He loves design. He loves hoarding. And he loves his mom.
He’s Aaron Draplin.
“Hustlin” by Jared Eberhardt follows the renowned graphic designer who, among other things, sees things others don’t in everyday objects.
Some may call him obsessive. In reality, he’s simply very passionate about what he does.
He has a massive collection of emblems, matchbooks, first day stamp covers and old tape measures, keeping just about everything with a unique design, logo, brand or symbol near at hand– whether it’s an old cardboard box, a 6-pack of Shasta soda, or peanut butter chips in the original
cellophane bag from the 1970s.
Growing up in Detroit on a steady stream of Legos, Star Wars, family trips, little sisters, summer beach fun, stitches, fall foliage, drawing, skateboarding and snowboarding when he was young, Draplin started his career at age 19 with his first snowboard graphic for Solid snowboards.
His quest for design took off like wildfire soon after.
Everything from lettering cafe signs to drawing logos to thinking up local advertising campaigns were manhandled under the ruse of the newly-formed and gigantically-reckless Draplin Industries Design Co.
After five winters out in Oregon, the kid sobered up and headed back to Minneapolis to finish up what he says was a high-falutin’ design degree at the prestigious and painfully expensiveMinneapolis College of Art and Design. During this time he polished up his design skills, learned how to weld, and developed photos using nasty and toxic chemicals. Those were his salad days of easy livin’ when the cotton was high.
In April of 2000, he accepted an ill-fated art director position withSnowboarder magazine. Moving down to Southern California to
suffer alongside hot, caustic beaches, he wrangled some 23 issues of the mag. He won “Art Director of the Year” for Primedia 2000, beating out such titles as Gun Dog, Cat Fancy and Teen.
Thankfully, in April 2002, the Cinco Design Office of Portland, Oregon called Draplin up and offered him a Senior Designer gig which he instantly accepted. He moved it all North to the land of fog and rain and doom and gloom, mud and more mud, rolling up his sleeves to work on various accounts.
The Draplin Design Co. finally stepped out on its own four hairy Bigfoot feet in 2004.
Some four year later, Draplin’s proud to report that he’s managed to “keep everything out of the red.” His motto is simply, “Work Hard. Do good work for good people.”
He rolls up his sleeves working for a host of well-known and lesser-known clothing, apparel, snowboarding and publication companies. As you might have guessed, Vans is one of them.
He’s come a long ways from the days when he once worked as a carnie, then becoming uber-famous in the world of blue collar design. Draplin sees himself as just a regular straight-talking American guy with eclectic music tastes and a trajectory that’s a little dirtier than yours.
He says he owes it all to his parents. Seriously, he does.
Like we said, he loves his mom.
Via Aaron Draplin, Jared Eberhardt, and Vimeo
by Skippy Massey
This post originally appeared at the Humboldt Sentinel. Reprinted with permission.