THE MIND OF
MATTSON AN INTIMATE LOOK AT THE WORK OF TY MATTSON
Who is Ty Mattson?
Design, layout and words by Dan Martin Jr.
Best Year Ever
THE MIND OF
Who Is Ty Who Is Ty Who Is Ty A design practitioner who is as comfortable defining brand strategy as he is executing it, Ty is the rare designer who’s business acumen is as strong as his creative ability.
he man behind (and contributing) the magic of Mattel, Maroon5, CocaCola, Hasbro, Discovery Channel, the brilliant LOST and Dexter prints, and so much more is here to answer questions about getting started in the design world, his influences and inspirations and so much more. JYA: Can you tell me a little about your creative process as it relates to creating an identity for a product/business you’ve been hired to work on? TM:The first thing is really listening to a client and understanding what the product/business is about. Sometimes I get a creative brief that is very specific and clear. Other times I need to collaborate with the client in an initial Positioning engagement where we work together to define a verbal articulation of the desired perception.The more we can dial this down to the essential qualities of the brand, the better. From there I do a lot of sketching. Quick,
rough ideas… sometimes more refined studies. I will usually start, and leave it and come back to it later having been thinking about it in the background for a few days. During that time, most everything I see goes through the filter of “how does this pertain to my project”. Most things don’t. But sometimes things do. Unexpected connections that can inspire or influence the design or spark an idea.This is something I do intuitively. I’ve never really thought about it, but it is a very important part of the process.Then I will go back to sketching. Again, these are really rough. More visual notes to myself than finished ideas. Once I have enough concepts that I feel have potential, I will go to the computer and execute and explore various iterations. JYA: Do you think brand development is a natural extension of graphic design? Or was it a deliberate decision on your part to bring the two together? TM: I think the two are intrinsically connected. Brand Development is the big picture. Any touchpoint that someone has with an entity is an interaction that reflects on company and has the potential to communicate the values of the brand. Graphic design plays a role in Brand Design as far as it typically relates to the spectrum of visual expressions of the brand. So I would say that graphic design is one part of overall brand design.
JYA: Aside from sheer talent – how have you been able to build your business from a kid in college playing on illustrator to successful business owner? TM:The short answer is 3 things: talent, initiative and inspiration.Talent is cultivated over time. Ive been a professional designer for 10 years now, so if you do the math, I have spent a lot of time doing this. And that is without counting college or the thousands of hours drawing, painting or making things… since I was a kid.The other part of the answer is taking the initiative. 4
THE MIND OF MATTSON
Mattson? Mattson? Mattson? Some of my favorite projects were selfinitiated. I did the Lost and Dexter prints because I was a fan of the show.
And the first time I ever heard a band called Kara’s Flowers… and a friend told me he knew the guys in the band, I stayed late and designed a bunch of tee-shirts for them. Without them asking. I gave them to my friend and said, show these to the band.They loved them.Then they changed their name to Maroon 5. And I designed their logo and all of their tour merchandise ever since. And through that connection I was able to work with Sara Bareilles, Lenny Kravitz, Dashboard Confessional, Counting Crows, Jakob Dylan, Chris Cornell, etc. And none of it would ever have happened if I had not taken the initiative to design those first shirts. The last part is inspiration.You just have to stay inspired. If the work you’re doing is uninspired, it will show. And if you’re not inspired, then the work won’t be either. So you have to do whatever it takes to cultivate that inspiration in your life and work. It’s essential. JYA: Are you always creating something in the hopes of catching the eye of the right person? Do you see this as a viable option for other designers? TM:The reality is, technology has changed the playing field. Now everyone can see anything by anyone. Before this digital age, you had a very little chance of getting your work seen by the right people.There was hierarchy and structure. Now you can put your work out there and it can be seen and shared by a countless audience. So it comes back to initiative. What would you make if you knew that it would be seen by who you wanted it to? ™
Q & A courtesy of JunkYardArts.com
QUICK FACTS » Favorite Project: His son’s birth announcement » College: University of Michigan at Ann Arbor » Design Studio Location: Irvine, California » Son’s Name: Shepard Carlyle » Wife’s Name: Rhea » Favorite TV Shows: Dexter & Lost » Favorite Quote: Creativity can solve almost any problem.The creative act, the defeat of habit by originality overcomes everything.”
