Save the last shag

Client: Garden & Guns
Art Director: Julia Knetzer
Creative Director: Marshall Mckinney
Year: 2023
Type: Editorial Design

For the August/ September Issue of the Garden & Guns Magazin I was asked to create a lettering opener for an article written by Amanda Heckert, which tells the story of the Shag Dance from the Carolina Coast.

Play Video about Garden and Guns Opener Thumbnail
Garden and Guns, Save the last Shaq, Opener Lettering Process Shot
Close Up

—the process

First sketches

For the first round of exploration, we explored a broad range of styles that was based on references from the 1950 type design. Ranging from sign painting inspired letters to a lettering design inspired by the “The shag” Movie, plus some simple illustrations to be used for the article.

Garden and Guns Lettering Opener — first sketches
Dettol Video Campaign - Sketches

Second Round

In the second round we look at these brush letters with a horizontal approach.


Further explorations

After going through the style explorations, the lettering should fill up a whole spread. So, I went back and finetuned the composition and came up with different concepts for the layout and color.

Dettol Video Campaign - Sketches Round 3
Dettol Video Campaign - Sketches Round 4 — Drop Caps

Drop Caps

The spread is accompanied by a series of drop caps featured in the article following a similar style.


Since this dance was born from beach culture we wanted to communicate that through the lettering and bring more dimension into it. We landed on using sand as a medium.

Dettol Video Campaign - Sketches Round 5

"Nick’s approach to our project was masterful. He produced a full quiver of brilliant solutions—each unique and clear-eyed—to the material we provided. And, like all master craftsmen in service of the creative process, he was amendable and open to our thoughts and concerns and deftly blended his ideas together into a perfectly imaginative resolution. I’m looking forward to connecting with him on another project soon."

Marshall Mckinney / Creative Director, Garden&Gun

Final Opener in the Magazine

—more projects