Back in February of 2010, I was approached by Phil Del Burgo, Jim Fitzgerald, and Jimmy Fingers from VH1 for an exciting new project. They needed a design for a physical award to be given out at a new award show they were launching. VH1 had partnered with an organization called Do Something. Do Something gives grant money to young people under 25 who are doing good / changing the world, through non-profits, volunteer work, and the like. They needed a physical trophy to give the recipients, as well as a logo/brand identity. Jimmy asked me to collaborate with our old friend and dope-as-fuck artist ESPO (aka Steve Powers) to come up with the grand concept for the award.

The task was to dream up something iconic, aspirational, wholly unique, embodying the spirit of kids, and would look awesome on stage in the hands of the recipients. In addition, if we could work in the exclamation point from the existing DS brand – all the better. ESPO and I presented a whole mess of initial brainstorm ideas. These are some of the initial concept sketches.


I was really pulling for the bat signal idea, but alas, it was not to be. Below are some of the final sketches that resulted from the first few meetings. I did most of these from poolside at the Four Seasons in Colonia, Uruguay. Not a bad workspace, I can assure you.


The winged sneaker was chosen as the winner. Credit for this actually goes to my good friend Melinda Gray, who suggested it during a group brainstorming exercise in Buenos Aires. She gets mad props. So I gathered a bunch of sneaker reference and went about designing a high top sneaker with wings – something I had never dreamed I would ever be doing, mind you. The web was full of sneaker pics, and the wings were an easy thing to picture, as I had spent so much of my childhood drawing superheroes like Thor and Hawkman.


This sketch was given to a company in NY called Award Society, who sent it to China for a mold to be sculpted by hand from a hunk of clay. Over the next few months I’d get photos of the clay models, alter them in photoshop with notations in red, then send them back to China.


Simultaneously, I was designing a logo to be inspired by the award. Here’s some of the original sketches.



The final logo that was chosen and refined. This is some of the key art that VH1 produced (left).

The award show was really cool, and I was a bit shocked at how good it felt to be part of it in my own measly way. The kids were truly inspiring. And even the celebrities they honored were doing an incredible amount of good in the world. The shoe was everywhere. On stage in the hands of recipients. In the graphics. In Pepsi commercials. It was pretty cool.

Below, on the left is Wilfredo Perez Jr. He’s the first person in his family to graduate from high school. Before starting medical school, Willfredo spent a year in Haiti, where he created a Public Health and Education Program. He trained 16 Haitians to be public health workers, treating 1200 patients.

The girl on the right is Jacqueline Muraketete. She was a survivor of the Rwanadan genocide. She founded the Jacqueline’s Human Rights Corner in 2007 to educate people all over the world about genocides of the past. Delivering over 100 speeches at schools in the last 3 years. She recently opened a community center in her Rwandan village.










Finally, this is a motion graphics piece that I had nothing to do with. It was done by THE NATION. I just thought it was cool to see the shoe animated.

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