By rizeabove / / Get ready, we’re about to share another one of the top young creatives in Minnesota in a feature we like to call: Fresh Meat Friday. If you, or a youngin’ you know, have roughly between 0-5 years of professional experience and a killer book, please—for the love of all that is holy—shoot us an email: [email protected] Now, without further ado, let’s meet Matt Erickson. Matt is a B.F.A graduate with a major in graphic design from the University of Wisconsin-Stout. While he was in school, he was a graphic design intern at Style-Architects, LLC and a graphic designer for the U.W. Stout Counseling Center. After graduating, Matt worked at Ambient Inks in Eau Claire as a graphic designer and interned with Cue as well. Currently, he works full-time at Cue as a designer. Matt has won numerous awards, including Communication Arts Award of Excellence and UW Stout Best of Design Award. Alright, Minneapolis. Let’s get to it. Hi Matt, nice to virtually meet you. You’ve been busy! We saw your ARTCRANK poster and found out that you’ll be showcasing something for Posters and Pints this Saturday too. We like your initiative in entering competitions, exhibiting in poster shows and regularly practicing your craft on your Dribbble. What would you say your career and creative aspirations are? Where do you see yourself in, say, five years? In five years, I would say that I wish to be a larger part of the local and global design community. I want to meet more people, make some cool stuff, and help contribute to the community. I probably will take my freelance work in a more specialized direction as well. I’ve been working with lots of breweries and distilleries, and will probably focus more on that type of work. I’ll also probably still be living in Minneapolis because, well, why would you not want to live here? We couldn’t agree more. Minneapolis rules. So, what led you to where you’re at now? Well, back when I was a dumb kid, I grew up writing graffiti. I loved letters and I didn’t know how or why. So I got pretty good writing them on things. Soon after, I realized, hey- maybe I can make some money on this stuff. So I started a small clothing company, learned how to use Photoshop CS2 or whatever it was at the time, and taught myself how to screen print. That sustained my creative output for a while, but then college happened. I went to U.W. Stout and learned the ins and outs of design. With their phenomenal program, I learned everything I needed to know, and started freelancing full time and taking a few internships while at school. Once I graduated, I got an internship at Cue, which taught me so much so fast. I’m now a designer at Cue and still freelance (not quite full time anymore) with lots of different agencies, breweries, and distilleries, mostly. So, that’s about it. It’s that drive that we were drawn to… seems like you have always been seeking opportunities to hone your abilities as a creative. Speaking of creative, let’s take a look at your work. What are your top three favorite projects? Leinenkugel’s Oktoberfest Posters: This is the official poster for Leinenkugel Brewing Company’s Oktoberfest event held annually in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. The objective was to leverage traditional Oktoberfest iconography in a unique way while assisting a large production brewery in positioning itself as a craft brewery. It was necessary to accomplish this without losing the credibility of the brewery’s long history. Using a minimal color palate, it was disruptive while being cohesive, playful and unique to the spirit of Oktoberfest. As usual, the posters were expertly printed by Ambient Inks. Caribou Coffee Single Origin Coffees: For Caribou, I am just keeping it to the tasty close up shot (I’m working on our case study). Bohica Products: Bohica Products was the brainchild of a Marine veteran living in Wisconsin. The motivation behind the creation of Bohica was to offer American-made, high quality products that embody the ideals of American patriots and the freedoms we enjoy every day. The brand proved to hold quite a bit of potential. Super-patriotic veteran brands are a niche industry, where generally, the design is not necessarily a priority. Creating something considered and refined can rise above the noise and prove to be hugely disruptive in a loud, raw industry such as this one. Strength and simplicity drives the thinking behind the Bohica brand. Beyond an initial identity system, a packaging system for a line of beard products, a custom typeface, apparel, collateral, an e-commerce site, and much more was considered and designed. Great work. Are there any cool new projects coming up that you can talk about (ad related or not)? If so, what excites you about them? Two things I’m really excited for was the ARTCRANK Minneapolis show and the Posters & Pints show (June 11th). I’m participating in both and can’t wait to show work alongside some unbelievably talented people (and drink some beer). I also have recently wrapped up a few really big spirits projects that I can’t be more specific on. They should be hitting shelves in the next month or two (fingers crossed). Also, I just designed Caribou Coffee’s single origin line. We’ve been taking a look at Caribou’s products at Cue and creating a strategic portfolio of the different varieties rather than having them all look the same. I’m really excited about the potential that we unlocked there (and the fact that the production turned out pretty badass). Okay. I guess you could say I’m excited about everything I do. I love my job(s). We’re just about ready to wrap up. Just curious, have you won any awards for your work? I recently received a Communication Arts award of excellence for the identity I did for the senior design show at Stout. I also received the Best of Graphic Design award from Stout. Thanks, Matt. Check out more of Matt’s work on his website: http://ericksondesign.co And be sure to check out our last feature, McKenzie Ross.
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