Archive for the ‘Writings’ Category

Print Magazine: Imprint

Posted on: October 7th, 2013 by John J. Custer No Comments

An article written for Imprint, in the Spring of 2011, on the evolution of persons awareness to the responsibilities and dangers of advanced car technology.


Driving: Kick Back, Relax, and Text Chris About Tonight’s Dinner Plans at 9


Being a petrol-head means that I am all about the experience of driving. I love having grease under my nails and a hood over my head; the sound of a roaring engine is more important than a screaming guitar solo through the speakers; and an odd rattle or pressure reading needs to be addressed immediately—with my bare hands. My car is my passion. These are all things that make the driving experience what it is. I also believe that passion is what puts me in the top percentile of driving abilities and safety. I do not mean to belittle drivers that have a clean record—even the worst of drivers can be reckless—but I do mean to call to attention people’s real passions and intent while they are behind the wheel and how innovations have potentially created dangerous driving conditions by hindering drivers and the experience of driving.


Innovations in automotive safety systems, until the 21st century, were mostly designed for situations that were considered uncontrollable or accidental. Seat belts keep you from flying through a windshield in a collision. Airbags protect your head from steering wheels, dashes, and glass windows. Anti-lock breaks shorten braking distances and give the driver more control during extreme braking. All of these advances make for a safer driver and driving experience while still demanding and requiring the utmost attention from the operator behind the wheel.


However, the newest and greatest 21st century advancements in car safety have lessened the need for a driver’s full attention. New innovations have taken the experience of driving from the motorist and given it to the car. For example, cars can now detect when you are swerving, falling asleep, or need a cup of coffee instead of you having to know so. They can tell you that there is a car in your blind spot instead of requiring you to physically check your surroundings. Your car can even stop itself when a vehicle in front of you has clearly stopped but you are busy texting your dinner plans to the gang. Undoubtedly these new safety assistant systems will save lives, money, and property, just as any safety equipment on an automobile should. But at what exact cost do these systems really protect us? Do these new innovations in the automotive world make a car safer or a driver dumber? At what point does a wreck become the cars fault and not the driver’s fault


When the experience of driving is taken away from the driver, there is no longer a need to be a part of that experience. Watching for obstacles, treacherous situations, and unsafe conditions is not a priority: the driver’s full attention is no longer needed to complete a driving task. This means that innovation has failed the auto safety industry, and inventors have unknowingly created dangerous roads with their wishful and temporarily solutions for removing distractions from the car.


Innovation in automotive safety needs to take a few steps back, revisit the drawing board, and try to address the issue they started with—distractions in the car—instead of placing a band-aid over a gash that will hurt when ripped off. Systems that tell people they need to pay attention when they are distracted are great and show where the industry has come from since the Model T. But the much more serious question and problem the auto industry must now face is how to remove the distractions from the automobile altogether and create a lively driving experience on the road, in which people will interact with and actually pay attention again.

Note: I have no issue with Mercedes-Benz. I am in fact a dear fan of the automaker. I only pick on them for argumentative sake of the innovations that Mercedes-Benz has developed for the automotive masses.

Case No. CLS-1876

Posted on: May 7th, 2013 by John J. Custer No Comments

I had the lucky opportunity to be a part of Scott Kirkpatrick, Jason Roemer, Matt Beers, and Nate Utesch’s brilliant publication, Ferocious Quarterly. After initially reaching out about doing illustrative work for the quarterly, I was instead asked—as a dyslexic C-student in English—to write a story! I gladly accepted and became part of the project you see below.


Images and text below provided by


“Be Prepared” sent our contributors on their way with one word as a loose token of inspiration: “SURVIVAL.”


The written words in this issue were prepared a little different than usual. Our writers were given preliminary sketches, rough concepts and illegible notes from our contributing illustrators. They concepted their stories in unison with their assigned collaborators—dueling artists, refining a work together until the final pieces were complete. What we’re left with are stories accompanied by illustration and yet inspired first by illustration.


Contributors: Dan Christofferson, Jon Ashcroft, Joseph Hughes, Jake Dugard, Audrey Riley, Dan Cassaro, Richard Perez, Jes Hunt, Kelli Anderson, Kevin Harris, Erik Marinovich, Roxanne Daner, Scott Allen Hill, Jim Walker, Tuesday Bassen, Cassie McDaniel, Ellis Latham-Brown, Corey Mesler, Lydia Nichols, John J. Custer, Joe Van Wetering, Meg Tuite, Jolby, Joseph M. Mau, and Emory Allen.


