My wife, Holly, and I have two sons. Adam is a doctor with Cleveland Clincs in Stuart, Florida and the father of twins, AJ (Adam) and Sofía. Nick is an artist living in the North East Minneapolis art district.
In January 2000, after 22 years with General Mills, I found it time to venture out on my own. I gained a lot of experience in many areas of graphic design and production at General Mills. This experience has brought me from conventional keylining to electronic production, designing sales & marketing brochures, annual reports, cook-booklets, FSI’s, POP material, concept boards, logos, posters and flyers and package design, both front and back panel communication. I have been a Keyliner, Art Director, Graphic Designer, Photo Director, Senior Designer and Creative Director and the one thing that brings all my expertise together is that I have done most of my own production.
My six years of freelancing gave me the opportunity to do more logo design and web development. While helping design firms with their projects my Adobe skills grew as I was editing different designers files and learned different ways to build them. In 2007, I took a full-time job as a Senior Designer with Scott W. Baker Associates. There I honed my Illustrator and Photoshop skills while adding more production experience. I also started working with Strata 3D.
In 2001 I built a halfpipe for Nick and his friends. The plans were then made available as a free download on my website. I received hundreds of thousands of hits over the years. It also generated quite a bit of email from kids and their parents literally from all over the world who are looking to build their own halfpipes. Needless to say it has been a joy to see the MANY photos I have received from very happy kids who now have their own halfpipes.
The most important, challenging and rewarding element in my life is my faith in God through my personal relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ. I turned my life over to Him in December 1991 through the diligent and faithful witness of my twin brother, Ron. Bible Study Fellowship BSF, an interdenominational, weekly bible study has played a key role in my knowledge and growth as a christian. My wife and I worship at Ridgewood Church, a vibrant and alive church dedicated to making disciples of Jesus Christ.
I started in the business doing pencil and magic marker layouts, spec’ing type for the type setter and shooting my halftone pictures in a stat camera. Then, pasting everything down on a board, creating all the acetate layers for the different color plates. In 1988 I understood what the computer could for my career I bought my first Apple computer so I could be at the vanguard of a new revolution. I have watched design develop through the years and have noticed with the advent of computers much of design had become saturated with unnecessary elements that may help carry the theme but often distracts from the message. Since all design is pretty much done on the computer things have settled down and good design is back. Now that social media seems to be taking over the world and people have even shorter attention spans it is even more important for design to simple, clean, clear and unique.
My years of experience has included a wide variety of projects – from packages, brochures, lithos, posters and logos to FSI’s, cookbooks, nutrition booklets and POP displays. I have always tried to apply my motto to all everything I work on. How can I reduce or combine the elements to the fewest so the main objective is seen clearly.
I believe the ultimate in simplicity happens with corporate identity or logo design. A lot of thought, scribbles and pencil sketches go into one of these designs. You need to convey a company’s brand identity as simply as possible. Multi-color logos also need to be used in one color situations and also at times be used very small. Many variables go into creating a logo that will work in many applications and developing a style guide for the different situations to retain brand identity helps.
The last 11 years has been mostly package design line extensions and photoshop retouch and composition for layouts and final art. I approach my work with, how can I build this file so it can easily be understood and edited if necessary, because we all know change is inevitable.
During the years at General Mills I had spent a lot of time in photo studio. Even though, many of my projects required food photography. I did have opportunities to direct models, men, women and children. Never give a teething infant a cup of yogurt even if the foil wrap is on. They will poke a hole in the lid with their one tooth and get yogurt everywhere. As photo director I would indicate to the photographer what kind of lighting, backgrounds and/or props are needed. Overseeing the different specialists involved in the particular shot from the photographer to the make-up artist, food stylist or prop stylist. I have personally styled, cereal, yogurt, popcorn and all sorts of fruit, even sand. Now, with my photoshop expertise, I also have the ability to fix any problem in photoshop the photographer may not be able to get under camera.
My photoshop skills have been utilized many times to retouch and compose images for final release. Some images won’t quite match the intended placemen and I will have to adjust layout or dissect the image to rearrange elements for a proper fit. Many designs have multiple flavors and the images will require common elements in each of the versions. This will mean extensive photoshop composition so the product line can have a more common look.
My art career started out as a Keyliner back when there were no computers. All design was done with pencil and magic marker drawings of what you where hoping your final design would look like. Type headlines were carefully drawn out to represent the font as closely as possible. The keyliner would specify the font, what point size and leading, and how wide the column should be for the final art. In my case, we also produced our own halftone images with a stat camera. All the pieces would be pasted in position, crop lines and die lines drawn, separate acetate flaps were used to indicate overlays and/or special colors. A lot of manual and precise work went into producing the keyline that went to the separator. We have come a long way since then. Layouts today are created digitally to show exactly what the client will see and sometimes they will have to be recreated to pull special colors out on separate layers for the printer. When I work on a design I am always mindful as to how files will be produced and what a particular separator or printer will require.