Featured Illustrators

Cole Bryant

December 2015

We chat with newbie Portland Illustrator Cole Bryant. Cole tells us about his favourite passion projects and collabs, where he thinks design is heading in the next five years and also leaves us with some killer advice on how to break into the industry as a student!

What are some of your earliest creative memories and what lead you into design?

When I was about four or five my brother had a wall dedicated to pages from skateboard magazines that he had cut out and plastered on his wall. You couldn’t even see the wall paper. I would stare at these pictures, bold logos, advertisements and be completely mystified. It really caught my eye from an early age. I spent so much time trying to mimic the characters and aesthetic that I saw in those graphics. This really pushed me from a young age to try and create graphics with similar line work and dynamic aesthetics.

Any passion projects you would like to share?

I love music and I do a lot of work for musicians on the side that I’m really devoted to. When I go to a show, I always try to greet the band members and talk to them about their work or touring. I’ve made a lot of clients this way. I find working with musicians to be some of the most rewarding work that I do. The collaboration process is where a lot of really brilliant ideas surface and the fact that they’ll utilize our efforts on tour is awesome. I’ve got a few projects in the works that I’m excited to announce very soon.

What role does digital design play in your studio in 2015, and how do you apply traditional graphic design skills in a digital age?

Luckily we live in a day and age where one's traditional skills have the opportunity to translate beautifully with digital media. I love working on paper with ink or paint, but I do a lot of work by hand and then end up manipulating it on my computer through photoshop and illustrator. I really look forward to that process, and experimenting with that digital translation. I’d say both my traditional approach and digital media are slowly becoming increasingly co-dependent. Which makes me excited about future endeavors as the process keeps developing.

What has been your highlights since you started out?

When I was back in Alabama, my highlights were curating my own shows. One of which, we turned a small duplex village into an art and music venue. It was kind of by accident but definitely intentional, we just had no idea it would get so big. About 200 people showed up to one event. (Which in Auburn, AL was huge.) A lot of the collaborations I did in that area played a big role in who I am as an artist today. Michael Acuff, RC Hagans, and Butch Anthony really helped me get a foot hold there, and influenced me to bring Auburn’s art scene into the public eye.

Where do you think design is heading in the next five years and how will you adapt?

The technological developments we’re making are having a huge impact on the way we design. I see a lot of new avenues opening up in this revolutionary technological age, mostly with motion graphics of various qualities. It’s this movement surfacing that’s utilizing computer techniques and digital media that were kind of discarded. It’s really exciting. There’s so much opportunity ahead because we’re dealing with these tools that are only so young. I think myself and many artists included are going to have to re-think our approach and learn new techniques to enhance digital media and design. Luckily, these tools are at our fingertips and are extremely accessible.

What advice would you give students starting out?

When there is free time away from studio, don’t be afraid to start connecting with other artists. There are so many ways to do this. Whether it’s through your school or via the many outlets offered on the internet, it really comes in handy once you start to put yourself out there. And obviously keep in touch with your fellow students and professors. You never know when those connections will help you down the road. I’ve made a lot of connections through my college peers.






Subscribe to our weekly newsletter and join our design community of emerging graphic designers around the globe.