Artwork for A New Podcast

A New Podcast

Rhett Shull is an Atlanta-based guitarist who runs one of my favorite channels on YouTube. Recently on a Q&A, Rhett announced that he’s thinking about starting a new podcast. He asked his audience what the new podcast should be called and after many submissions, he landed on Backstage Journal. I like it. It immediately lets the listener know what the show is about. It is a brand Rhett has used before on his YouTube channel. It is short and punchy.

Rhett asked his fans to make submissions for show art. Here is what I designed.



I made a gritty background because backstage areas … well … they aren’t always the cleanest places. The grit also creates a vignette effect that draws the eyes of the viewer to the title that’s front and center.


When scrolling through podcasts in a list, the artwork needs to have visual punch to be noticed. I chose a color suite with two main color families; red and teal blue. It’s a striking combination and a bit of a gamble when I look at Rhett’s existing artwork. Rhett’s color palette for existing media is black and white so I have a few versions that are black and white.

Color can be scary but it gives a mark more identity and pop. The rich red with the teal accents is striking.



I made two sets of options for the show art work. I called the first set Organic. I went through a number of font options to find one that seemed to really pop. I worked with the spacing and kerning to create a lockup that excited me visually. It’s a departure from Rhett’s existing artwork but I wanted to create a version by looking at the words and being inspired by the letter forms to create something new.

The second set is called Gothic. The majority of the headers on Rhett’s YouTube channel are narrow, sans-serif, and all-caps. I made alternate versions with Bebas Neue for the typeface. Each design comes in multiple color options.

Guitar Form

Above and behind the text lockups is a stylized guitar based on Rhett’s favorite guitar, a Novo Serus J. I couldn’t resist putting a bit more of his personality in the artwork. The Serus J is a crazy-cool guitar and I think it looks great in the design.

Final Thoughts

I have no idea if Rhett will like any of these which is fine. Sometimes it’s fun to design something by just following my heart and seeing where the inspiration takes me.

Add More Awesome to Local Commercials

Thanks to DVRs skipping over commercials is easy. Our lives are better for it. Most commercials are terrible, especially when it comes to the local ones. Sometimes they are so bad that they loop back around to being good again in spite of themselves.

As a creative, I have stayed away from the local commercial market. There’s rarely enough money available for production to make it interesting. I don’t want to come off sounding condescending … it’s just hard to make a local spot that is something to be proud of for the amount of money most are willing to pay.

The interesting question is why are local spots so bad? There are a few reasons. Most local companies aren’t used to creating ads. It’s expensive to pay for the creation and the playing of ads. Companies want to get as much as they can for their money. There’s only 30 seconds and they want get every aspect of their company mentioned. That leads to fast talking mashed together with fast/poorly shot imagery. There’s too much to remember and the viewer skips ahead.

… remind folks you exist.

Another reason local spots are usually bad is most business owners don’t know who to hire to make great ads. That’s our fault as creatives. Hey, we’re here … Did that help?

Business owners are busy running their business. That is hard work. Most business owners don’t know what’s possible. Again, that’s our fault as creatives. We need to do a better job of casting vision on what’s possible and how that will move audiences.

TV spots are short. People’s attention span for local spots are shorter. Knowing that, what’s possible? What can we hope for when creating the spot? The best thing to aim for in my opinion is to remind folks you exist. When audience members are shopping for what you offer, you want them to remember you exist and then hopefully seek you out.

This spot for ReMix Music here in Northwest Arkansas was a passion project for a store I love. I play guitar and I want everyone to know about this great little store. The owners were offered some 15-second spots on local TV. I want every musician to know there’s another option to purchase instruments and gear here in my region.

We want to accomplish three simple things with this spot. First, we want people to know ReMix exists. We want them to know this is a music store. And finally, we want them to consider purchasing locally rather than buying online.

ReMix doesn’t consider the other music stores in the area as competition. The real competition for local stores is online. There are some advantages to buying locally. The best advantages are you can try the instrument and take it home today … right now. The player will know it’s the right instrument and she can play it tonight!

It’s simple messaging and beautiful imagery. As musicians are fast-forwarding through the commercials … maybe they’ll skip back and see what this spot has to say.

Keep it simple. Identify 1-3 goals for the spot and don’t try to tell the whole story.

Mountain Bikes in NWA

>> More from MurDog Creative on Vimeo.

A year ago I got to work on a fun project with two great organizations here in Northwest Arkansas. Oz Trails is an organization who spearheads the building and maintaining of some of the best mountain bike trails in America. LaneShift works with communities to help them become bike and hike friendly.

Laneshift and Oz Trails collaborated to bring a premier mountain biker, Brian Lopes, to Northwest Arkansas and see our great trail systems.

We followed Brian around for a couple of days with a camera to catch some of the riding and hear what he had to say about the mountain biking scene here in Northwest Arkansas.

A Fresh Start

Every once in a while, it’s a good idea to sweep out all the old dust and cobwebs and start something brand new. I’ve decided to start a brand new site that’s completely focused on my business MurDog Creative. I am a one-man-band who has a number of talented friends. That means that regardless of the size of your project, I can make it happen.

For small projects, I can do it all. From photography to video to design, I can do it. For larger projects, I have a group of creatives I can call on to speed up a project or cover the needs of a big project.

As the owner of MurDog Creative, I’ve eliminated the agency so I can pass the savings on to you. We’ve created a virtual agency that can grow with your needs.