Well it appears I have lied to you already, I may have mentioned in a previous posting that this would be a weekly blog, but as it turns out this will be a monthly segment with yours truly. I hope you enjoyed that little ditty brought to you by the heads of state, those guys are kings among designers, or at least I think so.

For this installment I’ve decided to switch gears and take some time to chat about a little phenomenon that seems to be taking place amongst our favorite brands. By no mean is this phenomenon new, but in my opinion it’s taking a different shape. If you’re wondering what I’m referring to, it’s brand collaboration. Brands are always trying to find new and innovative ways of marketing and broadening their demographics, reaching an audience that might other wise be off limits to them or even trying to develop some sort of a reputation amongst youth and those markets that can read through a “try hard” campaign like an open book.

Now don’t get me wrong, brand collaboration can also be used to combine two brands to give a product an exclusive or collector’s feel, and who doesn’t like exclusivity? On that note collaborations don’t always have to be a combination of brands either, they can also be a brand paired with an artist, designer, athlete, recording artist, actress, director or producer; the possibilities are endless and the creations often extremely successful from both a creative and business standpoint.

The beauty of these collaborations is it gives the brand an opportunity to take on a different but congruent identity and introduce itself to an audience who may be unfamiliar with the brand or who may have just overlooked it. Now If you think about it, shoe companies have been doing this for years, and doing it well I might ad. For instance everyone is familiar with Michael Jordan and his Air Jordan’s right? Right… not only was this a successful collaboration but eventually this partnership ended up evolving into one of the most sought after and recognized brands world wide. Now I know this may be an extreme example but many companies are currently using this idea or model and are finding innovative and exciting ways to introduce product to the world via these collaboration, not only giving the brand a new look but also introducing the world to a variety of artist and art forms that may have otherwise gone unnoticed.

Because there are so many Collaborations out there it was rather difficult to choose examples. So for the purpose of this post I’ve tried to mix it up a little and give you some examples that you may or may not be familiar with; some old and some new. The moral of the story here is that brand Collabo’s are GOOD!!!

1. Coke x CLOT x Karl Lagerfeld x Daft Punk
Lets start of with a super brand that everyone knows and loves. If any one has the power to do whatever they please its COKE. These guys can get away with everything without compromising their brand, and what better way to do it than to use that unique silhouette as a canvas for a variety of artists including Daft Punk and Karl Lagerfeld.

Christian Lacroix and Evian also embarked on a similar collaboration.

2. Marvel x Stussy
This one goes out to all you comic book fanatics. This year Marvel decided to team up with popular street wear brand Stussy to form an amazing two part collaboration. The first part of the series was the posters where you can find your favorite marvel Icons infused with the subtle branding of Stussy. The Second part to this campaign was the artist series in which Stussy sought out some of the world most talented illustrators, painters, graffiti artist and tattoo artists to give there interpretations of their favorite Marvel Heroes. The artist roster includes James Jarvis (Thing), David Shrigley (Incredible Hulk), Todd James (She-Hulk), Noah Butkus (Dr. Strange), Will Sweeney (Eternity), John K. (Crystal & Johnny Storm), Bill Plympton (Mystique), Gary Panter (Thor) and Mr. Cartoon (Spider-Man).

Poster Series

Artist Collection


3. Nike x Supreme x Mr. Burt
In this example Nike introduces a collaboration with one of my favorite street wear lines Supreme which became one of the most popular sneaker collaborations of all time (ask any sneaker head), and with the help of the illustrations created by Mr. Burt this collabo will be captured for all time.

4. Krink x G-shock “spray paint the walls”
This spring Krink and G-shock announced their much anticipated collaboration with the release of the Krink G-shock. This is a great example of experiential marketing. The entire process of this products unveiling was documented, everything from the process of creating the installation to the actual showing itself. This campaign was the complete integrated package, video, industrial design, Fine art, social media and a killer party to boot. Take note folks these kids know whats up. Check out the video after the jump

5. Retna x VistaJet
I found this partnership rather interesting. Earlier this year I was tasked with coming up with concept designs for the exterior of several planes for a similar client. In these concept we pitched the idea of infusing elements of graffiti with that of the brand. The client ultimately chose a different direction, I was left curious if it could be done, and if so, done well. Please refer to exhibit “A” VistaJet decided to team up with legendary graffiti writer RETNA to produce one of the most daring plane exteriors to date. The answer: “It can be done!”

6.Shepard Fairey x team RadioShack x Trek Madone
Love him or hate him Shepard Fairey may be one of the most prolific street artists/designers of our time. What started as a satiric guerilla sticker campaign in 1989 has transformed into a marketing machine. Shepard has gone shifted his focus from running from cops on a night to night basis to being the creator of Obama’s hope Poster campaign. It’s no wonder that big name brands are lining up outside his door to get a piece of his action. Radio Shack and Trek are no exception. Below is Shepard’s latest Collabo. Enjoy!


In closing I hope this gives a glimpse into the world of collaboration and the power it can give a campaign. This concept can link up super brand, give larger corporations a grass roots feel or even spark the career of an emerging artist. either way you look at it, it’s a win win. It’s exciting to see what brand collaborations we might see next the combination and opportunities are endless.

Cheers. See you next month.