Recently I was contacted by a local ad agency looking to update the logo for Hardware Hank, a chain of small-town hardware stores sprinkled throughout the upper midwest. When I was a kid it seemed like every town had a Hardware Hank store, but in recent years they’ve been eclipsed by the “big box stores” (Home Depot, Lowe’s, etc.) and the remaining stores are pretty much mom-and-pop establishments. Anyway, I was told Hardware Hank was looking to update their “Hank” character and that several local ad agencies were competing for the job. I was hired by one agency to do a few sketches in the hopes that we would get the bid.
I have fond childhood memories of shopping at Hardware Hank with my dad, and their “Hank” character is looking rather dated, so I jumped at the chance. Besides, there is still a Hardware Hank in the town where I grew up, and I thought it would be neat for my parents to tell their friends that their son designed the new store logo.
The original Hank character is in the upper left. I was asked to do one version that stayed close to the original design (upper right), and then do 2-3 additional concepts (I did a few extra for good measure). Ironically, the current trend in cartoon art is to go for a 1950’s “retro” look, so I had that in mind with a couple of the designs.
I waited several weeks without hearing anything. Finally I was told that the Hardware Hank people had changed their minds and were going to stay with their original character. Oh well, that’s the freelance biz. At least I’ve got a few more pieces for my portfolio.