- George Lois
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THE MIND OF MATTSON
Ty Mattson is a Dexter die-hard. When he created this poster series based on the TV show, it turned out to be one...
KILLER PROJECT SEASON 5 SEASON 6
DESIGNING THE POSTERS
fter Ty created posters for the TV show LOST, he began to think of ways to give the same treatment to another one of his favorite shows, Dexter. He was was so inspired that he decided to create one poster design for each season â€“ highlighting the iconic moments from the show. This personal project would quickly turn into official Dexter merchandise! The day after the posters appeared on Ty's blog, Showtime had contacted him about making the posters available in their web store. From here, things only get better. As Ty gets to the studio to drop off the artwork to some of the writers and producers, he runs into the star of the show, Michael C. Hall! Then, after a tour of the set he was offered a walkon role! It doesn't get much better than that. When Ty originally created the posters, only seasons one through four were included because those were the only seasons that had fully aired by that time. As soon as the newest season would end, Ty would have a new poster ready to go.
For this poster series, Ty was inspired by mid-century modern design and particularly the work of Saul Bass â€“ who developed both static graphics as well as animated title sequences. Ty would later collaborate with his friends at Fashion Buddha to create an alternative title sequence for Dexter using the artwork that he developed for the posters. The amazing perks that came from this project aren't over yet. Every copy of Dexter: Season Five that was sold at Target featured mini-prints of Ty's posters, and he was even interviewed and filmed for the bonus features on the DVD release. When it came time to create the poster for season five, Mr. Mattson thought it would be a great idea to show his fans his design process in a time-lapsed video. He documented the entire project from start to finish, so that you could see everything that goes into making the print. It really brought the artwork to life! The posters have also been recognized in several design annuals including Communication Arts and Print Magazine.
THE MIND OF MATTSON
PRINTING THE POSTERS
he Dexter posters were printed by Vahalla Studios in Kansas City, Missouri. When it comes to screen printing, these guys are the best! The prints are three color process on Super Thick French Black Licorice Paper. Since the project is being printed on black, they do a double hit of the white, followed by the pink layer prints, and the red is done last. As you can see, the printing is one messy process, but the results are well worth it. The posters came out beautiful. They are currently available for purchase in limited quantities through the Showtime web store. While you're there, you can check out more of the work that Ty has done for Dexter. â„˘
BUCKLE UP FOR ANOTHER THRILLING RIDE
WITH YOUR DARK PASSENGER
SEASON 7 BEGINS FALL 2012
hen it comes to creating a company’s identity,Ty is your guy. From corporations to bands, people reach out to Mr. Mattson because they know he creates a quality product every time. His visual story telling skills are second to none. Ty takes your brand beyond the logo including merchandise, stationary, and even smart phone apps that harmonize perfectly with your logo. His work truly brings a brand to life. See for yourself... ™
So, what is Crazy Hare? It’s a racing/lifestyle brand.The logo they ended up choosing is on the botttom right. FEBRUARY 2012
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stationary and more amazingness
Es t ear ver
"On March 13, 2010 my son, Shepard, was born. Of all the things Iâ€™ve ever created or designed, I will never do better than this."
2010 2010 2010 2010
ictured above is the birth announcement that Ty created for his son. He calls this his favorite project, for his favorite client.
Ty wrote on his blog that his number-one highlight from 2010 was becoming a dad. He went on to say that, "words just could never describe the joy that he is, in my life." In regards to the design process, Ty said, "When I found out that we were going to have a boy, I started to think about my own childhood and all of the things I loved when I was a kid. So I wanted to design an announcement that celebrated those things and captured that particular idea of boyhood wonder and adventure." Shepard's birth announcement was also featured in HOW Magazine. â„˘ 14
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nother highlight for Ty came when he designed eight posters inspired by the TV show LOST. The posters were a personal initiative that turned into so much more. After Ty uploaded them to his blog, he received an overwhelmingly positive response to the designs. This led to some incredible opportunities and experiences over the next few months. ABC actually made the prints available online as official LOST merchandise! Being that Ty is a huge fan of the show, this couldn't have made him happier. But this was just the beginning. He was invited to visit Bad Robot and the Lost Writers’ Office on the Disney lot. He got to meet the writers, producers and even some of the show’s cast. The posters on the bottom of the page were intitally designed to hype up the premiere of Season Six, and the poster to the left features images that depict every episode from the last season of LOST. These posters were also featured in HOW Magazine. ™
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