Jim Groom

Jim Groom

Reclaiming with No Regrets

no regrets

Yesterday was like Christmas at Reclaim Hosting, we got a bunch of new art for the Reclaim Hosting aesthetic (it’s all about the aesthetic!) from the brilliant Bryan Mathers. We’ve been working together pretty regularly over the last 8 months for artwork for the Reclaim Hosting site, and I think we are hitting our stride. I think that we is a wee bit royal given Bryan is really carrying the load. He continues to blow my mind with how he translates meandering conversations into concrete visuals that really capture the spirit of who we are and what we do at Reclaim Hosting. I cannot recommend Bryan enough to anyone who is trying to imagine (or re-imagine) their image. Working with him these last months has been the most fun I have had in a long while.

The other thing I want to quickly say here about the Reclaim aesthetic is how taking the time to sit and talk through who you are and what you want to communicate to folks who come to your site is a powerful process. Nate St. Pierre tweeted about Reclaim yesterday, and what he said is exactly who we want to be: small, awesome, and real!

We don’t want to be the picture of a bizarrely content corporate soul with the streamlined headset in the alienating cubicle, nor do we want to be the institutional drone thoughtlessly making the donuts. We want to be independent in the sense that our aesthetic is not defined by some bullshit run-of-the-mill marketing department that wants to remove any sense of identity from the equation to appeal to everyone and infuse the experience with a sense of corporate unaccountability. There is no there there. It’s a front for hosting conglomerates that do not love you! But Reclaim loves you. We want to be accountable. We want to own who we are and what we believe in. And we say fuck your corporate stock photo art!

Whew, OK, glad I got that off my chest. Now for the ART, dammit! For this round we were pretty laser focused, we wanted header art for three pages: Privacy Policy, Refund Policy, and What People Are Saying. One of the things I’ve loved about the recent work is while I can be holier than thou on this site, the Reclaim artwork isn’t. It’s light, colorful, fun, and tongue-and-cheek. Everything is riffing off a reference, a previous visual, or some other folks in the field. It’s playful. Nothing epitomizes that more than the Refund Policy art, “No Regrets” image above and below.
Screenshot 2016-07-30 09.42.43

What can I say about this? Bryan had the idea for a Tattoo, and we started talking about really cliche tattoos from the 80s like  “Kill a Commie for Mommie” in a heart, and this is the result. I couldn’t be more pleased with this gem!

privacy policy

The privacy policy header art is awesome because it tries to communicate the idea of securing your records using the record stores aesthetic—all Bryan’s idea! What’s more, it also has a brilliant, Kubrickean cinematic touch where it is almost like you are looking at the 2001 Obelisk of evolution. What’s more, I also see a Minecraft creeper hidden away in the facade of the lockbox.

Screenshot 2016-07-30 09.42.24

Finally, we spent a bit of time on the “What People Are Saying” concept because there is no question this is who we are to some great degree. We don’t advertise or market ourselves aggressively (save some throw away site art 🙂 ) because our work is driven by the principle that if we provide affordable hosting with unparalleled support people will appreciate it, share the love, and we will grow as a community-based service organically. That has absolutely been the case, and we’re still going strong for that very reason. It’s a fairly simple formula: work with good people, do good shit, and good things happen. No one has been more central to this ethos than Tim Owens who is nothing short of amazing when it comes to supporting Reclaimers.* In fact, if you look at what people are saying he has become the stuff of Reclaim legend. So, when talking with Bryan about the “What People Are Saying” art I wanted to build in an homage to Timmyboy!!!! Bryan was playing with the idea of a Rolling Stone magazine, so he married the two. I am really fired up with the result, a fun, playful detailed cover of the Reclaim Record magazine:

reclaim-record

What’s so great about this image is it really underscores the kind, congenial intensity that  captures the spirit of Tim beautifully. It’s been a real honor and privilege to work alongside Tim on Reclaim, so this art was a bit of a shrine to the Wunderkind. What’s cool is that this is a detail of a more involved header for this page, so art like this can be spun off into a series of posters. I want boy wonder glaring at me kindly while I blog rather than reply to support tickets.

flamethrower_zine_new

On the other side of the spectrum we have the photocopied zine talk about the world of indie-edtech. I love the title of the zine, Flamethrower, I think that might be an awesome title for a real edtech zine 🙂 There are some fun references here, but I’ll let you figure those out. And this one is yet another bit of detail art that will be a poster in my office! And here’s the final header for the “What People are Saying” page:

what-our-customers-say-final

And here that header image in the wild! It’s so beautiful!!!

Screenshot 2016-07-30 09.43.10

It’s been a very productive 8 months of work with Bryan, and I can attest to his “No Regrets” policy, namely I have none at all. So awesome to be so deep into this process and so happy with the results. It just makes me want to do more, kinda like good drugs!

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*Although he is no less impressive when it comes to building system architecture, selling Domains, imagining new products, etc. As I have said before, he is the whole package!

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