The Made Shop was founded 12 years ago by Marke Johnson and his wife Kimberly, while Marke was studying architecture. “I started the shop as both a way to have a bit of fun being creative outside academic work and to help pay our way through school,” explains Johnson.
“Kimberly and I were actually in a band at the time…so we were doing a bunch of graphic art and design for it, which then naturally grew to include a bunch of other friends, musicians and bands. This sort of snowballed from a fun side project into what started to seem a moderately successful business,” he explains. After graduating during a recession in 2008, Johnson and Kimberly decided to take a year out and see what they could do with the Made Shop as a full time project. “Eight years later,” he adds, “I think it’s one of the best risks we’ve ever taken.”
The studio has since worked on album art for The Fray and Son Lux and posters and graphics for Joseph Gordon-Levitt film Looper, as well as packaging, ads and visual identities. The team now includes a project designer, art director and artist, and most of its projects involve building 3D sets or large-scale objects.
Artwork for Son Lux album We Are Rising, which features an image of 28 coloured smoke bombs exploding
Artwork for Son Lux album Bones, for example (pictured top) was created using a pyramid of fluorescent tubes and exploding balloons filled with paint. For the cover for previous album We Are Rising, the studio photographed 28 smoke bombs exploding into the air. (The Made Shop has been working with Son Lux for around five years, and designed the stage show, props, merchandise, social media imagery, animated GIFs, drumheads and two promos for Bones). With identities for food outlets in Denver, it has designed glasses, signage, mosaics and window wraps as well as menus and branding.
The Made Shop’s identity for Nickel, a restaurant in Denver’s hotel Teatro. The studio created a logo, signage, menus and more, including a mosaic for the restaurant’s stove
“I think we end up approaching our graphic work a bit like architects or builders, and our spatial work a bit like graphic designers,” says Johnson. “For instance, if you look at most of our album covers, almost all of them come from some sort of crazy physical build, whether that’s wrapping an entire studio in white plastic