Danny van der Klok – AKA Dionic Design – is a Netherlands-based graphic designer and self-professed “New Era Cap fanatic.” He is known for his signature style of art that he occasionally features on limited New Era cap releases, which have become very hot items for New Era cap collectors and enthusiasts. We recently caught up with Dionic Design, who is gearing up to release his 3rd self-designed custom New Era cap, the Tadpole’ 59FIFTY – to see what’s on his mind. Want to show off your collection – hit us up at email@example.com.
You refer to yourself as a “New Era cap fanatic.” How many caps do you have in your collection? What are some of your favorites?
I currently have 32 caps, with 4 more on the way from online orders. I also own 10 New Era shirts, 2 polos, a track jacket and a zip-up hoody.
Some of my favorites are the caps that feature graphics all-over, those are special because I haven’t seen anyone on the streets wear them, so it’s quite unique here.
Other favorites are the Black/White Detroit Tigers cap and the Blue Jewel/White New York Yankees cap, because my wife bought me those when we visited the New Era Pop-Up Store in Rotterdam. We took the trip there while it was snowing, and even though she really hated the weather, she bought me those 2 caps and a shirt. That memory makes those caps a definite favorite. And the 2 TRON LEGACY caps too, because that’s my 2nd favorite movie of all time (first being Blade Runner).
You have a wide variety of caps (sports, comics etc) in your collection - Do you have a particular style of cap that you favor?
Lately I’ve been pulling toward anything that isn’t from sports, and the reason is simple. Everywhere I look when I’m walking down the street, there’s always people wearing a fitted cap with a sports team on it. That’s why I prefer to wear a comic or movie cap, to be different, to wear a cap you won’t see that often.
Which silhouette of cap do you prefer: snapback or fitted – why?
Fitted, because I think it looks better.
Snapbacks have an old school kind of look to them, which is cool if that’s your thing. They’re just not for me.
What does the New Era brand mean to you?
New Era Cap Co. is special to me because of the rich history they have, starting out as a small family business, growing out to gain such a huge presence in so many sports, it’s inspiring.
That, and the great amount of collaborations they do with other brands, like Marvel, DC Comics and TokiDoki.
They also have a dedication towards their fans, if I just look back at 2013, inviting a small group of fans to take a tour of their headquarters in Buffalo, giving away complete cap walls, it’s amazing to see such a big company do that kind of thing.
Where do you purchase most of your caps?
Online, be it eBay or a webshop.
You live in Almere, Netherlands, a city close to Amsterdam. Are there any stores in Almere or Amsterdam that you would recommend to other cap collectors?
No, actually. There used to be a BRITAIN urban clothing shop in Almere where you could find some 59FIFTY hats, but the thing with BRITAIN is, they have a better webshop than store, in my opinion. Plus, I like my caps to be exclusive, and there is just no store in The Netherlands to cater to that.
Not only are you a New Era cap fanatic, you’re also a Graphic Designer. To date, you have designed two of your own New Era caps, with another one dropping soon. How did you get started collaborating with New Era?
I suppose it all started when I was a little kid. I would always scribble and doodle everywhere I could, like in school notebooks. But I never really thought the things I made were good enough for anything. That kept on going through most of my life, in 2003 I also picked up Photoshop and started making banners for a forum I visited.
Then, when I started collecting New Era caps, and seeing the collaborations they did with various artists and brands, I got inspired to create a design I could actually be proud of. That took me a few weeks, sketching all kinds of Octopi, before arriving at one I could really work into a solid design! And from there I could actually see my skills improve, and the feedback I got was amazing, and made me alot more confident in my work. All thanks to New Era.
What are some of your artistic influences and inspirations?
Minor-League Baseball logo’s are always an inspiration, and the folks at theclinkroom.com provide a steady stream of brainfood as well.
The first New Era cap you designed was the Octopus fitted. How did it feel, as a “New Era fanatic”, to create your own cap? How do you feel it was received by fans and collectors?
It was such an amazing experience, going through all the little details like fabric colors and thread colors and getting it just right. And the feedback has been great, people like the designs I make (apparently) and the limited availability of my caps makes them into something people are really happy with to obtain.
One of my buyers even wanted his caps signed by me, which was a little awkward for me, but it’s flattering. And he might’ve started a thing, because I’ve got a few other people saying they want their next cap to be signed as well. The community response has been a great inspiration for me.
Which is your favorite New Era cap that you designed?
The Fire Ant. I think it turned out great in every way. The fabric colors, the embroidery, it all turned out perfect. And the feedback I got from the community has been really positive.
You will soon be releasing the Tadpole 59FIFTY fitted – Tell us a bit about it.
I started brainstorming on a character or logo that I could make into it’s starting letter, like the Diamondbacks’ logo. And it had to be unique of course. I also wanted to create a cap with a green undervisor, for a little retro flair. So I looked for something green, and that I could make into a letter.
Soon I landed at frogs, but that was a little difficult to make into a letter, but a tadpole was easy! The first sketch I made was near-perfect from the start, and that says alot, because I usually make quite a few sketches.
It took some back-and-forth with New Era to perfect, because it has so many shades of green in it, but I hope it all pays off.
Other than New Era caps, what other projects have you worked on?
All the graphics I make are part of my hobby, I haven’t worked on much else.
I get requests for commisions from time to time, but I can’t accept those, because I just don’t have the time.
Do you have any new projects coming up?
I’m always thinking up new designs and new caps. At the moment I’m working hard to realize a Home, Alternate and Away cap for a fantasy baseball team.
How can someone get in contact with you if they are looking to purchase your caps or work with you on future projects?
You can follow me on Instagram (@dionicdesign), and you can always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
All purchases go by email and paypal, I’m still looking into a little webshop of my own, but that’s just thoughts at this point.
Any finals words?
Thanks to everyone who has supported me and has bought a cap from me, keep looking out for more to come in the future, and I’d also like to thank my wife for her continued support, I wouldn’t have been able to realize the dream of creating my own caps without her. Stay fitted and Fly Your Own Flag!