Facebook Half-Marathon: Tim Belonax

Curator: MacFadden & Thorpe
date: November 8, 2012
Categories: Advertising, Brand & Identity Design, Motion Graphics
Facebook Half-Marathon logo on T-shirt

At MacFadden and Thorpe, we’re strong advocates of the connection between physical fitness and graphic design excellence. That mouse isn’t going to lift itself. One of the healthiest designers we know is Tim Belonax, so it made perfect sense that he designed these graphics for a half-marathon sponsored by Facebook.

We met Tim when we were at Chronicle Books and he was a Design Fellow. Tim was a fresh graduate from RISD, and went on to work at MINE before heading to graduate school at CalArts. A year ago, Facebook gave him the thumbs up, and he recently posted this suite of projects completed there so far.

It’s hard not to feel some envy for the sweet deal Tim’s got. Used to be if you went in-house at a large company, you were essentially trading creative fulfillment for a stable income. Now as young tech companies are stocked with people who grew up with the understanding that design is a critical part of a product, there’s greater odds of a win-win. If, like at Facebook, the company champions design in the service of morale, there is also an appreciation of the artistry, or even just fun, that design brings to an organization.

The Analog Research Lab, which Tim is a part of, has gotten a lot of press, but there are many other instances where smart graphics are enlivening the corporate culture. We were taken with these half-marathon materials in part because we like a good run ourselves, but mostly because the design is such a pleasant surprise. If you’re snooty designers like us and have spent time participating in organized runs, bike rides and the like, you know how often you’re the recipient of a simply unacceptable T-shirt or tote bag that you end up passing along—unused—to Goodwill. 

But here’s a shirt you’d be proud to own. It tows the corporate line with its color use but deviates graphically, so you aren’t stuck wearing an ad. You have a sharp “M” made out of a collage of arrows, overprinting a handsome stacked fraction. It’s just a good-looking typographic shirt. What more could you want?

The trophy really brings it home, though. The race’s victor received a fantastic bespoke solid pewter extruded M, just for trotting around a bit. Putting aside the fact that this is clear evidence that Facebook has way too much dough, it shows a commitment to making the most of every design opportunity, and it’s certainly an incentive to push a little harder on your way to the finish line.

Thanks to the power of graphic design, the half-marathon raised $4,000 for Eastside College Preparatory School.

Handsomely-attired runners setting out on the run from Facebook’s old office in Palo Alto to their current campus in Menlo Park.

The victor received this 13.5-inch solid pewter award.

The award was designed so that it can sit in several different orientations.

Side view of the award, with a shiny new quarter for scale.

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