Q&A Session With Baron’s Technical Art Director Will Bigelow

by Last updated Feb 29, 2024Baron Rings

“I do believe there’s a sense of pride or duty of sorts with what I do that comes with working both in creative and also doing this for Champions.”

October 17, 2022 Big, bold, unique Championship Rings seem to garner most of the attention these days so we executed a quick Q & A with our Technical Art Director Will Bigelow about his tenure during the evolution.

What’s the most memorable moment of your Championship Ring design tenure?

I would say probably aside from being hired at Baron, the Cleveland Cavaliers design (2016 Cleveland Cavaliers NBA Championship Ring) and the experience was really special. Our first big pro account, a lot of learning, a lot of volumes, and a ton of pressure!

The LII representing a 52-year drought in Cleveland sitting below a bridge on the ring was one of those ideas I see being difficult to top! It was eye-opening, to say the least!

I have some love for the Toronto Raptors (2019 Toronto Raptors NBA Championship Ring featuring the Larry O’Brien Championship trophy, Toronto skyline, Scotiabank Arena), multiple Team Canada teams, Halo World Championship, and Toronto Marlies too but you asked for my number one only!

Our jump into 3D printing was huge as well, it really unlocked the future of the company and gave me bigger wings to fly with!

Baron® Championship Rings Presents NBA Team Championship Rings and American Hockey League featured in Q&A Session With Baron’s Technical Art Director Will Bigelow:
1. Toronto Raptors | F I R S T | 2019 NBA Championship Ring -Celebrating the first ever Championship in Toronto Raptors history, this piece shares the stories of the many firsts we experience in life, in basketball, and as Raptors fans. Our firsts will never be forgotten. Video By: AXLE Films Inc. Watch on YouTube
2. Making the 2018 Calder Cup Championship Rings – Toronto Marlies -A closer look at the process, detail, and hard work involved in creating the 2018 Calder Cup Championship Rings for the Toronto Marlies from Baron Rings. Watch on YouTube
3. Making of the 2016 NBA Champs Cleveland Cavaliers Championship Ring -A closer look at the process, detail, and hard work involved in creating the 2016 NBA Championship Ring for the Cleveland Cavaliers from ring manufacturer Baron Rings. Watch on YouTube

What would you say if someone asked you today what Rings will look like in 25 years?

I imagine at some point there will be two kinds of clients here. One will be traditional, single finger, lower bling level but still clean. The other group will be just astounding sizes, levels of detail, and cool factors.

We very well could end up with this second group being Champions that want to wear MORE than just a ring. A full gauntlet even? It won’t be Championship Rings but Championship “gear” you can showcase.

If you don’t believe me, I’d suggest looking up what Championship Rings have looked like in the last 50 years or so.  (Past NBA Championship Rings) You can kind of start to project where it’s about to go!

The real crazy part is, if a client wants these art pieces, they can have them right now. It is possible, the only obstacle is really money and people realizing they can ask for these ideas. I’m only one person on this team too, I can’t imagine all the cool things our other artists will come up with!

When you’ve designed as many Rings as you’ve had, how do you come up with something new?

It’s really thinking about how to push things further. How to go bigger? How to make it cooler? How to make it better? Sometimes I pause and ask the question again after I just asked it, to really push what can be small steps into bigger leaps.

I have a bit of an allergy towards standardization, I really avoid a copy and paste model whenever possible. Constantly following this path I think helps me come up with that ultra exotic piece when called upon.

Themes really help bring rings to some new places we haven’t gone before too. Some themes are easier than others but most have at least something you can do to either make it feel more relevant to the sport, or the team’s mascot.

A good example of how I think is how you would use a sword graphic on a ring. You can put the sword on the side of a ring. Now you can dial it up and have the sword break through the side of the ring.

You can crank it up more and make the sword bigger than the ring and the ring can actually hold it like a shield perhaps. Now you can cover the sword in diamonds maybe and have it be different colours.

What if the sword was removable and allowed a piece to be removable when it wasn’t there? It’s always humorous when the feedback can potentially be that the client didn’t want a sword at all!

Baron® Championship Rings Presents featured in Q&A Session With Baron’s Technical Art Director Will Bigelow:  Making the 2017 MLS Cup Championship Ring for Toronto FC – A closer look at the process, detail, and hard work involved in creating the 2017 MLS Cup Championship Ring for Toronto FC from ring manufacturer Baron Rings. Watch on YouTube

Is there anything you’ve kept with you or keep with you every day to kind of remind you from when you started with Baron? Sample Ring, first sketch, etc.

For my first ever income from a design project, I kept a $20.00 bill. It was my sole project before I worked at Baron and without it maybe I’m not here today.

I did say something during my interview along the lines of if I wasn’t the best one for the job, I didn’t want to be hired. Every day I work, I try to still be the best one for the job. Even right down to the little things.

So to answer the question I do write a small quote down from time to time, sometimes it relates to long ago, and other times it’s more at the moment. Something as simple as “keep doing what I do well” or “be the best for the job” keeps me on track.

I do have a folder of the designs I did when I was training that I revisit. A reminder of where I came from and how far I’ve come!

What are some things you are passionate about and how might they translate to your work at Baron?

My passions today start to tie in with my new daughter. I want her to grow up in a world without limits, I want her to know that she can do anything.

I do believe there’s a sense of pride or duty of sorts with what I do that comes with working both in creative and also doing this for Champions. You are making artwork for winners every single day, be it professional, amateur, fantasy leagues, police, fire, EMS, etc.

A lot of those moments and reasons to get a ring are huge to people, life-defining sometimes even. Doing your best for them is important to them. As an artist, you don’t always get a chance to see how much that means to them but I think it’s important to remember that.

To tie it all together, I want my daughter to see that jobs aren’t just jobs, that they do matter to others and it’s important to do your best or just make a difference when you have the power to do so.

Baron® Championship Rings Presents Esports Custom Ring:  Making the 2018 NBA2K League Championship Rings – Knicks Gaming – A closer look at the process, detail, and hard work involved in creating the 2018 NBA2K League Championship Rings for Knicks Gaming from Baron Rings and Uptown Diamond. Watch on YouTube

Custom Championship Rings

Thank you to our Technical Art Director Will Bigelow for participating in our Q&A.

If you would like to order a custom Championship Ring designed by one of our Championship Ring experts, submit your request on our Get Started page.

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