Esquire. Ford Motors. Burton Snowboards. The Obama Administration. While all of these brands are vastly different, they share at least one thing in common: a teeny, little bit of Aaron James Draplin. Draplin is one of the new school of influential graphic designers who combine the power of design, social media, entrepreneurship, and DIY aesthetic to create a successful business and way of life.
Pretty Much Everything is a mid-career survey of work, case studies, inspiration, road stories, lists, maps, how-tos, and advice. It includes examples of his work—posters, record covers, logos—and presents the process behind his design with projects like Field Notes and the “Things We Love” State Posters. Draplin also offers valuable advice and hilarious commentary that illustrates how much more goes into design than just what appears on the page. With Draplin’s humor and pointed observations on the contemporary design scene, Draplin Design Co. is the complete package for the new generation of designers.
“Aaron Draplin is sort of like the Bernie Sanders of graphic design… Now the designer is dropping a book called Pretty Much Everything (out May 17), and according to the official announcement it’s going to be a ‘mid-career survey of work, case studies, inspiration, road stories, lists, covers, and logos.’ Chances are it’s probably going to be pretty damn funny, too.” — WIRED.
Discover more about Aaron James Draplin
Aaron James Draplin is the founder of the Draplin Design Co., based in Portland, Oregon. He has created print, identity, and illustration work for Timberline Lodge, Woolrich, Patagonia, Nike, Mark Maron, and Sasquatch Festival, among others.
Bred from the loins of the proud Midwest, this little fucker was squeezed out in Detroit, in the year 1973 to the proud parents of Jim and Lauren Draplin. Growing up on a steady stream of Legos, Star Wars, family trips, little sisters, summer beach fun, stitches, fall foliage, drawing, skateboarding and snowboarding, at 19 he moved west to Bend, Oregon to hit jumps “Out West.” His career started with a snowboard graphic for Solid snowboards and took off like wildfire soon after. Everything from lettering cafe signs to drawing up logos to thinking up local advertising campaigns were manhandled under the ruse of the newly formed-and gigantically reckless-Draplindustries Design Co.
After five winters out west, the kid sobered up and headed back to Minneapolis to finish up a high-falutin’ design degree at the prestigious and painfully expensive Minneapolis College of Art and Design. During this time he polished up his design skills, learned how to weld and how to develop a photo in nasty chemicals. These were the salad days. He fell back in love with a strong Midwest that he once tried so hard to leave.
In April 2000, much to the chagrin of his proud “Midwestern Roots,” he accepted an ill-fated art director position with SNOWBOARDER magazine. He moved it all down to Shithole, Southern California-alongside some hot, caustic beach-and 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. No other awards were bestowed in this period, and like he gives a rat’s ass.
Thankfully, in April 2002, the Cinco Design Office of Portland, Oregon called up and offered a Senior Designer gig which he instantly accepted. He moved it all North to the land of rain and gloom and rolled up the sleeves to work on the Gravis, Helly Hansen and Nixon accounts.
The Draplin Design Co. finally stepped out on its own four hairy feet in the fall of 2004. Some four year later, he’s proud to report that he’s managed to “keep everything out of the red.” He rolls up his sleeves for Coal Headwear, the Union Binding Company, Snowboard Magazine, Field Notes memo books, Ride Snowboards, Forum Snowboards, Grenade Gloves, Chunklet Magazine, Cobra Dogs, Absinthe Films, NemoDesign, Gnu Snowboards, RVL7 Apparel, Burton Snowboards, K2 Snowboards, Bonfire Snowboarding Apparel, South American Snow Sessions, as well as all sorts of one-off logos, t-shirt graphics and what not.
This man is awesome and his story is amazing! <3