Design insights & tutorials.

Barack Obama Portrait Deck on UrbanOutfitters.com

Barack Obama portrait deck by Oliver Barrett of Go Media

In August, the Obama campaign was running a contest for the next Obama T-shirt. I thought to myself “Self, you don’t like John McCain, and you certainly don’t like Sarah Palin. You DO like drawing, fresh ideas, and what Barack Obama will bring to this mess of a country that we’re living in.” So I decided to whip something up for this shirt contest. I was thinking about what would make a good piece for this particular project, and figured that putting Barack Obama’s face on a tee for the Barack Obama campaign made some sense, so I started there. I fleshed out the portrait in a couple of hours, employing this new layered drawing technique I’ve been developing.

Once the portrait was done, I wanted to get some complimentary elements into the piece. I added a flurry of Obama logos and some of those concentric circles that I’ve been beating into the ground since 2006. I mocked it up on their template and submitted it.

For some reason, the submission never showed up on the page. Not sure why. It could have been that I just didn’t do it right (even though I tried a few times), or the contest couldn’t handle the big, fat wad of coolness that I was shoving down its throat.

So now I had this illustration that didn’t have a purpose. I decided that I should turn it into a poster and let people download it for free. I posted it to my Behance profile, but was too busy with other projects at the time to really push it. About a week later, I was putting some stuff together for Deck Peck and thought this poster/shirt design/whatever it had become would make a pretty cool deck. We submitted the illustration on a skate deck and it was well received enough for Urban Outfitters to feel the burning desire to sell it. Woo hoo! Go America.

You can buy the deck here. Buy it, get some fishing wire, and put it on your wall.

Here are some in progress images of the piece:

Barack Obama portrait deck by Oliver Barrett of Go Media

Barack Obama portrait deck by Oliver Barrett of Go Media

Barack Obama portrait deck by Oliver Barrett of Go Media

Barack Obama portrait deck by Oliver Barrett of Go Media

Barack Obama portrait deck by Oliver Barrett of Go Media

This is the finished poster. The aged look worked better on the poster than it did on the deck, so I left the deck clean.

About the Author, Oliver Barrett

I'm a designer, art director, illustrator, bowling captain, bass player, shortshop, strategist, and much much more. Follow me on Twitter and check out my Flickr
Discover More by Oliver Barrett

Discussion

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  • http://www.battlemedialab.com Joe

    I love you guys but an Obama board? C’mon…I’m sure he’s going to make a good President (eventually) but the whole Obama Bandwagon thing just bugs the living shit outta me.

    With that aside, the actual design of it is flat out sick.

  • http://www.battlemedialab.com Joe

    I love you guys but an Obama board? C’mon…I’m sure he’s going to make a good President (eventually) but the whole Obama Bandwagon thing just bugs the living shit outta me.

    With that aside, the actual design of it is flat out sick.

  • Bobby

    Any reason why the board is $55 on deck peck but $68 on Urban Outfitters? Is it a better quality deck or something?

  • Wilson

    Design is very dope! And if you’re not an Obama fan you can still get this board and have fun rail sliding on Obama’s nose!

  • Wilson

    Design is very dope! And if you’re not an Obama fan you can still get this board and have fun rail sliding on Obama’s nose!

  • Matt

    Are there prints of the poster available?

  • http://www.dooms-day-device.com Puke

    While I hate all politicians and government period; that design is damned awesome.

    I love the combo of the Obama logo and the “concentric downpour” style.

  • http://www.dooms-day-device.com Puke

    While I hate all politicians and government period; that design is damned awesome.

    I love the combo of the Obama logo and the “concentric downpour” style.

  • brian

    it’s cool except for the obama part

  • brian

    it’s cool except for the obama part

  • http://www.williambiwer.com Bill Biwer

    Awesome technique Oliver. The Obama logo layout reminds me of the concentric downpour series.

  • http://www.williambiwer.com Bill Biwer

    Awesome technique Oliver. The Obama logo layout reminds me of the concentric downpour series.

  • http://torpedovegas.deviantart.com/ Torpedo Vegas

    I officially spend too much time on this site, I knew this one belonged to Oliver just from the preview. Great job by the way man, it’s dope!!

  • http://torpedovegas.deviantart.com/ Torpedo Vegas

    I officially spend too much time on this site, I knew this one belonged to Oliver just from the preview. Great job by the way man, it’s dope!!

