Hardware Hank Redux


(Click for a larger image.)

Recently I was contacted by a local ad agency looking to update the logo for Hardware Hank, a chain of small-town hardware stores sprinkled throughout the upper midwest. When I was a kid it seemed like every town had a Hardware Hank store, but in recent years they’ve been eclipsed by the “big box stores” (Home Depot, Lowe’s, etc.) and the remaining stores are pretty much mom-and-pop establishments. Anyway, I was told Hardware Hank was looking to update their “Hank” character and that several local ad agencies were competing for the job. I was hired by one agency to do a few sketches in the hopes that we would get the bid.

I have fond childhood memories of shopping at Hardware Hank with my dad, and their “Hank” character is looking rather dated, so I jumped at the chance. Besides, there is still a Hardware Hank in the town where I grew up, and I thought it would be neat for my parents to tell their friends that their son designed the new store logo.

The original Hank character is in the upper left. I was asked to do one version that stayed close to the original design (upper right), and then do 2-3 additional concepts (I did a few extra for good measure). Ironically, the current trend in cartoon art is to go for a 1950’s “retro” look, so I had that in mind with a couple of the designs.

I waited several weeks without hearing anything. Finally I was told that the Hardware Hank people had changed their minds and were going to stay with their original character. Oh well, that’s the freelance biz. At least I’ve got a few more pieces for my portfolio.

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6 thoughts on “Hardware Hank Redux

  1. I’m partial to the chubby Hank in the center of the center row.

    Sorry to hear HH didn’t want to move forward on the new character. Maybe you’ll get an opportunity to redesign that awful, manic-looking character on the Menard’s ads (based on their awful, manic-looking TV commercial spokesman).

  2. I like the center middle one too. He looks friendly, yet helpful. All the things you would want in a hardware salesman helper guy. Great stuff here!

  3. Big fan of your blog!

    Hope you don’t mind me asking a personal question related to your freelance. Did you get paid for the roughs you did despite the client cancelling the job?

  4. Hi Seppo. Thanks for the kind words. I like your work too!

    Yes, I did get paid for the sketches. If the project had moved forward I would have been paid conisderably more, but I feel like I was treated fairly by the client.

  5. That’s too bad they didn’t go forward with any of your designs. I think they’re a vast improvement from the original.

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