Time to write a bit about ending a chapter in my life before going on to other things.
I feel enormous gratitude to a lot of people around here. It’s time to do some shout outs.
I already wrote about my brother Cameron for always encouraging me to pursue any creative endeavor. He was the first person who rallied behind me to go to art school.
Shout out to my other brother Paul Edmondson, who, as owner of HubPages, employed me for five years. Paul made it possible for me to go to school while working. While at HubPages, I put all the design fundamentals I was learning at school into practice. I taught myself how to write HTML and CSS, and I got to spend a lot of time with other family members as well.
Shout out to Angie Wang, my first typography teacher. A thoughtful and kind instructor and human being, Angie was one of my first design heroes. Her type was clean, clean, clean, and her outfits were the pinnacle of restraint without sacrificing style. Angie rules. Through Angie’s class, I got to meet Mark Fox. I didn’t have him as my instructor, but Mark is another top notch teacher/ designer/ human being.
Shout out to Tom Ingalls. Tom’s one of the most conversationally engaging duves I’ve ever met. He tells great jokes, and knows a whole hell of a lot about book and packaging design. He taught me the slang term “talent” and cracks me up every time I see him.
Shout out to Christopher Simmons. I was lucky enough to have Christopher as a teacher over two separate semesters, and I worked with him on one lettering gig for Facebook. To say Christopher is a dedicated educator is the understatement of the century. He falls into a category of people that seem to have it all—incredible work, social skill through the roof, and a family man to boot! Christopher was the first teacher to encourage me to hand letter a logotype, which ultimately led me down this long, weird path I’ve been on for a while. Thanks Christopher.
Shout out to Eric Heiman. I had Eric for Graphic Design three, a class in which we are led through the process of designing all the elements necessary for a film festival. The class was hell, and at the end of it, I wanted to quit graphic design. Ultimately, I reconsidered, and I realized there was a method to Eric’s madness. He pushed us to the limit, and we survived, so now we know not to be pussies about it. Eric is absurdly well versed in music and film, and speaks in paragraph form.
Shout out to David Asari. David’s class, typography 3, was all about infographics—a subject I went into completely blindly, and left slightly less blind. It was the first class where we were pushed to really get into a subject we cared about, and explore it with data. He kept asking us to find something we liked, so we could enjoy the process more. It’s something I still ask myself all the time. What am I interested in? What am I passionate about? I don’t know why my parents never asked me that.
Shout out to Brett MacFadden and Scott Thorpe. Experimental Type was a huge class for me. It was the first time I built a working typeface, and I have to thank Brett and Scott for letting me go as far as I wanted with it. Bresco were always offering great feedback, and provided a nice environment for us all to experiment in. Super nice duves. Later, I got to help Scott out with his Wedding invitations. What an honor.
Shout out to Bob Aufuldish. Before I had Bob for Sputnik and Graphic Design 4, I had heard a lot about what a cool guy Bob was, how interesting his classes were, and how hilarious he was. It’s all true. Bob starts each semester by saying, “This is supposed to be fun,” A statement with which I couldn’t agree more. Bob wrote my letter of recommendation to get into TypeMedia, and I got to work with him on typeface for a book he did a while back. Bob is my mentor, my hero, an amazing book designer, type designer, and photographer. Quit showing off Bob.
Shout out to Jon Sueda. I was never lucky enough to have Jon as a teacher, but for some reason he knew my name. Jon put my Woods of Wisdom project in an exhibition alongside some amazing designers. We met about it a couple times, and one time he said to me, “I see you’re pretty interested with that type stuff. You should keep going with it for like another five years, and just get really into it.” It was casual advice, but it felt pretty sincere and I took it to heart. Jon is one of my all time favorite designers. In my Level 3 review, after noticing I had good sketches and shitty work, he told me to design less. I followed that advice as well, and I think it panned out. I got to speak with Jon at Typo SF this year. I was a bit nervous, so it was great to have a friend around.
Shout out to Michael Vanderbyl. Michael used to teach the thesis class, which is a source of much trepidation and fear for every CCA student. I was expecting Michael to be cold and out of touch, but he turned out to be an extremely helpful and hilarious critic. Michael recommended me to Kali Nikitas to speak at Typo SF, and for that I am most appreciative.
Shout out to Dennis Crowe. Dennis team taught thesis with Michael, and was a perfect balance to keep critiques motivational and inspiring for the whole class. After thesis Dennis asked me to help out with some work for a big client. The work didn’t get used, but it was really fun to work for such a big name. Dennis looks a bit like Bryan Cranston, but with a more approachable face.
Shout out to Cinthia Wen. Cinthia has run the whole dang program while I’ve been at CCA. She deals with a lot of pissed off students all the time, and runs a design firm on top of everything else. It seems like a stressful position, but she’s always been really cool to me. After a lecture from the design firm Rumors, we went out to eat with a couple of students and teachers. I started walking home, Cinthia saw me walking, picked me up, and gave me a ride. Pretty cool.
Shout out to Rod Cavazos. Rod teaches the type design elective, which obviously had an enormous effect on me and my work. His class is a crazy type lab where everyone works on daring and completely original typefaces. He teaches the basics of Fontlab as well as type design basics like kerning, optical considerations, and basic letterform construction that no one else at CCA even talks about. His class was an absolutely pleasure to take. I remember staying after class most nights because I would just be in the zone. Rod has remained incredibly encouraging for my type pursuits. His foundry Psy/Ops helps me with certain technical aspects of my typefaces that remain a bit out of my expertise. This help has been invaluable to me. He’s one of the only other type designers I know personally, and he’s just an incredibly nice guy. He’s taken me out for thai a couple of times, and even brings food and drinks to the final critique in his type design class every semester. Rod absolutely rules. Mentor, friend, dad, and husband. The guy seems to have it all figured out, which makes sense, because his IQ has to be somewhere around 300.
I’ve been a bit self conscious about how much I admire my teachers—to the point where I have to ask myself if I’m a kiss ass. I haven’t ever been to school where I really resonated with any one particular professor, but at CCA, it’s happened over and over. I love the school, I feel really lucky for having been able to attend and graduate, and I hope to be a teacher some day. If I’m in San Francisco at that time, it would be rad to teach there.
The students at CCA are a much better bunch than I ever could have hoped for. I’ve met a ton of interesting, talented, and hard working designers and artists. They are the real inspiration. That’s a whole other blog post.
As an addendum to the graphic above: If you really care about design, and would like a life in it, go to a good art school, with great teacher and students. Try really hard, and it might be really fulfilling. It was for me.