CAMP Festival 2015 – Aaron Draplin Workshop

Aaron Draplin Workshop

“Logo Tips, Tricks, Triumphs, Turds, Threats, and Tales from the DDC”


We love to learn new things here at PV and learning from the best of the best is something we can’t pass up! Three of the PV designers made our way to Calgary for Aaron Draplin’s “Logo Tips, Tricks, Triumphs, Turds, Threats, and Tales from the DDC” workshop. For those that have not heard of him, Aaron Draplin is a graphic designer and founder of Draplin Design Co. (DDC) based out of Portland, Oregon. Cobra Dogs, Nike Air Max, Sasquatch Music Festival, are amongst some of the names that he’s done work for. You may also be familiar with Field Notes, his series of memo books that are sent out quarterly.

After taking a poll of what we wanted to do for the workshop, we unanimously decided that we did not want to do any work. Aaron took a more casual approach and opened the floor to any and every question. Throughout the day he showed us the work that he’s done, his process, and working files, while also providing us with wicked advice.

  1. Work Hard. Work Smart.

Each designer’s process is a little bit different, but efficiency by understanding the hardware and software you are using can take hours away from your process.

Working smart can lead you to be able to create one logo in one hour to creating eight variations of that logo in a single hour. You go through your process a lot quicker and can create things more efficiently.

  1. Love the Process. Get your Clients to Love It Too!

Too often, designers are creating things for their own portfolios. Aaron reminded us that whether you are working at an agency or freelance, the work you are creating is FOR the client. This is their brand or company and it is something that they will see on a daily basis. Working with the client rather against the client will make the process more enjoyable and lead you to a an end product that the client will be happy with.

  1. Everything.

Illustrator files can get mad crazy. A million tiny icons here. A bazillion font choices over there. For some designers, we want things to be professional, clean, and perfect. But keep everything and keep it live! Every small change and every iteration. There may be something that works in there that you may have grazed by and it makes it easy for you to return to an old concept.

  1. Go from A to Z.

Every client is different. Some have the exact vision of exactly what they want. Others have no idea what they want. Giving the client a range of concepts to choose from allows you to get an idea of what they like and what they don’t like. This will also allow yourself to explore a wide range of concepts and ideas, both abstract and conventional, that you or the client may not have first thought of.

  1. Keep busy. Stay inspired.

For many designers, design is not just their job it is also their hobby. During times of frustration or lulls in work, keep yourself busy and stay inspired. Personal projects are a great way to keep the creative juices flowing.

  1. Craft matters.

Aaron emphasized the importance of taking ownership of your craft. From every Bezier curve to the kerning between each letter, these are the little things that matter. Take the time to make sure that you clean everything up and refine it all because those details make a difference.

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