I was recently inspired by Aaron Draplin to create a poster of logos, places, and names from my native state of Colorado. The project is dedicated to rediscovering and creating new logos for the places in Colorado that shaped my childhood.

Along the way its a great opportunity to tell the stories that have shaped many memories for me growing up.

There are so many places and names that have etched their memories into my brain and evoke a strong feeling of nostalgia and longing. For example, at the Westminster Mall, there were these large balloons in the middle of a water feature that would go up and down almost magically. I remember sitting or laying on the carpeted steps in front of them and being transfixed as they would float up by some unseen force and then squish back down again. I must not have been the only one because there is a nine minute video on YouTube of just these balloons...

So every logo, place, and name I'm working on has a special place in my memory growing up. I plan on sharing all of these as I work my way through this project.

And its not just about nostalgia, I want to hone my illustrative skills, and also bring back or create new logos that have been long forgotten.

Enjoy!

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For a good portion of my childhood Denver International Airport was an ongoing construction project. I would hear bits and pieces about it on the news or catch articles in the newspaper. It was a pretty big deal back then being one of the largest projects in the country and when it formally opened in 1995 it was something a native Coloradan could be proud of, well, minus the automated baggage system...

Once it was completed my family and I spent a good amount of time there since my dad was an employee of United Airlines. We were able to fly to a number of places and other airports. There is probably a little bit of bias here but I haven't been to an airport better than DIA.

The aesthetics, artwork, and little touches make it a special place. As you drive up to the airport you can't help but notice the iconic tents of the main terminal that remind you of both the Rocky Mountains in the background, and indian tee-pees of yesteryear.

Inside the airport a large amount of time and money was spent on artwork. Inside the train tunnels there are 5,280 propellers that spin and turn as the trains fly by. There are also a number of other hidden pieces in the tunnels as you roll by.

One of my favorite pieces of art are the paper airplanes that direct you up the stairs into the terminal from the train. You'll also find dinosaur bones and other things hidden in the floors as you walk the concourses.

DIA will always have a positive place in my memory because it was a wondrous place where exciting journeys began.

Banner photo by Mike Linksvayer

Baseball has big part in the story of my childhood. Not only did I play a lot of baseball growing up but I went to a lot of games. 

Professional baseball was always around whether we were going to Denver Zephyr games or Rockies games, but it was definitely something special to have a major league club in your hometown. Part of the magic of going to a baseball game is the stadium. Each stadium holds memories, records, historic games and incredible moments.

When the Rockies first came to town they played in Mile High Stadium which was home to the Denver Broncos. It wasn't until the first year at Coors Field where I felt we actually had a real team.

Coors Field is a fantastic baseball park. It was designed durning the era when new parks were trying to go for the old nostalgic looks of years past. So there is a lot of brickwork, exposed ironwork and of course the hand-operated scoreboard in the outfield. 

My family had a share of season tickets for a few years and the left field stands were ours to roam. We were back about 20 rows so unless someone really bombed one (which happened occasionally) we weren't going to get our hands on a prized home run ball. It was a great view however.

I haven't been back in a number of years but the field still holds its own and with the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains and the Denver skyline it will be one of the most beautiful baseball fields for years to come.

Banner photo by Chelsea Nesvig

Berthoud Pass is special not only because its a really cool and scenic mountain drive, but because it was the gateway to my summer vacations. My family has owned a condo in Winter Park since the early 80's and nearly every single summer we spent a week there cultivating and building memory after memory.

To get to Winter Park though you had to break off the main interstate and head up U.S. Highway 40 first through the speed trap of Empire and then on to the pass.

At the bottom of the pass there is a massive u-turn that starts your slow decent of nearly 3000 vertical feet in just a couple miles of road. Before the road was widened and bigger guardrails were put in place it was a terrifying drive for someone not in control of the car. For much of the pass you can look to your right and be level with the tops of very tall trees and on some occasions nothing.

