Featured Speaker Interview: Aaron Draplin

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Featured Speaker Interview: Aaron Draplin

Aaron Draplin is a big name in the graphic design world with an even bigger personality.  He has designed logos for the likes of Nike, Wired, Target, Ford, and the Obama Administration; and co-founded Field Notes brand notebooks.  After an extensive tour with FITC Toronto 2012, & 2013, and FITC Amsterdam 2016 we're ecstatic to see him return to FITC Toronto for 2017!

You’ve just finished an epic road trip across the country to promote your new book Pretty Much Everything. Tell us a few of your favourite moments from the trip.

A photo posted by Aaron James Draplin (@draplin) on

Some golden memories that come to mind...

  • The sun setting over West Texas, and we raced for El Paso. Beautiful.
  • Almost losing my wallet in Colorado. I was cleaning the windows and the thing felt out of my sweatshirt pouch. Leigh found it in the gas station parking lot. Phew.
  • The book line at AdobeMAX in San Diego! Fours hours straight of selling and signing books! 300 books! Woooooosh! Thank you, AdobeMAX peoples!

Going from 65 degrees to a bone-chilling 15 in one drive. From Chattanooga up into Ohio, and how that cold Toledo morning worked me over. I’m a lightweight!

  • Screen printing gigantic Field Notes with my buddies from Industry Print in Texas. That was an awesome night!
  • Seeing J Mascis play in Detroit at Third Man Records, and hanging out backstage with our buddy O.

What’s next for the orange van?


Our spring tour, of course! The van is in Detroit, holed up at an undisclosed location, waiting for its next big romp. We’ll start booking dates in January for March and April’s tour! We just finished up the fall tour at the start of December. 34 shows in seven weeks, over 12,000 miles!

What comes after Pretty Much Everything for the Draplin team?

Taking a little break. I’m going to focus on wrangling my ever-expanding merch roster into something a bit more manageable mess, and, a new website to sell it all on. Basically, more of the same, just a whiff more organized. And some hard-earned rest and relaxation. Outside of the new site, I’m not doing shit for the next couple months.

You spend a lot of time documenting the past when it comes to design, but let’s talk more about the future. What ‘anything is possible’ technology would you want access to and why?

A photo posted by Aaron James Draplin (@draplin) on


I’d bring my dad back. I don’t know what kind of contraption that would be. I sure do miss him.

If anything, technology is kind of freaking me out. I just want to simplify things around me. Less emails, less files, less screen time, less fret. Is their a device for that? I think it might just be an “off” button somewhere on the side of my head. I’ll let you guys know when I find it.

The theme for FITC Toronto in 2017 is Step into the Light - can you tell us what this means to you?

Things are dark right now. With that fuckin’ Trump turd taking the reigns, I’m feeling a bit hopeless.

So for me, on some survival level, “stepping into the light” is about transparency, and free-flowing energy, and positivity, and progression.

My hope is for an enlightened world that promotes a global interconnectivity. We’re all the same. Same blood, guts, hopes, fears and questions. All on the same wavelength. The light I’m seeing now will be waking up the other side of the world in a couple hours. We share that. Things are dark now, and I’ll take all the light I can get.


Grab a book, or check out the rest of the Draplin merch at

FITC Toronto // The Future of Innovation, Technology & Creativity
Hilton Toronto • April 23-25

Or on his website draplin.com