The Accidental Designer07 June 2012
jdicus

So this is my inaugural post as a new design intern at Brooklyn United. I’ve been with the company for a few weeks now and so far it has been an amazing experience. The design world is still fairly new to me. I sort of fell into it, but now I’m not sure I could ever live without it.

Before moving to NYC, I was living in Nashville, TN, working in the music industry. I’ve always enjoyed art and design, but it was never part of my skillset. My life mostly consisted of helping independent artists get off the ground, through artist development and promotion. I co-founded a music initiative called Music City Unsigned and over the last five years helped to strengthen and leverage the emerging artist community in Nashville. However, like most people that work in music in Nashville, I had a day job. During the week I worked for two radio stations, managing their websites and growing their online marketing revenue. They gave me a lot of freedom to pursue things I actually enjoyed and I’m still very grateful.

As I dived deeper into supporting the indie music community, I began to incorporate design into the ways I could make a difference. It started out as poster design, then led to shirts, then album packaging, and then, before I knew it, design was as much a part of my life and my identity as was music. I realized that I had been given a great opportunity, so I decided to see how much farther I could take it. And now I’m in NYC, pursuing a Masters in Communications Design at Pratt Institute and loving every minute of it. It’s been a wild ride so far, and I really miss Nashville, but I know I made the right decision. When I was in Nashville, design was probably about 20% of my life. Now that I’m in NYC, it is 100%. I know I still have plenty to prove as a designer, but there’s nothing more liberating and exciting than having a single-minded focus. Although music is still very much part of my life, I am letting design take the wheel for a while. And I’m loving every moment of it.

So, I’ll end this post with a showcase of some of my favorite designers out of Nashville. These guys have greatly influenced me (and still do) as I learn the ropes in design. My introduction into design began with illustration. I remember consuming notebooks in school with doodles, so I’m not surprised that this particular area of design is where I gravitate most. I also have a love affair with concert posters, but I’ll go into greater detail about that another time.

Matt Lehman

Matt Lehman has been my design mentor over the last couple years and greatly shaped my perspective on design. His use of simple shapes, color, and a playful tone is what I’ve always loved about his work. The way he can find connections to different elements amazes me. Plus, no one can draw a hand better than Matt!


A. Micah Smith

Micah Smith is someone I’ve been a fan with for a while, but only got to know recently. His flat, minimal style of illustration blows me

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away. How’s he’s able to pack in so much meaning into simple forms is something I continually seek after.

…And how could I forget…

Hatch Show Print

Though it’s not quite illustration, it is hard to deny how profound an impact the legendary Hatch Show Print has had on my development as a designer. I can hardly put it to words. Over the last 100+ years, they have become so ingrained into the musical landscape of Nashville. Their letterpress work is unmistakable and iconic. Whether it’s their use of typography, layout, or color, it’s hard to look at any poster they’ve done and not be inspired. They even did a poster for my music initiative Music City Unsigned! Everything time I go to see a show at the Ryman Auditorium, I make sure to buy a Hatch Show poster. I own so many, but definitely not enough.