG Enterprises Representative

Assigned to: Josh Gulch
Design comments: My own badge highlights some struggle to show my command of JG Enterprises in showing more than just the corporate logo. The twin stars work okay for what it had to do, but maybe they should have been shades of yellow instead of grey.

Fire Master

Assigned to: James Malcolm
Design comments: James was appointed as fire master, given his penchant for the flames, and his badge reflects accordingly. I was never happy with how the fire graphic turned out but I simply lacked the time to make it better.

Animal Control

Assigned to: Katy Murray
Design comments: Katy was given the task of keeping the cats in check. With two of these beasties wandering around, plus people constantly coming and going from the house, someone needed to keep an eye out. The depiction of Tiger on this badge was the recolored head of a cat I drew for another project (which I'll discuss later).

LAN Games Director

Assigned to: Joe Murray
Design comments: These were Jeff's students we're dealing with, so of course it was necessary to appoint someone to oversee the networking of computers for gameplay. The graphic is probably pretty self-explanatory and I'm sure Joe did a fine job of it.

Director of General Silliness

Assigned to: Charles Meyer
Design comments: Jeff mildly riled up Marie's goat when he handed out her JG Enterprises title to Charles for Grubfest. More on that later, but Charles apparently did well in this capacity as everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.

LAN Administrator

Assigned to: Andy Ramm
Design comments: I don't know Andy and I don't know much about LANs, so I'm out of my element here. Obviously it's more than a computer-to-monitor connection, and I can still hear the guffaws that must have been lobbed at my ignorance. I should have had arrows connecting multiple towers instead.

Magic Game Director

Assigned to: Derek Finch
Design comments: Grubfest was at the height of the Magic craze amongst these people, when money was being thrown about for boxes of cards without any concern for when they might eat next. Presumably Derek, whom I do not know, was an aficionado in this game, though I cannot remember seeing anyone actually playing it at this event. This is not to say that no games went down, just that I didn't observe or recall any.

Borg Queen

Assigned to: John Holub
Design comments: Holub was appointed as the Borg Queen due to his penchant for leather outfits and blowing on peoples' arms. Actually no, but I'd rather believe that's the case. In any event, his badge sported the insignia of the Borg, from the Star Trek franchise. Resistance is, after all, quite futile. Indubitably so, my good chap.

Logic Overseer

Assigned to: Russ Ladd
Design comments: Russ is an engineer of the extreme sense, so his whole mindset is mired in working out logical solutions to life. This is also an ailment that James suffers from. Those poor souls. His badge bears another Star Trek icon: the IDIC. Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations, the symbol of logic amongst the Vulcans.

Burden on Society

Assigned to: Phil Dake
Design comments: The next three badges were not part of Jeff's original list and were created after the party started. Phil's badge was created when he, Berry, and I returned to my house for something and, in the process of being there, I cranked out two extra insignia. This one for Phil features a tribute to Monty Python in the form of the 16-ton weight that falls from the sky.

Czech Republic Internal Affairs

Assigned to: Chris Berry
Design comments: The summer of 2006 was the high point of the long-running joke between Berry and I about the Czech Republic and how it is a fine place to take a vacation. This melded into another just-as-long-running joke about Padmé Amidala and her lady problems, plus George Lucas' feelings on the matter. The lines are so blurry now. Anyway, this was made with Phil's on our little outing, and features the Death Star as the unquestionable symbol of Czech supremacy in the universe.

Dance Dance Revolutionary

Assigned to: Felicity Powers
Design comments: Felicity was our undisputed champion in the much-regarded competitive sport of Dance Dance Revolution. She was almost too good at it, taking a special delight in showing up anyone who tried to challenge her. This being her solidly-held realm, she got the final Grubfest badge, though it was designed a day or two after the party. Still, she was there and just as active as anyone else, so she received this slightly belated badge which depicts a DDR game pad.

A month later Jeff&Erin held another party on 22 July. This time it wasn't open to the high school crowd and consisted of the friends of our lovely hosts, most of whom were their age and open to more rowdy hijinks. Part of the pre-planning was that Paul Arquette and I were going to make a special excursion to the store to pick up a few things for the event. Talking on the instant messenger allowed one thing to lead to another and before I knew it a patch for our special trip was made. It rips off the graphics from the Grubfest badges, meaning it went together in a snap.

Shopping Trip patch | 22 July 2006

The design features those tabs on both top and bottom. This was done by taking two blank Grubfest badges, flipping one upside down, and merging them together. The new shape was stretched horizontally to make it more ovoid than the original. Likewise, the martinis are now pink with cherries rather than blue with olives on Erin's badge. Despite this effort, we never went to the store. This was also the party where I counted everyone who went in and out the back door. This was another fun party but I stayed up way too late, given that we were going to Cedar Point bright and early the next morning.

Given that the badges were all created on short notice, a number of elements were stolen from previous designs that I had drawn.

