Every logo has a tale behind its creation, but the iconic LKI Stamp logo that LKI built its empire around has a special story. Between an almost accidental meeting with the designer before he moved interstate and the fact that Skotty Fairclough wasn’t initially excited about his concept design, it’s almost a miracle that it even came to being.
We caught up with Skotty at his music and design studio in Cabarita, Gold Coast, for a bit of a chat with the guy who helped shape LKI’s identity.
All right, Skotty, tell us how you teamed up with the LKI crew to get create this logo.
It’s a bit of a holistic thing, really. I was the frontman in a band, but did all the artwork posters and flyers on the side, as well as working on brands as a pet project. After five years of touring over here I got jack of it and sacked the whole band with the intention of moving to WA to start over. I wanted a garage sale so I drew up some flyers so we could try and sell as much shit as possible.
My girlfriend used to work at 3 Beans Café on the Gold Coast where [LKI founder] Jason Daniel’s mother was a regular there. Anyway, she saw the flyer and chased me down through my girlfriend. Jason phoned me wanting to meet to design some new teeshirt artwork. I was like “great, I’m leaving town, but what the hell I’ll give it a go”.
At our meeting he gave me a few current designs and to be honest, I was kind of out of my element and didn’t really know how to one-up them. I went away and did a heap of research and finalised four or five designs, including the iconic one.
When you designed it, did you know you were onto a winner?
No, the opposite! I wasn’t fussed on it at all. It was a font I didn’t like and it was stretched; as a general rule you don’t stretch fonts. When I showed Jason he liked it, which I thought was funny. Here was a kid picking the design I was probably the least stoked on. I’d dealt with a lot of companies and seen a lot of people try to make it and go bust, so when I saw this kid and the huge challenge ahead of him, I didn’t want to rip them off, you know? I gave it to him for $30, then a couple weeks later I was off to WA. It was only when I returned to the East Coast three years later and saw the logo on people’s cars and their clothes in City Beach and I was like “wow, they actually did it!” It’s inexplicable why some logos work and some don’t, but it comes down to predicting trends and I think that’s what Jason and his team have been able to do exceptionally well.
Are you surprised that it’s taken hold?
The fact it got so big, yeah, it was a surprise, but not a shock. The Daniels are a lovely family, and I’ve got nothing but admiration for how far they’ve been able to take the brand. And the success has much, much more to do with them than it is a clever design that I created. I’ve worked with international brand giants with huge teams of marketing and design professionals, and to see a young guy wade onto the scene with a logo and some stickers is pretty awesome. He’s still so young and it’ll be very interesting to see the brand’s trajectory in the future. All bets are off as far as I’m concerned.
How does it make you feel, knowing your design is now on hundreds of thousands – possibly millions – of products across the world?
It’s a strange and odd feeling, especially when you see how much it means to so many people. I mean, it’s not uncommon to pull up at traffic lights and see the logo staring at you from the car in front. Not long ago I caught up with a mate of mine and his son had the LKI logo shaved into the back of his head, with no awareness that I had anything to do with creating that logo.
Hah that’s awesome. Are you still working as a designer now?
I’m multi faceted these days; I run an arts and music studio in Cabarita called The Creative Jar and teach about 40 people a week with music. I’m still designing album covers, touring act posters, marketing and creative work, and teaching high-school teachers and HSC students, but on the other side there’s my music. I do lots of different music stuff, charting, organising session musos, music videos and animation, so I’m kind of dipping my feet in both ponds. Some people take art so seriously, but for me it’s a passion that always follows you.
Great stuff, thanks for the chat, mate! We’ll catch up with ya again soon.
NOTE: Keep your eyes peeled for a new LKI art piece that Skotty’s working on for a new capsule range later this year!
Skotty with LKI Founder Jason Daniel, 10 years after designing the iconic LKI logo.