You have an interesting company name. How did you come up with it?
If by ‘interesting’, you mean ‘weird’, the short of it goes like this. I just wanted a simple, catchy URL people could easily remember, unfortunately ‘myspace’ and ‘google’ were already taken. OKPANTS.com
was a little further down my list. Fortunately, it’s pretty short, it incorporated my nickname Pants, and I also happen to always feel ok; so it all works out in the end. I’m kind of amazed none of my clients get weirded out about it.
When did you start designing?
I have been about drawing since I was able to hold a crayon in my hand. Growing up, I wanted to work in comic books and animation. However when I got to art school (Cleveland Institute of Art) I started playing around with photoshop, illustrator and flash, and my focus shifted towards design. I’ve been doing design for print & web professionally/obsessively ever since, constantly trying to find places to fit those drawings in as well. Maybe one day I’ll get to do that X-Men cover.
What motivates you to come up with new exciting designs?
Old boring designs. Good ones too. Knowing there’s someone else out there that’s going to do it better if I don’t.
If you could have any super power, what would it be and why?
I would say flight definitely first, but what kid doesn’t want a nice shiny adamantium skeleton and claws with a heaping helping of mutant healing powers. Although every time I see a commercial for “The Incredible Hulk” I think to myself how much being able to tear a Hyundai in half would rule. I don’t know, this is like asking me my favorite kind of pizza. Let’s move on.
How would you describe yourself in 5 words?
(In no order) Wide. Happy. Jewish. Impatient. Grateful.
What would your thoughts be for designing buttons? Any tips?
I really have no profound slabs of wisdom on this one. Buttons are a great opportunity to get a potent nugget of great design across in a very small space. Don’t waste that opportunity. Get to the point and have fun with it.
What has been your favorite piece of artwork that you designed?
I don’t know if I have ONE favorite, but a concert poster for Gym Class Heroes I did a couple years ago sticks with me. That poster sums up my point of view pretty well, I think. Also a mixtape cover I did for J Dilla, Busta Rhymes and Mick Boogie I did not too long ago; maybe more so because of the talent involved and my admiration for J Dilla. There are a lot of projects I’ve been fortunate to do with people I really admire, but THAT was a labor of love.
Who are some of your favorite designers?
Whew…I’ll try to keep it down to a few: Andy Warhol, Shepard Fairey, Sam Keith and Chris Bachalo (amongst an obscenely long list of my favorite comic book artists). Frank Kozik and Derek Hess are giant influences on me, especially earlier on. Having gotten to work with Derek on some projects was a big thing for me…still is. I’d feel like a jerk to not namedrop the dudes at Go Media for educating young designers, doing solid work, and thriving in my home (Cleveland).
You’ve had experience designing button packs with us. Any tips on designing a unique button pack?
It’s definitely important for designers to strive for something that’s their own, but I don’t know quite how to explain to someone else how to make something unique. For me, the setup of the packs reminded me of action figure packaging from when I was a kid, so I came at it from that angle, especially with my ‘Space Race’ pack. So I guess my advice would be to take a look at what’s out there, find what gets you going, and just make the thing RULE. (in other words, don’t make it suck.)
You’ve worked with some large clients. Who has been a client of yours that let you have complete control for a design project?
Mick Boogie & Terry Urban are favorites of mine for trusting me run wild with whatever I feel like. They both have a good eye for good design, but I believe the extent of their direction has been to “DO YOU”. Their world was pretty different to me when I started working on their mixtapes and marketing, but that’s what I love so much about the pieces I produce for them…it’s an opportunity to do something different.That, and they are cool dudes to the max.Sole Collector Magazine also gave me an amazing amount of latitude as well, especially considering the project was a 90-page special layout for smack dab in the middle of their magazine. I can’t stress enough that I’ve been very lucky to have a pretty diverse range of people that like what I do, that allow me to really let loose with my instincts and concepts with their brands and projects.Any words of encouragement for new and upcoming designers?
I feel like I’m a new designer and I know I still have a whole bunch to prove, so that’s a question I feel kinda ill-equipped to answer. I would say DO WORK. (Thanks Big.) There is TONS more to it than that, but like anything else to me, at some point you have to just jump in and do it. Doesn’t matter if it starts in a sketchbook, a napkin, or on a wacom tablet. Learn from the masters and learn from the losers. And don’t be a crybaby.
Thanks for taking the time to interview with us Aaron! Keep up the great work.
Please check Aaron’s web site out OkPants Design.
Last Modified: July 4th, 2008