Design Firepower: Mikey Burton


Man, do we love good designers. Their work lures you in by the eyes and then, when you’re not expecting it, hits you straight in the chest, tugging at your heart. They’re emotional magicians. That’s the true power of good design. We place immense value on design at Detonator, so it’s only appropriate that we give massive fanfare to all of our design collaborators.

Let’s start today with the man behind the brand - Mikey Burton. It’s hard not to love a guy that characterizes his interests in this way, “Beers, bears, beards.” Obviously there’s more to him then just “The Triple B,” but you have to admit that it rolls off the tongue nicely. Something you could also say about Mikey’s approach to design. Okay, maybe that description’s a little abstract. Suffice it to say, Mikey has a keen ability to deliver an essential solution to a complex design problem. How about we take a glimpse at the development of our brand identity to see how Mikey led us to Detonator’s dashing design, i.e. “The Triple D.”

Clearly we didn’t choose a name that’s warm and fuzzy. Instead, we made a deliberate choice to head to the other end of the emotional spectrum to present our brand. It was important to us to show that a business can be feisty and even humorous, while still caring deeply about generating social good. Mikey totally got that.

We explored some of the more obvious devices for our visual identity right away. A stylized explosive plunger box emblazoned with a D, a “hand on the button” design, and a stenciled logotype that could have been found on the side of a box of dynamite.


It wasn’t until we saw this subtle play on the caution tape aesthetic that it all came together for us.


The repeating pattern felt effortless, almost undesigned. Like it’d been right under our noses the whole time. Clean, minimal, essential. Oh, the wonders of Mikey Burton!

The pattern evolved to give the forward slash a greater role in the design. To go even further in-depth, we thought of the forward slashes as a representation of our push to change the priorities of business and inspire individuals to lead a more well-considered life. Pretty deep, right? They seemed to be the perfect device to illustrate the philosophy - Forward ever, backward never.


Now that the pattern was complete, Mikey set out to find a way to make our collective wish for Detonator tape come true. As you can see, we’re living the dream. The tape has so many possibilities for how it can be used and what it can be applied to. It can have an industrial feel. It can act like a hastily placed marker where something big just went down. When layered with other materials, like our beautiful letterpress business cards, it’s hard not to stare and admire the mix.

Mikey Burton has worked with high profile publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Wired and GOOD magazines. You’ll also find his work attached to bands like Wilco and Spoon and entertainment giants like Comedy Central and the Sundance Channel. It goes without saying that we’re honored to have the opportunity to work with Mikey. The guy is an uber-talent. And we’re excited to say that his work on our identity is just the beginning of a long relationship with Detonator. You can expect to see t-shirt designs from Mikey coming to our store in the near future. Please try to contain your excitement, it’s only a matter of months.

We think it’s best to end this entry with a visual blowout! Here’s a small dose of Mikey’s work. To see more, head over to his portfolio site at Or for an up-to-the-minute glimpse into what Mikey’s working on, check out his page on Dribbble. Enjoy. And remember, good design makes all the difference.