MY FAVORITE THE HUNDREDS COLLABORATIONS, AND WHY, AND HOW
We’ve never invested too much in traditional marketing or advertising. Instead, we do collaborations. Of the hundreds (no pun intended) we’ve done, I often get asked which ones have been my favorite. And they might not be what you’d expect...
- 1.adidasWe’ve knocked out two adidas collaborations in the past year, with more on the way. The fact that the German shoe giants let us get away with impregnating their classic trefoil logo with our bomb felt like we got away with highway robbery. The rest of the project follows a great narrative about American youth soccer leagues, but to me, as soon as we got the logo thing dialed, we’d won the World Cup.
- 2.GarfieldCollaborations often prove to be anything but. I like to joke that it’s not a good collaboration unless both parties hate each other by the time the product hits the shelves. When you work with a bigger partner, contracts, lawyers, and spreadsheets spoil the mood. Working with friends is more fun, but when it comes to the uncomfortable business stuff, relationships are usually soured. The Hundreds X Garfield was the shining exception. Jim Davis & co. were cooperative and creative throughout.
- 3.DisneyTo this day, this is perhaps the most referenced collaboration by The Hundreds. We broke so many licensing rules and got away with so much subversion, that this project is introduced to new Disney licensees as what you can NOT do in working with the company. For example, that was maybe the first, definitely the last, time that you’ll see another brand write theirs officially in the Disney script.
- 4.TapatíoWhat makes this collaboration special is the backstory. For over half a century, the Tapatio Hot Sauce company has refused to manipulate their branding. That is, until we showed up at their doors. The founder’s stubbornness was only broken by his grandson, who turned out to be a big The Hundreds fan. Again, this is something you probably won’t see again.
- 5.HieroglyphicsOn a personal level, the Hiero crew out of the Bay Area were my favorite hip-hop artists as a teenager. Their third-eye icon is one of the most recognizable logos in music - right up there with the Rolling Stones tongue and the Misfits skull. It was an honor to work with the guys, from Souls of Mischief to Del the Funky Homosapien - not just once (for our San Francisco store opening), but twice (2014, for an anniversary party).
- 6.Revelation RecordsI actually wasn’t much of a rap kid growing up. I was all about straight-edge hardcore, and Revelation Records was like the Bible for my obsession. Like Hiero, we got to work with Jordan Cooper and Rev on more than one occasion. In 2012, we worked closely with the Huntington Beach-based label for their 25th Anniversary. Putting The Hundreds’ name on the bill with hardcore’s foundational cornerstones was a loud high-five to my 15-year-old self.
- 7.NerfI mean, we brought back the Nerf Turbo football.
- 8.ModernicaMost people would think that my favorite collaborations would be based on co-branded apparel, but that’s not the case. One of the real joys in getting to do this job is venturing outside of my bubble - and comfort zone - and designing in non-apparel related media. True to the Eames legacy and their original process, this was the first time that Modernica manufactured a true black chair. Our rocker was themed around one of our recurring color schemes, CMYK, to reflect our hands in print.
- 9.Lance MontoyaPrimus created some of my favorite music in the ‘90s, but they were equally as known for their clay sculpture album covers. Through old cassette packaging, I discovered the sculptor’s name was Lance Montoya. He wasn't on the web, so I scoured the physical White Pages for his name and rifled off handwritten letters to all the Lance Montoyas listed. Half a year later, I get a phone call from Lance himself, an off-the-grid pot grower, who came out of retirement to collaborate with us.
- 10.Back to the FutureIt’s like my entire life has led up to this. See you, October 21, 2015.