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....
GRUBFEST 2006 BADGES
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.
THE SPIN-OFF PATCH
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.
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
A BELATED LEGACY
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 grubfest.ai file to grab some of the vectors held within.
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.
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.