  • Bobby

    Any reason why the board is $55 on deck peck but $68 on Urban Outfitters? Is it a better quality deck or something?

  • Matt

    Are there prints of the poster available?

  • Nathaniel

    It’s cool especially the Obama part.

  • Nathaniel

    It’s cool especially the Obama part.

  • Jacob

    Stunning design! Really cool stuff, keep up the good work.

  • Jacob

    Stunning design! Really cool stuff, keep up the good work.

  • http://www.marenkellydesign.com Maren

    Great art. Horrible choice in subjects…

  • http://www.marenkellydesign.com Maren

    Great art. Horrible choice in subjects…

  • http://www.gomedia.us oliver

    I appreciate all of the compliments about the artwork. I’d also appreciate it if you kept the comments about the subject to a minimum. If you’re that upset about the fact that it’s a drawing of Obama, then just don’t comment. I’d hate to see this turn into an October 2008 CNN-esque comment debate spree.

  • http://www.gomedia.us oliver

    I appreciate all of the compliments about the artwork. I’d also appreciate it if you kept the comments about the subject to a minimum. If you’re that upset about the fact that it’s a drawing of Obama, then just don’t comment. I’d hate to see this turn into an October 2008 CNN-esque comment debate spree.

  • sdfghjnm,

    yes! obama sucks!

  • sdfghjnm,

    yes! obama sucks!

  • http://www.pushingbuttons.net Timothy

    Wow. I would totally get one of these… but I don’t skate…

  • http://www.pushingbuttons.net Timothy

    Wow. I would totally get one of these… but I don’t skate…

  • http://myspace.com/spinnas22 sw8t

    this is an amazing design. dont bother listening to these haters in here they just jealous that they lost.

  • http://myspace.com/spinnas22 sw8t

    this is an amazing design. dont bother listening to these haters in here they just jealous that they lost.

  • Mokhethi

    I love it. keep up the good work.

  • Mokhethi

    I love it. keep up the good work.

  • http://www.battlemedialab.com Joe

    @oliver

    You as a designer should know, you’re going to take some sort of heat when it comes to posting your work and allowing others to comment on it.

    While I respect you guys a lot, I don’t see anything wrong at all with my comment or anyone else’s thus far. If it turns into a shit slinging fest — sure but it’s nowhere near.

    My comment was more in regards to everyone virtually putting the man who until yesterday has yet to take office, yet to do anything besides get elected and sworn in onto a pedastool.

    But if you took offense to that — I’m sorry.

  • http://www.battlemedialab.com Joe

    @oliver

    You as a designer should know, you’re going to take some sort of heat when it comes to posting your work and allowing others to comment on it.

    While I respect you guys a lot, I don’t see anything wrong at all with my comment or anyone else’s thus far. If it turns into a shit slinging fest — sure but it’s nowhere near.

    My comment was more in regards to everyone virtually putting the man who until yesterday has yet to take office, yet to do anything besides get elected and sworn in onto a pedastool.

    But if you took offense to that — I’m sorry.

  • http://tomfaraci.com Tom Faraci

    So, when can we rip off your layered drawing technique?

    Just kidding… It looks great. I love how you included the logo into the concentric circles, very clever.

  • http://tomfaraci.com Tom Faraci

    So, when can we rip off your layered drawing technique?

    Just kidding… It looks great. I love how you included the logo into the concentric circles, very clever.

  • http://www.gomedia.us Oliver

    @Joe
    No apologies necessary. I have a few republican friends who I’ve heard enough anti-democrat spiel to last until the next election. Just quite tired of “it would be cooler if it wasn’t Obama” “horrible subject,” etc. I’m leaving it at that. I’m not opening a can of worms here.

  • http://www.gomedia.us Oliver

    @Joe
    No apologies necessary. I have a few republican friends who I’ve heard enough anti-democrat spiel to last until the next election. Just quite tired of “it would be cooler if it wasn’t Obama” “horrible subject,” etc. I’m leaving it at that. I’m not opening a can of worms here.

  • http://www.battlemedialab.com Joe

    All good, funny thing is — I’m not even a Republican. At all. ;)

  • http://www.battlemedialab.com Joe

    All good, funny thing is — I’m not even a Republican. At all. ;)

  • http://www.dontlookdesign.com Jaz

    Better than fishing wire:
    http://www.sk8ology.com/
    I don’t have any affiliation with them but I have used the deck displays and they work great.

