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Honor Roll: Anton Pearson

Hey Anton! Tell us a little bit about yourself. Whats your major and where do you go to school?

Salutations! Currently I am a senior studying Graphic Design at Minneapolis College of Art and Design aka MCAD. I’m a native of Saint Paul but have migrated to the twin across river, Minneapolis, where life is a bit more lively.

As an undergrad what was the most exciting thing you got to work on? What about it made you so interested in it?

Hmmmm. There are so many to chose from since I’m enthusiastic about each project in different ways. I have a sentimental place for my introduction to design classes where I was learning about Gestalt Principles, trying to figure out how in the hell to use the Creative Suite software and really striking off in an expressive direction. I bet we all can fondly remember the first time we made a poster that commanded attention and reached people. That same excitement carries on it’s just the projects have become more elaborate and build off of one another. 

Where do you get your inspiration from? (websites, people, personal adventures, music, etc)

All of the above and more. Music offers a deep emotive connection and can drive vast inspiration (more on that later). Friends give rejuvenation and insight, I’m lucky to have some talented friends who also are mentors. Websites are great but nothing will compare to actually experiencing a great lecture or holding a beautifully designed book and so on. Last semester I had a class in conjunction with the Walker Art Center exhibition Graphic Design: Now In Production, visiting the exhibit and interacting with the show along with all the people involved on a weekly basis was profound. If you have the opportunity to see it, do so!

You’re very big on hand making/manipulating your type. What’s goes through your head while you’re making these letter(s)? How much does actual legibility come into play?

Ha! I wonder what goes on in my mind too… Making type and type forms has become an obsession for me which is informed by my younger days of graffiti writing. When I’m working on personal work or non-client projects it’s seems as though I’m always riding the line of form versus function. Trying to push type as far as possible by subverting meaning or coding information. Obviously this can be an issue with clients where any given communication needs to function quickly but I do think there’s a power in abstraction of the familiar. Our minds are constantly trying to decode information around us and by offering a puzzle for our eyes/brain to solve a designer can create an experience and memorable piece. 

I am a huge fan of the “Incomplete Manifesto For Growth” piece you have on your site. There are some amazing little quips/sayings in there that are truly inspiring. Tell us a little bit about your process with this piece, from conception to final product.

In 2011 I was researching different design processes and stumbled across Bruce Mau’s “Incomplete Manifesto For Growth.” It really struck a cord with how I related to design and life as well. I found myself reading it, A LOT and with each reading taking away something new. The rules in the manifesto are explicitly positive and deal with everything from laughter to personal growth to mistakes. I felt compelled to take these truisms and create a book as a response to  how I had internalized them. It was important for all the gestures in the design to have a significant relationship to the manifesto. The cover of the book was blind debossed on a Vandercook press I had access to, hinting on the impermanence of the list. The prong binding allowed for the rules to be added too or changed if needed. The sketchbook newsprint it was printed on also re-enforced these ideas. I created imagery ranging from design and illustration to photographs in response to each of the rules. I love how it all came together. Maybe one day I’ll be able to show it to Bruce Mau.

I’ve seen that you’ve done some amazing work for Target and Walker Art Center. How did that come about and what was is like doing work for them?

The Target projects were amazing opportunities that came about via connections at MCAD. Working with Target was really exciting because they saw opportunity for artists and designers to envision their brand in new ways which lead to a lot of imaginative outcomes and creative freedom. Last Summer I was lucky enough to have an internship at the Walker Art Center design studio. Being able to work, learn and connect with the designers there was pretty damn awesome. It also lead to a few nice portfolio pieces but the I think the overall experience supersedes any work that was made.  

Do you have any side projects or an internship going on? How do you handle your time?

Currently I’m working in the MCAD’s design studio, Design Works, which produces a majority of the schools design needs and also works with outside clients. I also try take on freelance projects whenever possible to help with the bills. A lot of my time right now is going to developing my senior thesis work at MCAD. It’s an exploration between the emotional fabric and connectivity I have to music and DJing. 

Outside of design, what are you most interested in?

Most definitely music. I’ve been DJing for years and have roots in the local Hip-Hop scene. In 2009 I helped co-found a collective called Wants Vs. Needs. WVN is made up of DJs, artists/designers and some business folks and collectively we throw parties, make t-shirts, release mixtapes and music. The Twin Cities has rich art and music community so whenever I have a chance I try to take in out concerts or exhibitions. I’m also a bit of a film buff and a MPR / NPR junky. Politics has always intrigued me and I try to keep up with global events as much as possible. 

What are your next steps? Are you looking to freelance or maybe live more of the agency lifestyle?

Honestly I’m not quite sure yet. It could go either way. I would like to just keep making compelling work and hopefully the path will reveal itself. 

Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us! Your work is super inspiring and perfectly executed. I can’t wait to see where you go with it! To check out more of Antons work hit up his Portfolio, Tumblr, or Twitter

Also, for any MCAD students reading this, my pal Alyssa Nassner is teaching a class called: Sell It Yourself: Doing Etsy Rightthere next semester! So if you’re looking for an awesome class to take, this is the one. She’s an amazing illustrator that everyone can learn a lot from! 

Check it out, sign up, pool party.

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