Layer 9 from the Noper/Reyes Match.

Layer Tennis How It All Went Down

Backstage With Mig Reyes

by Steve Delahoyde

It's buried deep inside the nature of all good things that require them to come to an end, and so has Season Three of Layer Tennis. And like the best of all good things, they go out with a bang. After having spent the previous two Fridays battling it out against Tennis veterans and major designers alike, only Chicago's Mig Reyes and Bucharest's Noper remained for one historic final match. Both had gotten their Layer Tennis starts in our Qualifying Matches (Mig last season and Noper this year), and now there they were, at the very end of the bracket. Though a very close finish, Mig was ultimately crowned the winner. In between the pop of champagne corks, we sat down to chat with him about the season and the final match itself.

So after four hard-fought matches, you've arrived on top as this season's winner. How does it feel?

I played and won Layer Tennis and all I got was stress, eye strain, sweaty hands and a couple of new Twitter followers. I feel like I'm king of the world, just like DiCaprio.

Are your co-workers at Threadless treating you any differently, now that you can add "Champ" to your resume?

No, everyone just wants me to get back to work. They're the best. I do thank them, however, for the layer-by-layer shoulder rubs they gave me during each match I played.

How do you think the final match went?

It was like Life Magazine, Men's Health and Nickelodeon had a threesome. That good.

Was it more pressure playing in the final, or after two consecutive playoff matches were you feeling more confident?

This season, I played against Jessica Hische, Armin Vit, Mark Weaver and finally, Noper. With names like that, I shat (shitted?) bricks before each match. Armin Vit had mentioned in an interview we did together that he gets a little more comfortable each time around. Not me. No way. Not now. Not ever.

Throughout the playoffs, Noper seemed so successful because he was able to force his opponents to work within his structure, since his illustrations are so unique and detailed. In your meet up against him, it felt like you were able to go mano-a-mano and turn the tables a bit, getting him out of his own comfort zone and into trying new things. Did you study his previous matches or develop a plan of attack?

Noper's style and illustrations are downright wicked. I was a bit apprehensive in playing him during this match; I don't draw. So, like football, I studied the tapes. I looked at all of his previous matches and took a gander through his (incredible) portfolio. I knew his work was more illustrative than typographic, so that's how I was going to "get to the quarterback," if you will. My game plan was indeed using fine type, as you can see with my serve.

Was there any particularly volley of your own that you'd played and known that that was the point where you were winning, or did you think it could go either way up until the end?

I felt like I slipped a bit on Layer 3; his vivid illustration from Layer 2 threw me off. I thought he was going to play more into my game and use my design elements (I named all of my serve's layers quite nicely. Hell, I even used Smart Objects). I saw what he did there. In Layer 9, all I could do was wrap things up with my final blow. In any match I play, I'm always a fan of tying it all together re-using elements from previous Layers. I didn't know one way or another if I'd have an advantage, I just wanted to bring it all together as Zeldman mentioned in the commentary.

Favorite volleys, yours and Noper's?

My favorite volley that Noper dished back was 10. I love the colors, and it was happy without being cheesy. For my serve and volleys, I was very inspired by GQ and wanted to keep that gentleman theme going. Around Layers 5-7, Noper and I started to get a bit racy. It was like we were trying to inspire our audience to get into the BoneZone with a special someone later that evening. Can I say BoneZone on here? Anyway, my favorite volleys that I did were 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9.

Did you go out and celebrate the big win after? Remember any of it, or anything you're legally allowed to share?

Yeah bro. I did like Jäger bombs and stuff. Jäga bawms. Jäga bawms. That Jim Coudal guy was wearing a nice sweater and dress shirt, and got me drunk at this one holiday party that night. It then dawned on me that Mr. Coudal had a nice sweater and dress shirt because he shops at J.Crew. So do I. So, that's an important detail to answering this question. Jäger bombs and J.Crew.

Thanks again for playing and congrats again on becoming our newest Layer Tennis champion.

Does this mean me and Shaun Inman are like BFFs now or what?

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The Layer Tennis Blog

Congratulations to Mig Reyes, Layer Tennis Season 3 Champion. jc-12.20

Thanks to all the players, commentators and fans who made Season Three of Layer Tennis a big success. And thanks to the crew at Goodby Silverstein & Partners and all the folks at Adobe Creative Suite for making it possible. Watch this space (or sign up for Season Tickets or follow us on Twitter) for news about some special exhibition matches being planned and about Season 4. jc-12.20

Cast your votes on The Championship Match. Both Finalists will receive invitations to play in the post-season tournament for Season Four. jc-12.17

Here's how the voting works. Decide who you'd like to declare as winner and then simply tweet their first name following a hash mark. Either #mig or #noper and, this is important, also include #lyt in that tweet. We'll leave the voting open all weekend and announce our Season Three Champion on Monday. jc-12.12

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