My dad who is a very good driver owned that mountain. He would pass with ease and fly around corners as we dug our fingers in our seat cushions and held our breath. Several summers I made our city's all-star baseball team and my dad I would drive down and back each day of our vacation in our little red Ford Fiesta. That thing was built for zipping around those mountain corners. It was also a stick shift which my dad worked as deftly as Mario Andretti.

On the way up the pass there is this amazing mountain to the right which has a massive crater at the top. I always imagined it was a extinct volcano that someday might come back to life as we were driving up.

At the top of the pass there is a breathtaking view of the continental divide that goes on for seemingly hundreds of miles. We've never lingered long though because the fun of summer awaited below.

As you drive up and down keep your eyes peeled for a number of water falls. The biggest and best is right before the last switchback at the bottom. It flows under the road so you get to see it twice on either side.

If you are ever in Colorado take the time to drive the pass. The views and experience are fantastic.

The Eisenhower Tunnel was always a somewhat mystical and for lack of better description magical place. It just didn't seem quite real. When I was little I loved tunnels in the mountains. I loved everything about them. They were dark, mysterious, and I wasn't quite sure how they came about.

When ever we would drive through a tunnel my dad would honk the horn so we could hear the echo. It was a lot of fun. When I was older we tried to hold our breath through the tunnels. This was especially challenging in the Eisenhower Tunnel as it is over a mile long. I think I did a couple times though.

Part of the mystique I think, is it seemed to come out of nowhere. After driving past Georgetown in the Loveland valley you would climb and climb and climb until all of sudden there it was. Those crazy air vents sticking out and the tunnel to who knows where was right in front of you. I think it was a little terrifying and cool because you couldn't see the other side. Every time you drove though it was an adventure and the possibility of ending up somewhere else was always there.

There are moments in your childhood when you encounter something that is larger than life either in sheer physical scale or something you can't mentally comprehend.

The first time I stepped foot into the Phipps IMAX Theater at the Denver Museum of Natural History was a bit of both. You see when you walk into the theater you enter from down below on the right side of the screen. But here's the thing as you walk in you see a mountain of seats to your left and a giant wall to your right. It's only after a minute that you realize that giant wall on your right is actually the screen. All 6 stories of it.

That will make you feel pretty small pretty quick.

The private school I attended through 6th grade went to the museum and IMAX almost every year so I got to see a number of great films and documentaries. My favorites were Speed and anything to do with space.

I always dreamed of playing Super Mario Bros. on that thing. Maybe some day.

My family has a long history of competitive miniature golf. My parents used to play before I was born and one of my fondest memories growing up was stopping with dad after church to play Putt-Putt.

When most people hear "putt-putt" they automatically associate the term with miniature golf. In fact if you do an image search on Flickr or Google for "putt-putt" the majority of the images are not actually of a branded Putt-Putt course but a standard miniature golf course.

So when I talk about "Putt-Putt" I actually mean the branded orange coarse with the aluminum side rails. This is how Wikipedia describes the course:

Putt-Putt’s short holes are designed so that a hole-in-one can be scored on each hole with a skillful putt, often through the use of banking; the metal rails facilitate accurate caroms. Most mini-golf courses include holes that are impossible to ace, and those that can be aced often rely on luck due to extremely long holes and randomly placed obstacles. Additionally, the borders of each hole usually are made of rocks or uneven brick, making accurate banking difficult.
— https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Putt-Putt_Fun_Center

 

I think because Putt-Putt put so much effort into the game being skillful and not just lucky my dad loved to play. Nowadays when we play on a regular miniature golf course you can guarantee he'll make a comment about how these courses are just built for luck. That, I think takes a lot of fun of out the competition for my dad.



On those Sunday nights (of which I'm not sure how many there actually were) we would stop in get our metal putters and white balls (they didn't have colored balls if I remember correctly), and proceed to play the front 18. The course we played actually had 36 holes if you wanted to keep going.

I remember there was these flashing orange lights and if you got a hole-in-one when the lights were flashing you got to have your name announced over the speaker for everyone to hear and you also got to play with an special orange ball.

These are the moments I hope I'm creating with my kids.

Thanks dad for stopping in to play Putt-Putt with me.