Featured Artist: Matt Dunlop’s Race Tracks and the Importance of Sharing Your Work
"Know what your audience wants to see and know how to reach them efficiently. I think the main reason it was so successful was because I tailored it directly for the people who showed interest, and Reddit ended up being an excellent springboard"
Recently, designer Matt Dunlop created a to-scale poster of every single race track from around the world, uploaded it to Redbubble, and shared it on Reddit. Much to his amazement, his poster has become VERY successful (both financially and in regards to exposure), striking the fancy of thousands of Australian motorheads. His work has since been featured around the web, he’s sold hundreds of posters, and he’s been commissioned to design more.
We had a quick chat to him about how the story of his viral poster unfolded, and what advice he’d give to other Redbubble artists on sharing your work on social media.
Can you tell us the crazy cool story of your design “Race Tracks to Scale”? How did it come about and what happened?
Originally, “Race Tracks to Scale” was just something I wanted to make out of personal interest. I never intended to make money from it and I’d never had any professional graphic design experience. I’d seen a similar design on Reddit that only focused on Formula 1 venues, and I wondered what it would look like with tracks from all over the world. I started making my own version using GIMP, which I had a few years of experience with. I posted a couple of drafts on some of the motorsport subreddits to get feedback, which I received a lot of – I had a lot of recommendations for tracks to include and ways to make it look nicer.
It generated a bit of interest, and a few people said they were keen on buying the piece as a poster, so once I’d finished the first full version I uploaded it to Redbubble and posted links in a couple of subreddits. I was pretty happy with making around 20 sales in the first day. Not long after that it was picked up by a few motorsport news outlets, and all of a sudden it had gone viral in online motorsport circles. It popped up on my personal Facebook feed a number of times when it was shared by magazines and blogs I follow, and I think I ended up having over a hundred sales in the space of 48 hours!
What advice would you give to other RB artists on sharing their work? How did you know to share your design on Reddit?
Know what your audience wants to see and know how to reach them efficiently. I think the main reason it was so successful was because I tailored it directly for the people who showed interest, and Reddit ended up being an excellent springboard because a lot of those news outlets browse Reddit to find content for their Facebook feeds.
What other social media or sharing do you use to share the stuff you create?
This was the first time I’d attempted to make money from graphic design, so all of my creative ventures before this were just little things I’d make and post on Facebook for my friends to see. I also make short YouTube videos every once in a while just for fun, but I don’t actively promote them so they don’t get anywhere near as much publicity (although I did get a few thousand views from videos that were posted to Reddit).
What has the response from the greater World Wide Web and the RB community been like? Receptive? Fun? Bizarre?
It’s been pretty surreal! I never anticipated the response so I’m really happy with everything I’ve gotten from it so far. I’ve been commissioned to make a similar piece for an American magazine and I’ve even had a TV network in the UK show the design during a couple of their programs, which has completely blown me away. All in all it’s been really fun.
And can you please tell us about you, and your interest in racing tracks in Australia? Has this been a long-time interest of yours?
I’ve loved motorsport for as long as I can remember and I’ve always dreamed of being a racing driver. As a kid I would always draw cars in class/my spare time, and I’ve always had a thing for visual information and design, so I guess that’s where my interest in race track designs comes from.
Thanks to Matt for taking the time to chat with us, you can check out more of his designs at his shop over here.