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Cap Matches Color - Capturing Vintage Spray Can Aesthetic

Case Study

Super fun site to work on. Cap Matches Color is an archival project dedicated to the history of spray paint. At its core, cmc is built around a group of collectors dedicated to the discovery and documentation of spray can history. It’s principal activities take place in the form of collections, exhibitions, organized events, and an upcoming print publication.

The bulk of CMC’s outward facing activity takes place on instagram. They’ve built a very strong community on that platform where they engage there where they share their spray can and spray can memorabilia finds with followers. Their client base is an interesting demographic. Their following is largely grounded in the graffiti community, where the spray can has for a long time been fetishized in the art. But it also extends to collectors and restoration enthusiasts from other fields who seek them out for authentic era paint colors. Where Instgram serves them well is the broad audience reach and community engagement. Where Instagram falls short in their needs is in providing a stable environment for evergreen topics. This is where capmatchescolor.com needed to position intself.

We built the site with three primary content types in mind:

  1. The site came with an extensive collection of interviews which were to be ported from the old site. These encompassed interviews with graffiti artists from past and present. Early influencers and their modern successors, each reminiscing on how cans and colors have played influential roles in their lives.
  2. Cap Matches Color also needed the ability to provide overview pages of events it’s hosted in the past as well as the ability to expand an provide static places to announce upcoming events.
  3. Finally a wish list item which was photo galleries of collections, rare-finds, vintage in-store displays, and color charts.

From a design perspective the cmc provided a unique opportunity to make some interesting design decisions. Their brand identity up until this point had always been grounded squarrely in the angry teenage male graffiti aethethic which was in contrast to the bulk of the imagery they were puttting out into the public sphere which was of vintage advertising from the fifties. As a rebrand I wanted to bring the two together in a mashup of tags, drips, retro color pallets and line work illustration.

What we came up with in the end is a kind of non-specific-era retro. It feels like an unplceable vintage, sratelling easthetic inspirations from the 90’s when graffiti was at it’s prime, the late 70’s early 80’s when graffiti was born, and the early 60’s when spray cans became household items.

detail shots of graphics on color pallets, maybe tag logo on brown, instagram on orange, graf drawing on another color, etc..

Bells and whistles? We’ve got those too. The cap matches color site is loaded with all the new toys. Waypoints along the long scroll homepage trigger animated events as you scroll down, bringing key points to attention. The fixed top header transforms itself as it re-enters the page on scroll down as well. The Gallery pages are all using isotope to provide animated filter capabilities. And as a special unique touch how could a page about spray colors not have a color selector?

Capmatchescolor.com comes in four flavors: Tangerine orange, lemon yellow, purple grape, and avocado green. A toggle on the homepage loads flips the site from one color palette to another including text, backgrounds, sidebars, and featured images. Having built the site’s css in sass, it was as simple as setting up a file which provided different values to four different variables. Each of these was then outputted as a different css file which the toggles reference. There’s a little more to it, but not much. From a dev time perspective it was pretty negligible but provides a nice little touch of uniqueness in a world of squarespace template websites.