Yeah, I operate… (naval version)

You often hear about ‘operators’…mostly wannabes. In the military, there are many nicknames for them depending on where they are. One of them is “chairborne ranger,” a play on “airborne ranger.” I recently picked up a couple of “chairborne ranger” patches to add to my collection. It also sparked a though about a naval version (since most of the nicknames tend to be Army- or Marine-based).

Using elements from several Navy rates (aka jobs) and using the Trident (SEALs insignia) and the Chairborne Ranger patch as an inspiration, I created the Special Warfare Keyboard Operator device (Navy speak for insignia). The name is a play on both the SEALs and the Special Warfare Craft Crewman (boat driver).

And chill…

A friend of mine who runs a local screen printing business (Muddy River Ink) inspired this one. He recently printed some “quarantine and chill” shirts, which sparked an idea for me.

In these trying times, humor sometimes does help break the dreary stay-at-home life. So, in that vein, remember to Quarantine and Chill.

GIS lends a hand to graphic design

My alter ego is in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). In fact, working cartography and GIS in part led to my foray into graphic design. Recently, GIS helped my graphic design. Usually, graphic design helps GIS better portray data.

With the unveiling of the US Space Force’s (USSF) ‘new’ camo (same one the Air Force borrowed from the Army), I decided to try my hand at making a more USSF-specific pattern. Yes, the first one was a tongue-in-cheek star pattern. After that, I took a little more serious look at it.

Here’s where GIS helped out. I wanted to use a hexagon pattern. Easy enough to build in Inkscape. Sort of. Yes, I can create a grid of hexagons, but the rub came in two areas.

The first was making sure all of the cells were actually snapped and aligned. This is fairly easy on a small area, but a larger fabric area introduces lots of edges to snap together. The next issue was randomly coloring all those cells to be a disruptive(ish) pattern, the main reason behind camouflage.

So, how did GIS help? Opening QGIS is the first step. It’s a free GIS suite that runs pretty much on anything. It also has tools to generate a grid and assigned random colors to the cells. After generating a global grid (just for good coverage), I then randomly selected and assigned one of four color values to each cell. Export that to DXF (CAD file) and then import into Inkscape.

Once back in Inkscape, I recolored the greyscale cells (DXF didn’t capture other colors well) for the final pattern. Merge each color and the result is this:

Conceptual USSF camouflage pattern (sample)

For the colors, I borrowed the Navy’s NWU (aka ‘Bluberries) colors and add some green. Why green? Well….they are Space Force (you know, little green men?)

More coin…

A while back, I wrote a post called “Dropping Coin“. Here’s a quick update on that project.

After a delay/pause, I reached out to the speaker from the conference regarding the project. It’s been a slow roll, but now I’m building multiple concepts and tracking down production quotes. If things go through, this may be one of my highest profile jobs. Won’t get paid (no double-dipping for me), but will certainly have a major sense of accomplishment.

And oh, I might even design this year’s conference coin. Need to check on that.

Sports Monkey, 2nd Period

I often keep tinkering with designs, sometimes right after I create a post or send it to someone to look at. The jersey design is no different. After closing things down for the night, I had the thought about using binary for the player number instead of a regular Roman numerals (the whole data thing).

Fast forward to today, and not only did I create a binary player number, but revamp the pattern layout. And…..that led into home vs. away version for the second variation. You’ll also notice some changes within the second variation in the short time between those exports.

Comparison between the original version and the second.
Second version, with home and away colors.

Monkey Sports

Today was Jeans and Jerseys day at my day job. So, sitting at my computer this evening with my Irish beer-themed hockey jersey on, I decided to crank out a Data Monkey-themed jersey design.

Found a nice mockup of a jersey, built a vector version of it, then laid out a quick design. Colors came from the original monkey patch, with industrial face on the front.

Data Monkey-themed hockey jersey