The perfect combination of colour and composition – mastered beautifully by illustrator/designer Nick Slater.

Nick Slater is an illustrator and designer based in San Francisco, US.

His graphic illustrations paired with well-considered typography are super satisfying and beautifully simple. He makes it look so easy, but upon closer inspection, there is an art to making all these elements balance out.

Look at his crest designs for example:

Setting type on anything other than a horizontal line can be quite tricky. Things like using the wrong style of font or kerning the letters too tight can cause the overall design to look clunky and illegible. Nick manages to keep everything in perfect harmony.


If you notice most badge/crest designs opt for uppercase lettering. This is because the letters appear more uniform and balanced – this is especially important when the type is on a curve. Another reason for using uppercase lettering in badges/crests is because they’re usually used to symbolise (or at least imitate) an establishment that might have a longstanding history. Uppercase gives a sense of prestige, authority and authenticity.


Take a look at these examples:

The illustration and the space dedicated for that very illustration can sometimes not match up. You may get awkward spacing or you may have to sacrifice a bit of your illustration in order to fit it in. Nick fills that space really well. Whether it’s dots or flames or petals, these flourishes are great to fill out those awkward spaces and to ultimately achieve a balanced badge.


One of my favourite things about Nick’s designs are his restrained colour palettes. For example the simple cycling illustration above only uses 2 colours plus the white background, but it is still really effective and striking. The ‘Newberry Tree’ badge uses a muted colour palette which works beautifully as a complete badge.


Nick always successfully creates the right balance for the hierarchy of information. Take the Flaming Resort badges:

The audience is first drawn to the large cream type that says ‘THE FLAMINGO RESORT’, then to the brown type that says ‘SANTA ROSA’ and finally in much smaller font size and in pink, ‘ CA, US’. By using size, colour and placement, Nick is able to create a strong and defined hierarchy, taking the audience through the most important information first.

Here’s another example:

The first type that you read is ‘HANSHIN TIGERS’ which is the largest font size and also in the strongest colour. Then your eyes move down and read ‘NISHINOMYA, JAPAN’ which is in a smaller font size and in a lighter colour. Finally, your eyes move to the numbers and Japanese type in yellow.

Each of these elements build up to create a well composed piece of design, that communicates the message quickly and correctly.

We’re big fans of Nick Slater's work. Check out more of Nick’s awesome work for loads more inspiration!