By far the most animal-centric Layer Tennis match to date, Mig Reyes and Jessica Hische took us on a tour of everything that made the internet what it is today, namely lasers, video game nostalgia and cute dogs and cats. Along the way, they also put together some stellar pieces of design using loads of great type. Once the cats had been fed and the dogs finally stopped barking, we sat down with Mig to chat about the match.
So now that all the dust has settled, how do you think it went?
Fact: I held my pee during the whole match because I didn't have time to leave. Now that I've relieved my bladder, I think it went well. Jessica was amazing about staying on time with her volleys, which put the pressure on me to reciprocate. All of the designing aside, I truly think Josh stole the show with his commentary.
How much did you and Jessica talk about the direction of the match before it started? Or did she kick off the internet theme with her first volley you went with it?
We had first talked about our plans over a group dinner, and we both agreed that we didn't want to conspire any themes or directions. We did, however, want to build up a library of "weapons" for the match, but we were adamant about keeping the story completely random. Though, it dawned on us that we were playing a bit of a young guns match. Our combined age is 50, so we were toying with the idea of riffing on childhood motifs and the 1990s. Then she called at midnight prior to the match and said, "I don't think I'm doing that anymore." I told her, "I don't care. You're serving. It's all in your hands." The internet is awesome.
A follow up to that, is the internet awesome? The cat says "Indeed it is," but you probably have more opinions on the matter than a talking cat.
I'm going to have to agree with Billy the Cat in that the internet is indeed awesome. Jessica wouldn't have been able to post daily drop caps, Threadless wouldn't have existed and Layer Tennis would not be the online designer spectacle that it now is. Thanks, Al Gore, for inventing the internet.
When your former co-worker Jeffrey Kalmikoff played last season, it felt inevitable that Threadless was somehow going to get worked in somewhere, as it did with having you play. Were you prepared for that? And is that a real live Threadless model or did you shoot it for the match?
I was waiting for Jess to bust out a Threadless reference, though I wasn't sure how she was going to do it. Luckily for me, she made a beautiful design that would actually work as a Threadless TypeTee. The model is a bit of a sneak peak at the new Threadless submission kit, where we're including some nice "blank" model photos for designers to comp their work onto. Mad props to the wonderful Brianne, head of customer service here, for being our model.
Concentrating on Layer 6 in particular, can you walk us through the process of building that volley?
Jessica set me up with "I can haz meaning?" which I wanted to tie back into our core idea of "The internet is awesome." To me, memes on the internet don't have meanings, there are no rules to the interwebs. And better yet, puppies are cuter than kittens and a well-placed puppy photo in someone's inbox can brighten their day (Duh). Visually, I wanted to restrict the colors and, for whatever reason, the vintage-esque look with patriotic tone gave my message some authority. The puppy illustration is from a 1940s magazine, the typefaces I used were Alright Sans by Okay Type, Knockout and of course, Buttermilk from Jessica. I set the type in Illustrator, and did all the puppy-cutting and texturizing in Photoshop.
Did you respond with a puppy in that volley because you're more a dog person and the canines hadn't gotten their due?
Dogs > Cats.
The first half of the match had a very modern, web-ish feel to it, and then you seemed to change the course in Layer 6 with a more vintage look, from typefaces to layouts to old stock art, that carried on until your last volley. Why did you decide to take things in that direction? Alternately, why do you think it went that way after the halfway point?
I went that direction out of necessity, really. My designer's toolbox for the match only included a few typefaces, vintage magazine scans and a set of Dover's "Scan This Book" laying in front of me. I'm not the greatest illustrator. Some of my best work involves scripts, codes, organizing on grids; anything and everything that isn't a beautiful illustration like Jess would have. I simply worked with what I had.
You used a variety of type throughout the match. Any favorites either you or Jessica used?
I snickered when I used Buttermilk, I wanted to sneak that in somewhere (seen in Layer 6). But one of my favorite new faces I've been using is Alright Sans, by Jackson Cavanaugh of Okay Type. Let's be honest, we're all a bit tired from Gotham (And, Archer is Threadless's primary face. I wanted every opportunity to NOT use Archer).
Because commentator Joshua Allen wasn't sure why you'd used the Konami code in your Layer 8, can you divulge your secret use of the secret code here?
To keep on the topic of internets and memes, one of my favorites is discovering websites that utilize the Konami code. I wanted to say that cats are not in control of the internet; we, the users are. Beyond that, I wanted to try and put in a jab to say that -I- was in control of this Layer Tennis match (regardless of if I was or wasn't!). To that point, the Konami code is on my own personal website. Have at it!
Last year, you'd played a great Qualifying Match against Fuzzy Gerdes. A lot more pressure now playing in the main arena or both were equally as frantic?
It was frantic for me back then; it was my first time. I was a Layer Tennis virgin. You could even tell I was influenced a bit by earlier matches, before even working at Threadless. Now that I've been around the block, I thought I'd have it easy this time around. Except, I realized I was facing Jessica. I faced a 7,200+ Twitter follower deficit and a portfolio made of magic. She was clearly the fan favorite. So the pressure was on. Further more, I'm really embarrassed by the work that's now made permanent from that first Qualifying Match. I had a personal goal of making sure the work I did in this match was miles away better than that first one, as well as the exhibition match from earlier this year.
Thanks again for coming out to play. Any final thoughts?
I named some of my layers to goofy things like "Pancakes!" to try and mess Jess up. Didn't phase her. Also, Josh still has a taco in his vest pocket. I'm out of here.
Congratulations to Mig Reyes, Layer Tennis Season 3 Champion.
Thanks to all the players, commentators and fans who made Season Three of Layer Tennis a big success. And thanks to the crew at Goodby Silverstein & Partners and all the folks at Adobe Creative Suite for making it possible. Watch this space (or sign up for Season Tickets or follow us on Twitter) for news about some special exhibition matches being planned and about Season 4.
Cast your votes on The Championship Match. Both Finalists will receive invitations to play in the post-season tournament for Season Four.
Here's how the voting works. Decide who you'd like to declare as winner and then simply tweet their first name following a hash mark. Either #mig or #noper and, this is important, also include #lyt in that tweet. We'll leave the voting open all weekend and announce our Season Three Champion on Monday.
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