As Thanksgiving break comes to an end, expect a big man with a bigger personality to make an appearance on campus.
Aaron Draplin, graphic designer, author and founder of Draplin Design Co., will be making a stop at NMU at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 28 in Jamrich 1100. His extensive tour, which has locations across the United States and a few stops in the U.K., will be in promotion of his new 2016 book titled “Pretty Much Everything.”
Draplin describes “Pretty Much Everything” as a mid-career survey of his work, ranging from case studies to how-tos and advice, all saturated with hilarious commentary and observations on the contemporary graphic design scene. The denim-clad, bearded man is a Michigan native, born in Detroit and raised in Traverse City.
Keith Ellis, associate professor of graphic design, helped coordinate the event along with the help of a handful of students and NMU Marketing and Communications Art Director Mike Forester.
“It was a group effort. I got the ball rolling, and the students pushed for it,” Ellis said.
This will be the art department’s biggest event to date. Art and design related events in the past have been limited to the art building. But with a much bigger attendance expected, Draplin’s visit will be held in the much larger lecture hall of Jamrich.
“We can safely expect 200 people, not surprised if we can get up to 300. Excited for 500.” Ellis said. Art and design students are also looking forward to the visiting artist.
“I’m pretty excited,” senior photography major Alex Cowles said.
“I think it’s going to be really interesting to have someone notable in the industry visit. It shows students that we can make it in our own field.”
Ellis stressed that Draplin’s visit will highlight the power of the art and design program, especially graphic communications students.
“Graphics are an invisible element that we don’t think about. We [as artists] make stuff that people deal with every day,” Ellis said.“This brings conscious awareness that life is curated by these people—that individuals are behind these things.”
In addition to the artist talk, there will be a handful of workshops open to students, artists and the public. According to Ellis, designers from several areas of the Midwest will also join the event.
“We’re going to make a day of it. We have people coming in from Green Bay, Traverse City, Grand Rapids, Houghton… We’ve never had a big graphics speaker here before, and this is the first time we’ll have a full-sized design community in town,” Ellis said.
Draplin’s portfolio includes extensive company branding projects, in addition to clients such as Nike, Target, Sizzle Pie and Gnu Snowboards. His mission statement is kept pretty simple: “Work hard. Do good work. For good people,” according to his company website.
The event is free and open to the public. For more information on Aaron Draplin or his book “Pretty Much Everything,” visit www.draplin.com.