* Featured on The Fox is Black



Case No. CLS-1876
By John J. Custer



Standard package:
KIT v11.7.1
Suggested retail price: $395.
Standard equipment: Water bottle, flashlight, carabiner, binoculars, hunting knife, fishing hooks and sting, compass, matches, batteries (4), first-aid kit, pocket knife, eating utensils (3), canned food (3), backpack, 5-year warranty


Optional package(s): 
Wild Wild West
Suggested retail price: $400
Bow, Arrows (25), spear, tomahawk, rope, handcuffs, dynamite (1)


Sports Package V
Suggested retail price: $40
Volleyball (1)


5 O’clock
Suggested retail price: $15
Assorted mini bottles of liquor (3)


Suggested retail price: INCLD
Filtered water


Destination and Delivery
Suggested retail price: $350


Total suggested retail price: $1200



1. Review assignment: Pick up all documents at precinct detailing new infraction with subsequent assignment, date, person(s), location, etc.


2. Purchase proper KIT: Purchase standard KIT along with optional packages suggested in assignment details. You may choose to consult with a KIT specialist.


3. Report to home base: Verify identity with standard issued ID card and voice recognition. Await proper docking station and departure time.


4. Report to assigned docking station: Bring all verified and signed documents and valid ID to receptionist.


5. Follow assignment and order.: Follow out all details in the assignment strictly. Do not deviate from target via people, places, or time. Should unnecessary persons become involved abort immediately.


6. Return to docking station: Once your assignment is completed, report back to docking station in a timely manner.


7. Finish assignment: If your assignment calls for more attention in the real world, address these issues in timely manner. If your assignment is complete, proceed to step 8.


8. Expense assets: Expense all assets and receive payment for assignment.



Case Study Notes


First I should let you know that, by the end of the year, time travel will have been invented. I should know: I was there.


It’s actually quite simple, really. A company called 1985 Inc. discovered that the light and radio waves traveling through 3G and 4G telecommunication could be directed at specific points in our space time continuum. Meaning that the we could communicate and travel to specific times through our mobile devices. Naturally, 1985 Inc. patented this technology and has monetised on their discovery.


At first–as one would expect–this technology was only available to universities and scientific scholars. It facilitated some of the greatest discoveries for the human race and became a tool to help us understand our being and history.


This privatized technology soon became available to the public. More specifically, to those whose wallets were as overstuffed as their egos. Most of these individuals were persons who had a vested interest in changing and rewriting their family history. These high-paying consumers were, more often than not, people who wanted to erase error or blood from their family names … or at least pawn “unfortunate situations” onto others. As you can imagine, these types of scenarios were frowned upon.


During this transitory period, there was a wealthy Texas man named Jeffrey Custer who was so entangled in his family history and image that he felt the need to hire out a small group of goons to carry out the task of erasing the battle of Little Bighorn, removing Custer’s Last Stand from the history books.


Days before my assignment, history books that were not kept in The Vault had no memory of Little Bighorn. All of a sudden, the Custer name was spoken of often and in gentler tones—Jeffrey was now a presidential candidate. April 1st was the day the phone rang for me, again and again. I was to report to my Sheriff Officer for detailed instructions and be questioned before embarking on my new assignment. He wanted to make sure I wouldn’t compromise my task. I had to take the job…




Brand New: 2020 Olympics

Posted on: July 17th, 2013 by John J. Custer No Comments

An article written for Brand New reviewing the proposed marks for the 2020 Olympics.


You can read the article here.

Brand New: Korinthos FC

Posted on: August 19th, 2011 by John J. Custer No Comments

An article written for Brand New reviewing Korinthos FC’s new look.


You can read the article here.

Brand New: State Farm

Posted on: January 4th, 2012 by John J. Custer No Comments

An article written for Brand New reviewing State Farm’s simple update.


You can read the article here.

Brand New: Life OK

Posted on: January 19th, 2012 by John J. Custer No Comments

An article written for Brand New reviewing Life OK’s mark and iconic character.


You can read the article here.

Brand New: Easton

Posted on: October 11th, 2011 by John J. Custer No Comments

An article written for Brand New reviewing Easton’s rebrand.


You can read the article here.

Brand New: Plymouth University

Posted on: October 25th, 2011 by John J. Custer No Comments

An article written for Brand New reviewing Plymouth University’s “With…” identity.


You can read the article here.

Brand New: Cloo

Posted on: September 1st, 2011 by John J. Custer No Comments

An article written for Brand New reviewing NBC’s mystery channel, Cloo.


You can read the article here.

Brand New: House Beautiful

Posted on: September 14th, 2011 by John J. Custer No Comments

An article written for Brand New reviewing House Beautiful’s new work mark, which was done by typographer Jeremy Mickel.


You can read the article here.