“Artist Has Freedom!” A Patch Design Saga

“Artist has freedom here!" the customer says. "Center logo [should be] just a guy hiking, with mountains, trees, and sun in the background."

Could there be any words more beautiful to a Stadri Artist? After all, no restrictions or rules. No editing of other artwork. Just a blank slate to create the artist’s vision of a “guy hiking with mountains, trees, and sun in the background.”

And could it be any easier for the customer? Put the art in the hands of those who know the business: the professionals. No need to force any creativity. Surely the artist will produce precisely what the customer truly desires. It’s so simple! What could go wrong?

The artist begins to sketch and concoct. He pushes pixels around in the computer as he uses his honed tastes and skills. He utilizes color theory and composition to make an exciting but stitchable patch design. As he proceeds he’s hit with questions: Cartoony or realistic? Fun or serious? Warm or cool colors? He finds the answers to all of this in one simple phrase:

"Artist has freedom!”

The artist has gone to school, studied, practiced, worked for years, and gained experience, all for moments like this. He pours it all into the design, delighted in this chance to truly play in his digital coloring box the way he wants. Not guided by anyone else’s vision but his own.

After a few hours of work he finishes and gazes for a moment at his newest artistic creation. He is proud of his whimsical style and warm and inviting color scheme.

It ends up looking a little something like this:

The image is sent out to the eager customer. The customer takes one look and says . . .

“Oh no . . . no, no, no. That’s not what I had in mind at all! It’s too bright! The hiker too young! The mountains too cartoony!”

The customer sends back his changes: “I don’t like the red, perhaps a forest green or camo color? I like the hiking up the rocky mountain idea but the hiker himself is not at all what I had in mind. Perhaps an old-timer carrying a rifle. The background is also not what I had in mind either, maybe a forest or tree line.”

The artist, after being taken aback at such sudden specifics, takes a deep breath and jumps back into the piece. Another few hours are spent redesigning and reworking everything to the customer’s new-found guidelines and ideas. "Surely this time we’ll have it right!" he thinks.

Again, the image is sent.

The customer is excited! The colors are great and the background is perfect! But still it’s not right. No, not right at all. "That hiker is so old and frail. It doesn’t represent us at all! Our group is a bunch of elevator mechanics that like to hike the back-woods and have a laid back good time with friends."

He sends back more changes:

“I would like to see the hiker himself look more lumber jack, redneck.”

Lumberjack? Redneck? The artist is confused. Where did that come from? Is that who they are? If it was important shouldn’t he have been told? He shakes it off, reminding himself that these customers have never done this before. They don’t know that the more info the artist receives the quicker the design will get done and the happier the customer will be.

The artist dives back in, this new image in mind.

Determined and driven he tells himself “This will be the greatest lumberjack redneck the patch world has ever seen!"

The customer is definitely happy this time. "Oh, look how fantastic it is! The shotgun is poised just right in his muscular hands! His beard and stern look show he means business and his hat—oh wait a minute, his hat . . .

And oh, look at the legs—no, those skinny things just won’t do! He’s a hiker and must have strong legs and a much bigger hat to keep from the sun!

Back to the grind stone, the artist goes.

His contrasting artistic style hasn’t meshed with the customer’s vision and so another change is made and another image sent.

It’s great! It’s perfect! They’re both overjoyed! Songs are sung! Champagne is toasted (for the customer, not for the artist. He’s on the job and will celebrate later)!

As they gaze over the sewn version of their four-inch masterpiece, they have both learned a valuable lesson for their next big adventure:

The Artist has freedom . . .  to create what you tell him to. The more specific the better! Because his mind is different from yours, and what may seem very simple is very often not.