Easily my most famous and widely used work, the Jerome Baker Designs (JBD) logo has been an iconic part of cannabis culture since the mid 1990s. Jerome Baker is a glass bong company that makes bongs for Tommy Chong, Seth Rogen, Snoop Dogg and a bunch of other famous weed celebrities, and are still going strong as I write this in 2023.
I was at the shop one day back when they first started at their new facility in ’96, and Jason Harris (the owner and founder, there is no such person as Jerome Baker, it’s an amalgam of Jerry Garcia’s first name and a word for a cannabis smoker) mentioned he wanted a logo for Jerome Baker Designs, and wanted it to be a graffiti logo. Having grown up in Philly in the late 70s and early 80s I was involved in graffiti art from its inception on subway trains, and I was happy to apply my Philly style to a logo for a glass bong company. I went home and busted out an outline drawing, and then, since I was going to graphic design school at University of Oregon, I had the foresight to make the JBD logo into vector art, since I knew from my education that vector art was much different from pixel-based art (such as any Photoshop art). Vector art can be blown up to any size and remain razor sharp, and I knew this would serve Jason well in the future, so I had to use a now-antiquated Adobe app called Streamline to convert my scanned drawing into a file that could be recognized by Adobe Illustrator, the premier vector art app. This was the only way to get hand drawn art into vector format at the time, and I feel like I can say with confidence that I created the world’s first vector graffiti logo, way back in 19 freakin’ 96.
I had no idea at the time that JBD would blow up the way it did, and it blew my mind the first time I went to Amsterdam and saw my logo proudly displayed on 12-foot banners in some of Amsterdam’s most famous coffeeshops (if you buy weed in Amsterdam you buy it from what’s called a coffeeshop), such as The Grey Area, for whom I later developed the world’s first 420 blog but that’s another story.
If you visit Wikipedia you’ll see a hacked version of the JBD logo; unfortunately someone back in the late 90s or early 2000s thought it was a good idea to draw a vertical line separating the J from the B in the logo, and they also fattened up the outline way too thick for the overall width of the lettering. It was a total hack job, most likely done from a scanned copy of the original because I know it didn’t come from my original vector file, shown here.
I’m still super proud to have created this logo, just wish the integrity of its design would have been honored all the way through today, and I created this post just to set the record straight.