  • http://www.dontlookdesign.com Jaz

    Better than fishing wire:
    http://www.sk8ology.com/
    I don’t have any affiliation with them but I have used the deck displays and they work great.

  • http://www.mamjed.com mamjed

    ooh i like the image on white, cropped it for my ipod wallpaper!

  • http://www.mamjed.com mamjed

    ooh i like the image on white, cropped it for my ipod wallpaper!

  • http://myspace.com/whynotmedia jackmueth

    I love it. My biggest question is, how do you get your designs noticed by Urban Outfitters?

  • http://myspace.com/whynotmedia jackmueth

    I love it. My biggest question is, how do you get your designs noticed by Urban Outfitters?

  • Creative Inside

    I love the Deck if you actually have some decks yourself I would love to purchase 1 from you. But as for purchasing through Urban Outfitter there is no way I would could do that.

    Great work on the deck It’s amazing

  • Creative Inside

    I love the Deck if you actually have some decks yourself I would love to purchase 1 from you. But as for purchasing through Urban Outfitter there is no way I would could do that.

    Great work on the deck It’s amazing

  • Michelle

    Damn, everything about this is awesome. I love the skateboard deck and how you did the worn-out look on the poster, to give it that little bit of different feel to it. It’s great, don’t bother the haters… it’s your art you choose the subject and if anyone hates the subject you used it doesn’t matter, your design, your idea.

    And I personally think Obama kicks ass! Is there a print available of the poster?

  • Michelle

    Damn, everything about this is awesome. I love the skateboard deck and how you did the worn-out look on the poster, to give it that little bit of different feel to it. It’s great, don’t bother the haters… it’s your art you choose the subject and if anyone hates the subject you used it doesn’t matter, your design, your idea.

    And I personally think Obama kicks ass! Is there a print available of the poster?

  • the runz

    It’s funny that you ask people not to rip off your ‘new’ technique but I cant help notice the similarities it shares with David Flores’ work.

    Take a peek in case you forgot:

    http://www.davidfloresart.com/

  • the runz

    It’s funny that you ask people not to rip off your ‘new’ technique but I cant help notice the similarities it shares with David Flores’ work.

    Take a peek in case you forgot:

    http://www.davidfloresart.com/

  • Anonymous

    Love the design… why post if we can’t rip you off?? Just kidding :D

  • http://tiffanyforrester.blogspot.com Tiffany

    Love the design… why post if we can’t rip you off?? Just kidding :D

  • Rai

    Great Article!

    I have a question.
    What’s the deal with direct to garment printing?
    Does it give you high quality results at a lower price?

  • Rai

    Great Article!

    I have a question.
    What’s the deal with direct to garment printing?
    Does it give you high quality results at a lower price?

  • http://www.okaygreat.com/ OKGreat

    Is it still bizarre to anyone else that there was a candidate and is a president that young people are fans of? It is to me. I’ve also never seen so much good design come out any political campaign, ever.

    My crew, Flywheel Design, through an Obama fundraiser w/ live hip hop at our studio in October and made a pretty dope poster series that went up all around Durham/Raleigh/Chapel Hill. It got us on the BBC, unnghh. Check it out:

    http://www.okaygreat.com/?p=334

  • http://www.okaygreat.com/ OKGreat

    Is it still bizarre to anyone else that there was a candidate and is a president that young people are fans of? It is to me. I’ve also never seen so much good design come out any political campaign, ever.

    My crew, Flywheel Design, through an Obama fundraiser w/ live hip hop at our studio in October and made a pretty dope poster series that went up all around Durham/Raleigh/Chapel Hill. It got us on the BBC, unnghh. Check it out:

    http://www.okaygreat.com/?p=334

  • Serg Chernata

    This is just awesome. I love this style, with lines to outline shadows and highlights.

  • Serg Chernata

    This is just awesome. I love this style, with lines to outline shadows and highlights.

  • http://www.sojones.com/hiphop-clothing/lrg-clothing/ streetwear

    can you do my own portrait,i like it,it's quite unusual.will you do my own please.

  • Brett

    Wow Oliver… looks like you could use some of this… http://www.obamaholywater.com

  • corry

    david flores, you RIPPED OFF DF!!!! and sold his style to urban outfitters? man your a punk bitch…i hope he finds you.

  • Dan

    Excellent job..
    dizi izle