It all started in kindergarten. I remember sitting in the corner of the room, I wasn’t interested in anything anyone else was doing. All that could hold my attention were the colors and forms of a laminated sheet that was taped to the inside of a fire-escape door. On the sheet was the flag of every country in the world. The visual dance within the boundaries of every flag lent itself to the identity of millions of people, and served as a piece of art for its global audience.
I actually wasn’t thinking that. I wasn’t even thinking at all. I just liked what people could do with shapes and colors. You could’ve put a paint dab on the wall and it would’ve had the same effect.
Throughout my childhood I was always pulled towards drawing. In elementary school I would write peoples names in various ways. Bubbly letters were everyone’s favorite, especially my crush’s, so you know I was doing that a lot. In middle school my friends and I would walk to the library after we got out of school to go eat chicken wings and play football on the green, but I was really there to look up NHL logos and try to re-draw them.
Then in high school I got into ESPN Magazine (rest in peace) and did a lot of mock-covers involving pictures of my brother.
I entered college as an economics major, convinced by my mom that that was the best option. Yet after seeing my friends’ homework one day, I decided to switch to a communications degree. Shortly after, I got the opportunity to join a student design group on campus, which was run by this guy named Tyler Finck.
You may or may not know him (you should), but he makes all kinds of fonts and logos for people (he’s done a lot of the labels for Ithaca Beer Company). It was the first time I’d seen a full-grown adult with the habit of just making stuff for the fun of it. He made his own music, and album covers to go along with it. Over the course of a year, I would sit in his office for hours at a time peppering him with questions, whether he liked it or not. He’s certainly the most responsible person for the path I’m on. He taught me how to make fonts, how to get a website going, and how to understand what looks good.
One summer, I took an internship in Boston working for a design firm. It was cool. But there wasn’t nearly as much creative control as I was used to with personal projects and freelancing. This is what I’ve found with most jobs, and to get that control you’ve gotta stick it out for a number of years before seeing the light.
This is why I’ve opted to do freelance. More freedom, more control, I don’t have to wear pants, perfect.
Please reach out if in need of design or advice. 🙂 Logos, lettering, and labels.
If you wanna follow, links below.
– Tom McAuliffe