BUCKETS is the result of 3+ years of documenting Portland’s most unique neighborhood basketball hoops resulting in a brand and coffee table book.


Book Design
Packaging Design
Design & Art Direction: Phillip Nguyen

Photography & Videography: Grant Lemons

Beginning in 2017, I was approached by my co-worker/friend, Grant Lemons with the idea of creating a coffee table book that documents our city’s basketball hoops.

At the time, Grant and I were already photographing hoops on our own, and the project probably couldn’t have happened in a more organic way. Combining our love of basketball with our skills in design/photography — we had a goal to create an ode to our city of Portland that offers others a unique view of our hometown through its neighborhood hoops.

A view into some of the process leading up to the creation of BUCKETS.

Zigzagging through countless neighborhoods for 3+ years, we documented over 350 basketball hoops in Portland. Some were found organically through random walks, runs, drives, and even from our friends leading us to them with their awareness of the project.

A few of the hoops we held off on capturing until it was the right season to do so as well (ex: hoops surrounded by good amounts of foliage/trees we waited on because we knew it might look better in the Spring or Fall).
Looking at all the photos we collected, patterns and pairings started emerging that influenced the overall organization of the book.

Through all of this, we ended up with four sections:

Place: Hoops defined by their unique placements, environments, or local nods to the city.

Color: Hoops that pop through the colors of their  details, homes, or natural surroundings.

Shape: Hoops characterized by distinct or common shapes.

Texture: Hoops with a story you can feel by their age, material, or backboard prints.

A few spreads from the Shape and Texture sections.

As we were gearing up for launch during the holidays, I wanted the packaging of it to not only act as an attractive gift box, but also as a celebration for the completion of the project that we had the opportunity to share with all our friends and followers who were anticipating the release.

Taking inspiration from the tradition of college basketball teams cutting down the net after a winning a national championship, I wanted to bring that same act of celebration into the unboxing of our book.
The box included a sticker wrap with a net graphic that the recipient would cut through in order to open the box.

Through this included a social media push with the hashtag #CUTTHENET, where buyers of the book reposted their unboxings by cutting the net on their individual packages.

The packaging of the book.

Dating back to the 1920s, cutting nets is a tradition in basketball to celebrate a major win. Shown above were a few Instagram Stories we shared with our audience.

A few videos showing the cutting of the net and opening of the box in action.

Today, Grant and I are still continuing our journey documenting hoops around our hometown of Portland. Through the years, we’ve found these snapshots in time become more meaningful, as some of the hoops we return to are either broken or don’t exist anymore.

Learn more about BUCKETS at bucketsbook.co or on Instagram at @buckets.book.

digital w/e designer
portland, oregon