Aaron James Draplin needs little introduction. He’s a fun loving prolific designer whose work is heavily influenced by what can be found in the forgotten nooks and crannies of America. He brings a love of all things vintage to every project he tackles, and he can churn out a logo equipped to stand the test of time in as little as 15 minutes.
We can’t wait for Aaron to bring his energy to the stage of Collide Halifax, and hear Tall Tales from a Large Man, so we caught with him in the hopes we’d get to know him a bit better than we already do.
What does an average work day look like for you?
I race down to the shop each morning, getting going around 10am. First, I’ll dig through all the emails, weeding out the junk from the bullshit that “is just checking in” to see if I got the other eight emails they sent. Argh. Once I feel like I’ve address that monsters a bit, I’ll dig into whatever I’m working on. Could be a logo, Field Notes, a record or something for the hell of it. And then, taking breaks to clean up the shop, put away merch, sort the recycling, take a leak, etc. I try to move once an hour, as we know how being a lump in a seat all day can get a little weird. I’ll work until I get tired, which is usually around 8-9-10pm? And then I head home to watch a little tube, relax and get in as square a meal as possible.
What’s the most challenging project you’ve worked on?
I’m doing a book right now! I got a book deal, and it’s been a beast. A fun, little, stinky beast. Smelling of high school, old mistakes, embarrassing moments, etc. So proud to jam pack this thing full of everything. And, I’ve been freaked out the whole time. Still can’t believe Abrams books were interested? A book? Just you wait until March of 2016…this little beast will come alive!
Where do you find inspiration?
The Flat Midwest, The Wet Northwest, The Mean Streets of NE 67th Avenue, Graphic Design, Design Colleagues, A Loose Network of Friends That Stretches From Coast To Coast, Stayin' Outta The Red, Staying Strong, Gocco Slams, Think Inks on Durable Fibers, Six-Stringer Acoustics, the Open Road, Helvetica 55, Trade Gothic no.20, Futura bold, Legos, Vignelli Calendars, Carhartt Jackets, Late Nights, Apple Flat Screen Monitors, Right Angles, Tweed Tube Amps, Impko decals, Carved Chainlinks, Wildlife Art, Rain, Memo Books, Clean Sheets, Levi 501s, Saucony Kicks, The Flaming Lips, Old Buildings, America, Ghost Signs, Fall Foliage...
What advice would you give to budding designers?
Keep shit fun. Jobs/bosses/grown-ups will always find a way to bum you out. Work hard, stay focused and learn to love the daily slog. Even the bad days. Nothing’s gonna be handed to you. Take it on the chin and be thankful you aren’t digging ditches.
Why should people come to your session at COLLIDE?
First off, there won’t be any code talk. So that’ll be weird, right? Second, it’s a fun example of a scrubby, little life that was built with going apeshit, mistakes and working my ass off. I’m so proud to show it and share it. Come to the show, people. You’ll have a hell of a time. Pinky promise!
If you could have super human powers, what would they be?
To bring my dad back. Still working on that one.