Gigi the cat | 26 April 2005

Save Our Strays | 16 September 2005

The image of Tiger the Cat on the Animal Control badge had previously been drawn for one of my commissions. Save Our Strays, an animal rescue organization in Kalamazoo, Michigan, needed a logo. My brother Shawn hooked me up with them and I turned out a dandy design featuring a dog and a cat in a life preserver. I'll write about that sometime since it's one of my designs that actually saw some public usage, though they've since adopted a new logo for their organization. Here's the original cat from that logo. Shawn's pet cat Gigi served as the model for this particular feline. Recoloring Gigi's fur turned it into a passable Tiger.

The Gopher Gathering Database Project | 25 June 2005

The computer monitor on the LAN Games Director and LAN Administrator badges was ripped off from this unused insignia for the project to write a user database for The Gopher Gathering. Originally Jon Smith and James Malcolm had offered to work on the coding but that never came about, with the final version being programmed by Devin Collins. By that time I sort of decided not to bother with a project patch for it. Aside from changing the color the only thing I did was to add a stand for the Grubfest monitors.

Department of Smiles and General Silliness | 19 June 2004

Jeff assigned Charles to an illustrious position as the Director of General Silliness. Presumably this title came around because the phrase had gotten lodged in Jeff's brain from the JG Enterprise documents floating around relating to that very sector. The Department of Smiles and General Silliness lies under the purview of Marie Jarden. I vaguely remember some cheeky quips about this young, bearded upstart who was usurping her tenured position. Peace seems to have been resolved, and Charles has since vacated this position.

The design on Charles' badge is directly inspired by the departmental logo that was created for the never-to-be-completed JG Enterprises website. It's a simple smiley, nothing extraordinary, but pleasant all the same.

At the end of the day, and with three years worth of hindsight, I still regard Grubfest 2006 as one of the better parties. It was a happy day, free from the drama that seemed to surround everybody throughout that year. The weather was perfect, everyone was having fun, and there wasn't a complaint to be had. As an added perk, my badges, based on Jeff's position assignments, were well received. Pins were handed out and people wore them throughout the day. Even the people who didn't know me (nor I them) wore them. I was unashamedly pleased with myself. It was a darned good day and pictures, as they say, last a lifetime, so here's my photo gallery of the event:

As to my own badge, I still have it. For years it was taped to the wall beside my desk and above the embroidered mission patches for the ongoing International Space Station expeditions, but was removed along with most other wall decorations in 2011 (excepting the station patches). Felicity had hers tacked to the visor of her car, sunbleached and a little tattered, but the others have been scattered to the wind. I wonder if anyone else still has theirs? That would be interesting to know.

Josh's badge | 10 June 2009

Eleven years after Grubfest, and eight years after writing this article, I returned to the original Illustrator files from the event. Much had changed since that fine summer day in the Osthimer's backyard. For one, that backyard no longer belongs to the Osthimers, as they moved across town a year later. On the graphic design front, in April 2007 I began what evolved into event insignia -- specialized mission patches for each significant occasion I've hosted. It was in the course of drawing event insignia #92, for a Summer Pool Day in June 2017, that I opened my old file to grab some of the vectors held within.

Grubfest 2006 event insignia | 5 June 2017

But first, while the pool party materials were coming together, I decided that Grubfest 2006 really needed some sort of representational event insignia, which it never had before. Using only elements that had been drawn for the position badges, and creating nothing new, this patch resulted, connecting a network of Magic cards, grilling, and computing in a way that I should have imagined for the buggy LAN Administrator badge. See, I got it right eventually. Or closer to right. On the right track. Not completely wrong.

The pool day in question was held on 11 June 2017, one day after the eleventh anniversary of Grubfest. As the plan was to make the event a cookout, I wanted to resurrect the Griller in Chief position, especially since Jeff would once again be expertly resuming the role he once pioneered.

June 2017 Griller in Chief | 10 June 2017

June 2017 Deputy Griller | 10 June 2017

Two badges resulted, adapted from the 2006 artwork. These are the exact same badges drawn for Grubfest, the very same vector files, modified slightly for 2017. The biggest changes are the addition of the two shelves to the sides of the grill, the handle on the front was reduced in size and no longer extends over the edges, and the coloration changed from Grubfest's ketchup and mustard to a scheme matching the event insignia, featured below. The creation of the subordinate position of Deputy Griller meant removing the light grey trapezoidal detail in exchange for a set of "general's stars," indicating seniority: one star for deputy, two stars for chief. For the June 2017 event, the position of Deputy Griller was nominally assigned to 9uh Malone, but she showed true leadership by delegating the duties to her guest.

June Pool Day 2017 event insignia | 6 June 2017

While drawing event insignia I was left with a blank space in the center, so I grabbed the old Grubfest grill, colored it blue, and dropped it in as an easter egg. Anyone who remembered Grubfest might recognize that old artwork, which not only suitably completed the new patch but also acknowledged the anniversary that weekend. It's a callback that both represented the goals of the present pool party but nodded at that which came before. With me, no event ever gets completely forgotten. There's always some thread that remains, long after everyone has gone home and the cleanup has been completed. Grubfest is long over, but we'll always have something to remember it by.


Engaged 9 September 2009 | Updated 18 June 2017