Q&A with Designer Aaron Draplin

If you ever heard of the notebook Field Notes, and wondered who was behind the name, it's Aaron Draplin. I had the chance to be a part of a Q&A with him at a local coffee shop recently and wanted to share a few insights.

Field Notes notebooks aren't anything that will completely blow your mind or that are totally revolutionary. They are just solid, handy notebooks you can keep with you at all times. This was really the vision behind them. He wanted something that would be relatively inexpensive and readily available.  Aaron did not create these notebooks in hopes to be rich but built them out of passion for something that he felt could fill a void.

The notebooks are well designed because Aaron also runs Draplin Design Co. He has worked with multiple major clients as well as underground bands, festivals, conferences and small companies. When listening to Aaron, it was very obvious that he was a designer through and through and he loved his craft. He was not a presenter or polished speaker, but that aspect was built out of necessity because of his craft that he has worked on and succeeded in. Many times he even said how surreal it as to be talking to us in front of a microphone. This was clearly where he was not comfortable. Also, he was a wild comedian at times...randomly.

A few things that I learned or thought was insightful during this session:

  1. Sometimes you engage in design projects that are simply business focused and then you have to go home and work on a project that you are passionate about. Not every project is the latest, greatest, most fun project.
  2. Remember who you work for...the client. Sometimes you have to give and take during the design process but be sure to not just go off of a subjective opinion on why you think what you created is best. Tell them how it will be more successful.
  3. Don't trust guys that develop websites. ;) It's hard for a designer because they hold the fate of the project in their hands!
  4. Pricing doesn't have to be exactly set. Ask them, "What is fair for you?" Each scenario is different depending on need, timeline, etc. Work with the client.

For more information on Aaron.

For more information on Field Notes.

DesignJon DeMeoComment