Len Kori – AKA Elko Design – is a San Francisco-based Graphic Design Student, NECTalk member, and self-professed “New Era fanatic.” He recently released his self-designed “Jailbirds SFC” collaborative 59FIFTY New Era cap – a fitted which pays homage to his hometown. The cap was well-received by New Era collectors and enthusiasts. We recently caught up with Len Kori – to see what’s on his mind. Want to show off your collection? Hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org
This past April you released your first self-designed New Era collaborative cap – the Jailbirds SFC Baseball Club 59FIFTY. As a “New Era fanatic” and Graphic Designer, how did this feel?
This was definitely one of my dreams. This was initially a design I had submitted to one of the Clink Room contests. There were a lot of complications with that specific competition which I won’t get into, but I’m pretty happy I didn’t win. Now, I can do whatever I want with the logo.
Tell us about the Jailbirds 59FIFTY. What was your inspiration and creative process in designing this cap?
Since it was for the Clink Room contest, the theme was “Hometown.” A lot of the initial ideas I had were already iconic to Bay Area teams. Then it hit me, what if Alcatraz had a fictional team? So I looked at some photos online and found a photo of a Seagull sitting along the pier with “The Rock” in the background. It was perfect.
How do you feel the Jailbirds 59FIFTY was received by New Era collectors and enthusiasts?
We got really good feedback from everyone. Even walking around the city, I’d get compliments or questions at least.
You not only design caps, you are also a New Era collector. How many caps do you have in your collection? What are some of your favorites?
I have close to 120? Actually I have no idea. Some of my favorites would be the Huf SF Bricks collection,
Which style of New Era cap do you prefer: fitted or snapback – why?
Fitted. I just think it’s a better look for me. I wore snapbacks when I was in elementary school and I’ll leave it at that.
Sticker on the visor or nah?
Off. I used to leave them on since everyone else did. Then I used to slap them on the bottom of the brim. Now, I just stick em on my desk or wall.
Where do you purchase most of your caps?
Probably Hatclub. They just seem to come out with the best customs for SF hats. Once in a while I’ll stop by Lids or New Era and pick something up.
Are there any dope cap stores in San Francisco that you would recommend to other cap collectors?
-New Era store in Westfield Mall
-True on Haight
-Derby of San Francisco on Haight
-Goodfellas on Haight
-All out Foul on Monterey
Just outside of SF
-Hatclub at Serramonte
-Sportscity at Serramonte
What does the New Era brand mean to you?
I really respect their evolution and innovations of cap technology. I also like the fact that they’ve been a family owned business for many years.
Other than designing your own New Era cap, what other graphic design projects have you worked on?
A lot of just random pieces I do for my portfolio. At one point I wanted to make my own fictional basketball or baseball league. I’d design all the logos, jerseys, hats, fields/courts, etc. I never did get to finish that. I think my most accomplished is the wedding invitations I did for a couple who got married at Candlestick Park. It was awesome to be a part of that.
What are some of your artistic influences and inspirations?
I really just go by what I’m surrounded by. It’s kind of a difficult question since a lot of what surrounds you, you kind of take for granted.
As a San Francisco native – do you feel the Bay Area influences your work?
Most definitely. A lot of my designs are strictly SF or Bay Area-related for the most part. Even the gray crown for the Jailbirds fitted is inspired by the fog that covers the city.
Haha that’s funny you ask. Agentfitted I met on the boards here at Nectalk. I’ve been a member on here for a while as Saru415. When I started using Instagram more for posting New Era caps, that’s when SFGrippy came into the picture. Eventually the three of us went to the opening of the New Era store and met up there.
You are currently studying Graphic Design at California State University East Bay, with plans to graduate in Fall 2014. What are your career plans once you finish your studies?
I kind of just want to get my feet wet in the industry, maybe work at a design firm or just a company who needs a designer.
Do you plan on releasing anymore New Era caps in the future?
Do you have any other projects coming up?
At the moment, no. I have a lot of school projects to work on. I’ll definitely be doing things for summer though.
How can someone get in touch with you if they are looking to purchase one of your caps or work with you on future projects?
On my website www.lenkoridesign.com I have a contact page where someone can email me.
Any final words?
Just that I appreciate the interview and website. This is the only place for new era cap collectors to talk about hats and since I joined a few years ago, it’s always been one of my go to websites on a daily basis. Thanks again!