Tall Tales From a Large Man: Aaron Draplin

Curator: Firebelly Design
date: December 13, 2013
Categories: Advertising, Brand & Identity Design, Entertainment Design, Packaging Design, Typography
All-American design (Photo: David Nakamoto)

Aaron Draplin has to be the hardest working designer in the country.

Throughout this week on Design Envy, each of our posts will feature an aspect that we value greatly within our studio. Today’s post speaks to commitment.

Here’s what I know about Aaron James Draplin from the 45 minutes I got to hear him speak at the “Head Heart Hand: AIGA Design Conference.”

1. He’s the real deal.
2. He loves his family.
3. He’s f***ing committed.

Aaron has spent the last few years touring the country, driving from venue to venue, staying in motels and sharing his story in a fashion much like I imagine Zeppelin did in the ’70s. And if you’ve had the opportunity to hear him speak firsthand, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Not only does he give a presentation worthy of a Grammy, but he speaks from his heart with passion and allegiance. 

His gratitude to his parents, his gal Leigh and his pup Gary is unwavering and repeatedly showcased during his show. That is why it broke my heart when I heard that the day after he presented at “Head, Heart, Hand,” his father passed away suddenly, on his way home, after seeing Aaron speak. Having lost someone suddenly myself, I know the feeling of the rug being pulled out from under you, falling into a deep, dark hole.

Aaron could have decided to cancel the rest of the tour dates and no one would have questioned his reasoning, but he chose to push on, to continue his “business of kicking the s*** out of life,” as he says on his blog.

Aaron, I salute you and I hope our paths cross again so I can give you a great big hug. You deserve it, my friend. Your dedication, not only to the people you love but to those you haven’t even met, is one for the record books. Your dad would certainly be proud.

Aaron speaking at the Walker Art Center

The DDC Road Show

The merch table

Father and son, fall 2004.

Highly recommend seeing him live, but if that’s not possible, here’s what you’re missing.

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