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Draplin Design Co., North America


We did it, Mankato, we did it! I’m so proud to have been able to come and yap in front you guys like I did. In fact, I wouldn’t shut up. In front of class, at lunch, in the auditorium, in Harlan’s car…I was locked in one of my nastiest “spinnings of a yarn” to date, the whole time down there. And man, had a great time! The whole time.

Here’s what happened today. This morning I sat at the front of a class filled with Mankato State’s finest students, where they just about eyeballed me to death, while I told stories of “what it’s like to work for a big deal, and have yer heart broken” and “what it’s like to work for a little deal, and fall in love.” It’s funny how the big turds usually hurt the most, and the little turds win you over for the long haul. There’s a theme there among all that shit. Sorry for the language.

Then in the afternoon, we had an impromptu design challenge I dreamed up called, “Make A Logo In Two Hours” where I quickly interviewed each kid, got a quick idea of what they were into, and whether or not I thought they were “a little weird looking” would throw them in a random direction or at some fictional company we made up on the spot. All in the name of “randomness.” Cuz hell, that’s how it goes out here on the outside.

So each pupil had their logo request, and we got down to work.

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1:15-1:30 RESEARCH! Looking at existing logos in the respective genre, company history, aspirational cues, etc. Discussing exactly what the client wants the logo to achieve.

1:30-2:15 SKETCHING OF IDEAS. Getting dirty in yer Field Notes, letting yer mind guide yer hand. Freedom from computer. Just pencil lead and good ideas, and trying shit you might’ve never tried locked inside some blank illustrator page.

2:15-3:00 FIRST EXECUTIONS IN ADOBE ILLUSTRATOR. Bringing those sketches to life!

3:00-3:15 FFE. That stands for “Final Fuckin’ Execution!” Making the mark ready to hand off to the client. Done!

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It was super fun, and just to make it interesting, I had them go after my throat and challenge me with a logo. Harlan yelled out “Glamorama Hair Salon” and that was that, I was off.

Now, the big idea here is that with some proper steps, ANYONE can make a logo, and, make a successful solution with the proper research, inspiration, investigation, dreaming, doodling, sketching, tinkering and then, final execution. The idea of blasting it out that fast was a chance to free the mind up some, and let gut instinct and good decision-making guide you along.

So just know this, design world: I saw better stuff come out of Mankato State in those hot, fast two hours than I see come out of reputable shops. Or, yer stock just went down! You pick. Go get ‘em, Mankato!

Here’s a look at half of the logos made. There were other awesome ones too, but those are buried on my GF1 at this point. Know this though: This is what these kids did in two hours. So imagine if they had 10 hours, or two weeks, or a month? It’s all about good process, and keeping it fun. And folks, that’s how I fight to make a living.

Here’s what I whipped up, in between looking over students’ shoulders.

Thank you to Harlan, Matt and David for bringing me down there, believing in me, the hospitality, the opportunity to tell my story to everyone down there. Much appreciated. We’ll meet again!

That means you, Travis! You got that look! The kind of eyes that can stare the paint off a wall. Lethal. Keep up the good fight and I look forward to seeing yer name in lights some day, man! That Jonah Hill illustration you did was awesome. Keep it up.

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After my talk was done Tuesday night, the DDC merch was hocked and hands were shook, I hopped in my Ford Edge rental rig (which I loved) and shot up to Minneapolis, seeing double and triple. I found some flea-bit Comfort Inn or something just off the 494 and called it a night. Watched some miners come out of the earth, with big tears spilling down my cheeks. I sure was happy for those guys. A nice way to fall asleep.

There Are 5 Comments

HELL YEAH! This was a fun time, and when the “FFE” was all said and done, it was pretty cool to see what we came up with. Thanks Draplin

Posted by: Joe Thomas on 10/14/10 at 3:57 PM

Aaron, Thanks for an action packed 2 days of inspiration!

Posted by: matt willemsen on 10/15/10 at 6:55 AM

Thank you so much for coming to MSU! Maybe it can become a yearly tradition? It was so refreshing to hear about big turds vs little turds. You were very inspirational and the GD labs are still abuzz talking about your visit. Thanks Aaron!

Posted by: Holly Theobald on 10/15/10 at 9:36 AM

It was awesome having you visit us at MSU Draplin! The experience was super cool and the knowledge you shared with us was even better. Thanks. Next stop Okoboji, MN!

Posted by: Sola Duroshola on 10/18/10 at 6:01 PM

You get your shit straight to the point, I like it and enjoyed having you at MSU.

Posted by: Danny Bounkeovisane on 10/22/10 at 5:36 PM
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