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In the Making

Notes from the Field with Aaron Draplin

In the Making
In the Making

Inspiration is on tap as Teresa Au speaks to graphic designer, entrepreneur, and author Aaron Draplin. Known as much for his warm and direct personality as for his signature thick lines design style and ample use of Pantone Orange 21, Aaron is beloved by designers everywhere. Aaron shares lessons gleaned from his midwestern upbringing, nearly 20 years in business on his own, and creating his Field Notes and DDC branded merchandise.

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What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • What Aaron wishes he knew when he went out on his own
  • Be professional on your way out of a role or project
  • Why you should take every job that comes your way
  • Lessons learned from challenging jobs and people
  • How to control your own time
  • The value of keeping your word
  • What you can learn from your clients that can help you in your own business
  • Use merchandise to make your business look as big–or as small–as you wish
  • How Aaron started the Field Notes brand
  • When it’s time to bring in a team
  • Is passive income actually passive?
  • Taking on big jobs allows Aaron to do little things to help his friend and family
  • Corporate clients don’t have to mean endless meetings and emails
  • A big client can also be a passion job
  • Give clients what they need, not necessarily what they think they want
  • Which design students make the best audiences
  • What Aaron learned from his Dad
  • The importance of appreciating the people who help you get your work done
  • Aaron’s dream gig
  • Aaron’s list of words for 2024

Aaron Draplin is founder of the Draplin Design Co. a shop specializing in Print, Identity and Illustration. He co-created Field Notes brand with Jim Coudal, and their memo books are sold the world over. He is the author of eight Skillshare classes, and the book Pretty Much Everything . His DDC Merch line is a cult favorite, featuring 300+ products. You’ll find Aaron in his backyard studio in Portland, Oregon, or crossing the US in his orange van, putting on “speaking fiascos” for audiences ranging from Adobe MAX to vocational school students.

Teresa Au (@tautastic) is an executive for community engagement and driving customer empathy at Adobe.

Learn more about this podcast, and find transcripts and links, at adobe.ly/inthemaking.

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Past episodes of Wireframe can still be found in the show archive within this feed, or online on Behance.

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