Friend of the people: An Interview with Samborghini
Sam Bledsoe. Better known as Samborghini is a graphic designer based in LA, originally from right here in Seattle. Sam has a very unique approach to design. Combining his own custom fonts and classic illustration style, he's acquired some major clients in the music biz. Sam has worked with everyone from Billie Eilish, and Katy Perry to CZARFACE, Migos, and Macklemore. In addition to these clients, Sam owns his own line Samborghini, which is stocked in retailers all over the country.
Where does the name come from?
The name comes from a mixture of things. My real name is Sam. But also, I used to write graffiti and my word kinda sounded like Samborghini. I can’t say what it was cuz I don’t wanna snitch on myself. But when it came time to start my own brand, I just ran with my old graft word and added some letters. It worked well because it sounds Italian and my first designs were kinda bootleg Gucci looking and it was perfect. Now it’s just kinda silly and fun but I still like the name.
Favorite go to font, and why?
Helvetica will always be my first love. I like it so much because it has been used so much during my favorite design eras, the 80’s and 90’s. It is a beautiful font, but was used so much on tacky things like truck stop shirts, to bubble gum machines to bodega store signage. It just nails in that vintage tacky vibe when used correctly and I just friggin’ love it.
Where do you pull your main inspiration from?
I pull my inspiration from what I mentioned earlier. Stuff from the 80’s and 90’s. Old pin ball machines, vending machines, any kind of old signage that had imagery like old eagles and stuff. I pull from a lot of the same places that tattooers pull from. They kinda nailed in what is considered “cool” like old Jesus heads and stuff and I just kept the evolution going from the stuff they also pull from if that makes sense.
Nike, Arvin Goods… What’s next? Who’s on your wish list of brands to collab with?
Ummmmm, I wanna do more skateboard graphics. I did a few for Creature skateboards. A snowboard would be amazing because it is such a big canvas. I actually have one coming out with Arbor Snowboards. And then something really random like the Puyallup fair or something. Like if they reached out and wanted a Samborghini style graphic tee that I could just do what ever I wanted with. Actually it’s called the Washington State fair now lol.
What started the KernClub?
I have always drawn letters. Even before I drew any sort of imagery. It came from writing graffiti when I was younger. My partner at the time was like you are so good at letters, why not make them into fonts?! I reached out to a fellow designer who I saw made his first font and said lets start a font foundry. I had the name in my head and everything.
Will you call Seattle home again?
I hope so honestly. If not Seattle, then somewhere in Washington. This is the most beautiful place I’ve ever been and I’ve been everywhere man!
Who are you favorite designers/illustrators right now?
I like so many but right now I like my boy Cheatin’ Snakes. He’s every illustrators favorite right now, because he has so much original style and these days, that is important! I also like Tallboy, Bosssdog, and a bunch of tattooers, too many to name. I just like people that really put in hours and hours to nail in their own style and just get hella good at what they do ya know??