The Brief: Personal project on the Chicago Hot Dog and its unique toppings

Role: Graphic designer and illustrator responsible for concept, design, and implementation of all lettering and illustration.

Tools Used: Pencil & pen, paper, scanner, Adobe Creative Suite.

Final illustration.

Final illustration.

The Chicago hot dog print started as a quick pencil sketch on an airplane. Chicago hot dogs are an institution in the city and the toppings are quite unusual—there are a lot of discussions about whether this style of hot dog with its array of toppings (including a tomato, a pickle spear and sweet relish, and no ketchup!) are good or bad, but I’m a huge fan. The sketch struck a chord, so I put together a full-fledged hand-drawn lettering piece for prints and t-shirts.

From the initial pencil sketch, I refined the sketch and inked elements by hand on tracing paper, knowing that I would do clean-up and more refinement on the computer. I even attended a Chicago TypeThursday event and discussed the work to get audience feedback. I scanned in the inked items, vectorized them in Adobe Illustrator, and straightened lines and fine-tuned the letter shapes, scale, and composition, and added color as well.

The end result is a fun print or t-shirt that anyone in Chicago can display, relate to, and/or argue about. Job done.