- Buyer's Guide
Remember this name
Dan Matsuda might not be a household name just yet... but he absolutely should be. And we're here to tell you about him. Dan has been a humble and silent force within the world of carry for many years now.
His incredible portfolio of work as an in-house softgoods Industrial Designer at Triple Aught Design has earned Carry Awards (TAD Litespeed and TAD EDC). Additionally, his TAD patches design page is something I can find myself frequently getting lost in for afternoon daydream sessions. Go have a look... but set an alarm so you don't get pulled in too deep.
And his current body of work that he's producing under the name SAMPLE, is absolutely incredible. Repurposed materials, innovative design, somehow fusing the past with the future in an almost beautiful and hopeful Blade Runner style. We have been longtime fans and friends with Dan... and we've been wanting to work together on something for years. If you want to learn even more about Dan, check our interview article for an in-depth peek behind the curtain of Dan's genius.
The time had come.
We initially reached out to Dan about working on something... well, anything. We weren't short on ideas for this one. Now, just around the time of our chat... Dan really started upping his Velcro-backed patch game on his SAMPLE store. Now, I love patches, but I rarely purchase them for myself. Dan's patches, however... they had me reaching for my wallet. I purchased several of them, handling the hand-packaged beauties like they were gemstones. Eagerly, I'd await the next patch design release... and then miss out because I was too slow.
The secret was out, Dan's patches were and are, in high demand. Dan is not only an amazing product designer, but a wildly talented illustrator. His creative illustrative sci-fi artwork and execution of his super detailed patches is second to none. We'd often find our Carryology writers and members of our Facebook group Carryology Classified discussing these miniature works of art, going by the simplified name of “morale patches”. We were and still are, obsessed.
And that's when it clicked.
Morale in question
We were both into it. But now that it would be a morale patch, it could be inspired by an infinite amount of possibilities. Daunting, to say the least. Where to even begin? Nearly too open-ended. We had some solid brainstorm sessions. Then a few more.
Ultimately, we left Dan with more questions than answers.
Then, there it was, right in front of us. In fact, we were inside of it. The year that seemed to hinder our creative juices, would be used as inspiration for the design. The year 2020 and all its complexities. A few days later, Dan came back with a variety of sketches and a nearly finished direction.
One that we titled “FALL”, representing the hopelessness we've all felt together in this twisted calendar year. We loved it. Only a few revisions were necessary, a testament to Dan's skill. But... there was something missing. Frankly, dear reader, it was kind of depressing.
A celebration of melancholy. Giving up. Letting 2020 win.
We couldn't have that.
FALL and... ?
Together, we had the concept of the same broken helpless astronaut from "FALL"... but in another design. It wouldn't be one design, it would be two. And in this one... he wouldn't be losing this time.
The second design would be the spaceman's revenge on the the year 2020.
Taking it back. Taking control. Winning. Inspiring hope for the future.
We'd title this design “RISE”.
The first concept we had was to sell them individually. Being that these patches are referred to as “morale patches”, originally designed to identify individual military units, that didn't sit right. Now, morale patches are still used for military applications but civilians around the world design, buy, sell, and collect their own.
Ultimately, they're artwork, they're fun, and they make you smile. In this case, one design without the other wasn't the feeling we were after. The two designs were meant to be together, as a pair. We decided that they'll be sold as a set, completing the diptych.
Dan's own words on his inspiration...
"2020 has been an unusual year. It’s been scary at times, traumatic, and disappointing overall. Needless to say it’s a tough year to celebrate, even with moments of excitement and hope we’re at the mercy of uncertainty.
For me, the very nature of carry goods is about movement, travel and the journey from place to place. We don’t have to be explorers or thrill seekers. The basic necessity of commuting requires us to transport our essentials, all of which has been halted by a global pandemic.
I believe Space Exploration is a great metaphor of a journey, both in the literal sense, but also as advancement of the human race. For this reason, I’ve decided to use this as my inspiration to create these two illustrations.
The images are based around the ideas of Fall and Rise. The fictitious astronaut is first shown in a wounded posture, with cords of red invading and piercing the suit. This was done to give the virus an intrusive vessel as well as highlight that the suit is empty and abandoned. Rise is represented by showing the action of resistance and strength in the context of a dark environment where the horizon is fading."
FALL and RISE
This marks two firsts for us at Carryology.
First, the beginning of our Artist Series of special edition patches. We'll be working with Mr. Matsuda on more limited edition patches in the future, as well as other talented artists yet to be revealed.
Second, this is the official launch of the Carryology web shop. As you will see upon the product release (dates/times listed below), there will only be one product in there for the moment. But you can expect some fun stuff to fill those digital shelves in the very near future. Hint, not everything we'll offer will be limited edition. Stay tuned.
Presenting, Matsuda x Carryology “FALL” and “RISE” Artist Series morale patch set, in lustrous colorful and detail thread, Velcro-backed, coming in at a display-worthy 4.1 inches in diameter (10.5 CM).