I'm deeply inspired by retro art in general. Pop culture from the 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's are a huge source of inspiration to me and it sums up everything I love with lettering. With United, I wanted to explore a more 70's style and spice it up with some 90's street character.
If you look at type from the 70's, it's all in the elastic bold swashes. I started with a very rough sketch, just to throw the image I had in my head on paper. This sketch went through a very wide array of pencil iterations before settling for a final shape.
For a word such as United, you need your lettering to have a perfect structure. It has to flow as a whole and feel like everything falls into place like a completed puzzle. I used the central "T" as the pillar of the word, using the ascender of the "D" as a crossbar and looping its tail to create an underlining swash. Each letter falls in to place with the next, creating a nice feeling of unity.
I tilted the lettering afterwards to reinforce the flow of the bottom swash and give a stronger feeling of movement.
I went through exactly seven iterations to vectorize United, including the final composition. The piece has a bold black outline, and I didn't want to simply use Illustrator's stroke effect because it doesn't provide optimum visual results. Therefore, I did everything manually, including the subtle perspective effect on the bottom left.
The whole thing looked nice but a little flat. I added dimension by setting a light grey bevel on the white lettering and a dark red shadow below the black outline.
The final piece is eye-catching, bold, and looks like a cool sticker to slap on a Volkswagen van. It oozes energy, character and positivity.