Behind the Brand - Meet Aaron Justus, Rebelle Graphic Designer

May 30th, 2024

When we decided to build a world-class car rally, we knew we needed a brand to match and a world-class team. Enter Aaron Justus. Aaron is a top-notch creative that Rally Founder Emily Miller has worked with on various client projects for almost 18 years.

Aaron not only has an exceptional aesthetic, his roots are forged in motorsports – racing pavement and open wheel since he was a kid. Competing and winning against some of the world’s best, he began in karting, and continued to move up. Aaron captured the USF2000 National Championship title, provisional pole at the Long Beach Grand Prix, and wins at Road Atlanta, Road America, Watkins Glen, Phoenix Int’l Raceway, Indianapolis Raceway Park, and Lowe’s Motor Speedway. He was a member of top teams including Forsythe Racing, Cape Motorsports, and RuSPORT.

“It has been a great ride working with Aaron. We have a fun brother-sister type relationship and I’ve grown through the process. We always work hard to get to the right result for the project. It started in motorsports and has spanned a lot of industries including cycling, skateboarding, product development & engineering, underwater cinematography, and for the past 10 years, Rebelle. I always trust Aaron to treat the brand as if it were his own,” noted Emily Miller.

Frustrated with the politics and funding of racing, Aaron took his creative skills to work with some of the world’s top teams designing the most stunning team liveries and motorsport graphics. From the distinctive Rebelle color palette and Rebelle blues to the badge logo, Rebelle U, Art of Rebelle, Impact, to our bold and unique designations, Aaron has made sure Rebelle stands apart from the crowd.

We caught up with Aaron for a special interview from behind the Rebelle Brand:

What was the highlight moment(s) of your race career?

World Championship Karting: In 1993, I became one of the first Americans to be factory supported by a premier Italian karting manufacturer (Tony Kart 1993, CRG 1994-1996). From 1993-1996 I raced in France, Italy, Japan, Argentina and the U.S.

USF2000: In 1999, was introduced to IndyCar team owner Gerry Forsythe by my friend and Forsythe driver, Greg Moore. Gerry agreed support me in a partial season that year. Based on my results, Gerry signed me to a 5-year deal which started with the 2000 USF2000 Championship where we won both the National and Oval Crown championships. Winning my first professional titles while driving with the support of a top-tier IndyCar team was an amazing experience.

Long Beach Grand Prix: I attended Long Beach for more than a decade before having the opportunity to participate in the event. In 2003, I drove in the Toyota Atlantic Series for RuSPORT and qualified on the provisional pole with a new track record. My teammate, AJ Allmendinger, was faster in the second round of qualifying but we both started on the front row and finished 1-2.

What client or project (other than Rebelle!) has been your favorite?

I’ve been fortunate to work on so many cool projects. It’s almost impossible to pick a favorite. CORE autosport would have to be the one that stands out. CORE was a small race team in 2010 racing in a lower level sports car series. The owner, Jon Bennett, contacted me to help with the obvious creative services such as livery design, uniform design, hero cards, etc. I worked with CORE for 12 years and watched them become a championship winning team in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s Prototype and GTLM classes, in addition to being selected as Porsche Motorsport’s manufacturer team partner in 2014. Each year, I was involved in evolving the “look”, working with sponsors, and fulfilling all creative needs throughout the season. The people at CORE were amazing and they trusted me with all things creative.

Describe your design aesthetic.

Like many designers, I lean toward a clean, simple aesthetic. However, I think this description is overused and “clean” can be interpreted in different ways. Clean is often considered minimalist, which doesn’t work for very many of my clients. My goal is to create meaningful impact with each design. The impact can be subtle and soothing or vibrant and exciting. In either scenario, the design should be clean in that it offers just enough “design” to achieve the impact without falling short or going too far.

Where, what and/or who gives you design inspiration?

Most of my early design inspiration came from Troy Lee. Troy’s painted motocross helmets in the 80’s were the coolest things I’d ever seen. Having a Troy Lee painted helmet really meant something. The designs were wild, colorful and fun. Troy painted my helmets from 1993-2003 and we’ve stayed in touch ever since. I even joined Troy Lee Designs as a graphic designer from 2012-2014 and worked with him on everything from Team Honda transporter designs to t-shirts and hats.

Funny story…In 1993, I picked up my first Troy Lee painted helmet from his shop in Corona, CA on my way to LAX. I was headed to France for the Karting World Championships. The helmet was still wet when I picked it up so I couldn’t put it in a helmet bag. Therefore, I had to carry the helmet onto the plane with me. I didn’t realize how strong the fumes would be until it was too late. I think everybody was feeling a buzz all the way to Paris! If you know Troy, this story makes total sense!

Troy Lee Designs helmets. Aaron Justus' helmet in purple and red in the top right corner. Image Credit - Troy Lee Designs.
What logo or piece of design has been your favorite within the Rebelle brands and artwork?

In 2022, we designed a Rebelle brochure that really seemed to capture what the Rebelle is. I felt like it brought together the incredible photography, words, textures, emotion, etc. The final piece was just beautiful to look at. It’s one of those projects where I just had to put it all together without messing it up.

Advice for young women as they build their brand in motorsport?

When I was racing karts in the mid 80s, my sister also raced for a couple of years. She did a great job and was faster than many of the guys, but she really wasn’t taken seriously. In the 90s, my dad was one of Danica Patrick’s karting sponsors. I watched Danica turn into a serious racer over the years and even had to battle with her in the Atlantic Series in 2003 when she was driving for Rahal. She proved that she deserved a spot in motorsports because of her performance on and off track. I see so many young female drivers now which is really exciting.

“If it were my daughter, I would be clear that she has to perform on the track like anybody else. But, I would also want her to work just as hard to develop relationships, follow up with people, make the phone calls, and align with people and brands that motivate her or mean something to her. Most of all, embrace what makes her unique in the paddock and own it!

The Rebelle Rally is successful because it has meaning. The Rebelle stands for something. The Rebelle is deliberate in who it supports or partners with. The Rebelle cares. As a result, it attracts meaningful people. I would want my daughter to approach her career this way.”

Aaron Justus
Creative Director & Designer

Danica Patrick chasing Aaron Justus at Milwaukee Mile.