- Tell us a memorable story of yourself when you were a kid. It can be funny, surprising, warm and fuzzy, whatever. Just make it a good one.
- With a major in business and a minor in design, your undergrad courses diverged in content. Describe a course that significantly changed the way you look at the world now and what you think is valuable about that change.
That course would be Typography 1 without a doubt. Our two professors for the class were hard-driving typography experts, so they treated the course very seriously. I spent six hours per week in that class, and at least 12–14 hours per week working on projects for the class. That may not be crazy on its own, but with an 18-credit-hour schedule, part-time job, and multiple extracurriculars, the class made my semester insane.
But somehow despite all that, I fell in love with the work. Through all the classwork and projects, I learned an insane amount about type design, layout, self-discipline, and everything in between. Our professors hammered every tiny detail about typography into our heads, and demanded only the best effort, craft and design from us.
Before the class, letters were just letters—but after, you looked at every individual letterform as a work of art, and something as simple as a typographical logo could be a masterpiece. Of course, I don’t remember everything from that class, but my appreciation for great typography and attention to detail in any field will always last.
- Of the two kids in your family, you’re considered to be the more creative half. Explain how you earned that perception growing up and give us some background on your specific artistic interests.
Growing up, my brother and I seemed to have completely different interests: He liked anything analytical or mathematic, and I liked drawing, art and anything requiring creative or inventive thinking. My parents always joked that I was going to be an architect, and my brother, Roy, would be an engineer, and somewhere down the road we would team up to make some awesome stuff. They weren’t very far off—I was enrolled in architecture school before changing to marketing and advertising, and my brother graduated with a degree in actuarial mathematics.
My mom was the one who inspired that artistic interest, since she was a commercial art major in college and always encouraged my creativity. I only wish I inherited her drawing skill—she can pencil-sketch amazing portraits, and I’m terrible with drawing faces or anything anatomical. On the other hand, I am much better with 2-D design. Despite those differences, my favorite thing to do in my spare time is hand lettering, and I definitely gained that interest from watching my mom do calligraphy, which she also does very well.
- You’ve lived several different cities over the past 5 years. What is the most useful “thing” you took away from that experience? It can be a concept, heightened appreciation, ability, anything.
In the past 5 years I’ve lived in Pittsburgh (born and raised), Dayton, St. Louis, Chicago and now Cincinnati, so I guess that’s a lot for someone my age.
Living in so many different places has definitely given me a greater appreciation for traveling and discovering all that’s out there—and I’m not just talking about traveling to new places or cities. I just moved to Cincinnati a month ago, and have been to so many great places here and met so many awesome people, and the more I do that the more I want to continue to explore. As much as I love my hometown of Pittsburgh, if I remained there, I don’t know if I would have that same attitude.
I just hope to continue to travel, live all over the place, and never quite settle down.
- What’s the last random internet…thing…you saw that made you laugh out loud to yourself?
A squirrel attempting to hide an acorn… in dog fur.
- What is your spirit animal? If you think you don’t have one, you do now. (This can also be a person, because it’s no rules weekend. Or it’s about to be.)
- What is your favorite smell and why?
A fresh can of tennis balls. No idea why.
- If you could read only one story for the rest of your life, what would it be?
The Phantom Tollbooth. I first read the book in fifth grade because I had to, but I have since read it a handful of times and it remains my favorite book. It’s technically a kid’s book, but I never get tired of reading it because it’s so imaginative and full of great wordplay and puns.
For example, in the book there is an island, the name of which is “Conclusions.” Want to know how you get to the island? You jump.
Fairly short story, but I would say it sums up my childhood pretty well: I loved sledding when I was a kid, and one summer when I was about five years old, the urge to sled was just too great to suppress, so I decided to grab a sled from our garage and take it to the top of the staircase in our house. I proceeded to sled down the stairs, fall when I hit the bottom, and knocked my two front teeth out.
I just stick to skiing and snowboarding now. On snow.