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Adobe MAX Speaker Aaron Draplin – Q&A Part II

“You can expect a spirited, ferocious delivery of our “Tall Tales” speaking fiasco! With, some surprises….” says Aaron Draplin of Draplin Design Co. on what to expect at his Adobe MAX session this year in our Twitter Chat with him. During the Twitter Chat, many had their burning design questions answered by Aaron, while others were just excited to connect with the brilliant creative. We want to give a big thanks to those who participated – especially Aaron! Check out a quick sample of the Twitter conversation using the #AdobeMAX hashtag below.

 

Watch our video to learn more about Aaron Draplin’s love for junking and estate sales, and read Part II of our Q&A with him below.

Be sure to come see Aaron Draplin speak at MAX this year in his session, “Tall Tales from A Large Man”. Visit MAX.Adobe.com and don’t forget to use promo code MXSM13 when you register and save $300.

Here’s Part II from our Q&A with the “Large Man” himself:

Adobe: When you were first starting out, what’s the biggest mistake you can remember making? 

Aaron Draplin: Thinking I’d need some big degree to make it. Complete bullshit. As much as I loved going to art school and learning as much as I did, I’m pretty sure I could’ve made it on my own. I caved in to the pressure system. I thought I’d get called out for teaching myself or something. And sure, school was awesome, but man, I paid a lot for those couple of years.

How (and at what times) does a typical day start and end for you?

I’m usually out of bed by 9:00am, getting down to the shop and getting going by 10:00. And hell, I hate going to get lunch, cuz you lose an hour. I’ll work until 7:00 or 8:00pm (sometimes later), then I head home for supper, and will get the late shift going around 9:00pm—until 1:00am. I end my day by going to sleep, which is a pretty common theme.

Things you love? Or things you hate? Which influence your work more?

Things I love definitely influence the way I work, and the outcome. And I know it’s not cool to hate stuff, but hell, I’ve got some bad blood with some stuff and am not afraid to say it, and, let it fuel me to make better things. My buddy Ryno in Minneapolis made a list, and inspired by his vitriol, I did too. Here are some spirited links: Things I Love and Things I Hate.

about how to make things better, instead of selfishly tearing them down. I loved that part of school. Thank you Santiago and Kali.

If you could choose just one artist (use that term as loosely as you wish) to “surround” yourself with, who would it be? Why?

I would’ve loved to work for Saul Bass. He’s my favorite graphic designer.

Since most people will never have the opportunity to participate creatively with the Obama administration, can you tell us (in more words than “awesome”) how you felt when you learned you were getting THAT assignment?

When the Mode Project from Chicago first called me, I thought I was in trouble or something. I mean, a call like that is going to be really, really good or really, really scary. When they offered the chance to work on a logo to help the new Obama administration, I instantly accepted, cleaned off my plate and got down to it. When they call you up to the big leagues, you produce. For your country. Seriously, my heart was filled with patriotism. The chance to help out in the slightest way was a big deal to me. I freaked out a bit, then got down to work with Chris Glass from Cincinnati and we made some logos for America. Will forever be proud of that one.

And, now that you’ve completed that one… what’s your (next) “dream” project? 

I’m scheming up some kind of road trip for the fall, but have to keep my lips sealed about the details. But when I really think about it, I dream about getting enough loot in the bank to where I can slow down my pace, go explore the earth a bit more and mellow everything out some. I’ve been running pretty hot these last bunch of years, so I daydream about downshifting things in a creative way. No real specific plan comes to mind, hence why I continue to charge as hard as I do. Oh well. If I could pick something out of the air…I sure would love to design a record for the Flaming Lips. Break me off a little piece, George

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Adobe MAX Speaker Aaron Draplin: Twitter Chat and Q&A Part I

Founder and mastermind behind the work and creative direction of Draplin Design Co., Aaron Draplin, will be speaking at Adobe MAX 2013 next month and we’re very excited to have him!

Prior to Adobe MAX, we wanted to give you an opportunity to ask him some questions, which is why we’re hosting a Twitter Chat with Aaron (@Draplin) on Monday, April 15, 2013 at 10AM PST (1PM EST). Follow our Adobe MAX Twitter channel (@AdobeMAX) for updates, and be sure to ask your questions then using the #AdobeMAX hashtag.

To get an inside look at Aaron, watch our video interview with him as he discusses his love for the creativity of signs on a #$%*! mini-tour of Portland, plus more in Part I of our Q&A with him.

Adobe: We’ve seen the memo book archive you’re building. Do you have a favorite? If not a (single) favorite, a favorite theme (or type)?

Aaron Draplin: There are just too many to pick from, but I do have a fondness for the ugly duckling stuff. Some are lavish, some are trying a little too hard and some, hell, just do the job and exist for their purpose. I love that sort of unpretentious singularity. Pure functionality is a beautiful thing. 

Field Notes. Why 48 pages?

Thirty-six seemed too few, and 60 seemed a little bit too big. We split the difference. Plus, the “thickness” came into play. Forty-eight pages is a lot of real estate, yet still feels good in your hands. We’ve got your best interests scientifically considered, people. Trust us.

Where/when did the relationship between you and Coudal Partners begin?

I was a fan and reached out with some email slathering Jim with niceties, and he slathered right back. The next time I whipped through Chicago I stopped for a handshake. That would’ve been in early 2004. Buddies ever since. Thank you for so much, Jim!

You’re speaking at MAX (frankly, we can’t wait). Does your speaking topic “Tall Tales from A Large Man,” provide a lot of latitude… That is, can you change course if you come up with an idea just before you step on stage?

It depends on the crowd. If I recognize some faces before the gig, I’ll mix stuff up a bit. Otherwise, I stick to my presentation, and tell my whole story the best way I can. If people are into it, I’ll offer up a lot of side stories, but if they are stone-faced, I’ll whip through the stuff. Rarely, are they stone-faced. Every now and again someone will be sitting there, as still as the dead. That shit freaks me out. I mean, are they human?

What about Adobe made you decide to say “yes” when we invited you to speak at MAX?

I’ve been speaking at a lot of Interactive conferences and, frankly, I often find myself not knowing a damn thing about the coding stuff they’re talking about. It’s a different language. The idea that a bunch of Adobe nerds would be in one place? My kind of party! I live off this stuff and am super interested in seeing what kind of people show up for it. I mean, I hope to learn knew ways to use my programs, you know? So, I’m going as a fan, and as someone tasked with telling his story to the crowd. And I promise to LAY WASTE to all in attendance. You’ve been warned.

What’s the one skill you learned in design school that you would encourage young designers to hone?

Learn how to talk about the work. Don’t indulge in “liking” things or “unliking” things. Hold stuff to the criteria of whether or not the solution is successful for the problem at hand. Liking stuff is a little too subjective. Did it solve the problem? Is it as good as it could be? Did you get it done on time? Design school taught me how to be diplomatic when discussing work, and how to be constructive about how to make things better, instead of selfishly tearing them down. I loved that part of school. Thank you Santiago and Kali.

Come see Aaron Draplin speak in his session at Adobe MAX this year, “Tall Tales from A Large Man”. Visit MAX.Adobe.com and be sure to use promo code MXSM13 when you register and save $300.

Also, join our Adobe MAX Twitter Sweepstakes from April 10–16, 2013. Use the hashtag #AdobeMAX for a chance to win some great prizes! Read the Adobe MAX Tweetaway Sweepstakes Official Rules for more details.

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