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Conversations with Aric Dohm

Today we’d like to introduce you to Aric Dohm. 

Hi Aric, so excited to have you on the platform. So, before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
My Dad once told me when I was younger, “Aric, if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life!”, and he was right! 

My attraction to illustration and design started at a really young age. When I was around 4 years old, I loved to draw, I also loved semi-trucks, and deeply desired to be a truck driver when I grew up. I would see trucks, memorize how they looked, and then I’d draw them in detail. A few years later, I wanted to be a dinosaur, and I drew them on absolutely everything, including the walls, to my parent’s dismay. You can just imagine how bummed I was when I realized I could never be a real dinosaur. I’m still recovering from that… 

Fast forward a few years to the late 80s, my passion was skateboarding and punk rock. The imagery in the skateboard graphics and the covers on the punk albums caught my eye and I loved the attitude behind the scene. I really couldn’t tell you what I learned in science or math classes because I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to be a rocket scientist or a brain surgeon at a pretty young age. I was too busy doodling the logos of my favorite skate companies and punk rock bands on my notebooks. The skate and punk scene came out with some of the most memorable logos for me. They were simple, yet they spoke volumes about what they represented. I’ve always had this weird fascination with logos, I loved how something so simple could say so much and I felt like I was a part of something. 

I moved to Lake Tahoe in 1995 and spent a few years being a snowboard bum. I went to college at the Lake Tahoe Community College and studied Business and Marketing, but had the most fun learning the Adobe Design Suite, so I ran with it. I started a skateboard manufacturing company called Hades Skateboards. I used my knowledge of design and advertising to design the logo, the graphics on the skateboards, the ads in magazines, and everything else it took to run an operation of that magnitude, for just short of a decade. It was a lot of fun, but if you run a skateboard company, do it for the love of it, it’s really hard to get ahead in the skate industry…I didn’t…I failed. 

After Hades ran its course, I began doing design projects for my friend’s companies, helping out a local print shop doing a lot of layout work, and working with a friend at a t-shirt shop designing logos and shirt graphics. In the meantime, I kept getting busier with new clients coming to me for design projects for companies that were either looking to launch or rebrand. I was finally making a pretty good living doing what I loved to do, creating logos and brands, and helping entrepreneurs bring their ideas to life. Like my dad said, “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” I stay pretty busy, but I never feel like I really “work” because I do love what I do. 

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
One of the biggest obstacles in my career path is the fear of failure, or the client not liking what I come up with…which I guess constitutes failure. God knows I have failed a lot in my past. But that comes with learning, you learn from your mistakes, try not to take them to heart, and move on. Over the years, I have learned how to not only be a designer but how to run the business of design. The biggest part of working with a new client is getting in their head and figuring out just exactly what they need. The design part is fairly easy once you know what they are looking for, but that can be the hard part, figuring that out. The design process starts by asking them questions about their business and getting on the same page with them before you even start to gather design ideas. 

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I guess you can call me a brand identity designer, first and foremost. I help individuals and businesses create the face of their new venture by designing logos, selecting color palettes and fonts that will work for their client demographic, graphics that they can use on social media and websites, and patterns to use as background images, and textures, apparel graphics, etc. There is a pretty long list of items that can go into a brand identity and each company is different. That is why I generally start with a question-and-answer intake interview so I know what the client’s needs are. 

I love working with companies that are open to new ideas and like my style of design. One of my favorite clients that I have established a great relationship with is Go Fast Girls. They pretty much let me just run with ideas and we have come up with some great designs for their brand. I remember the day Bear (the owner of GFG) came to me with this idea. I had worked with him on a few projects in the past, but he had a new idea for an all women’s apparel line that would cater to women in motorsports, and be an entity that he could develop and eventually pass on to his daughters who are avid motocross competitors and motorsports enthusiasts as they got older. Bear went away on a vacation after our initial conversation, and by the time he got back, I had a logo concept ready for him. We wanted to keep it bold so the logo could be seen on both sides of the track, keep the brand colors primarily black and white to keep that rich contrast, but add highlights of the brightest pink known to man…and women, and add the soft cursive flair of the scriptwriting to appeal to the female demographic. The ball was “knocked out of the park” to quote Bear, and GFG was born. Today you can find them at almost all motorsports events in the Western United States with a line in front of their massive trailer, selling out of their inventory at almost every spot. It has been such a pleasure working with Bear and his family on this and I look forward to continuing the relationship for years to come! 

How can people work with you, collaborate with you, or support you?
The best way to collaborate with me is to either email me, text me, or make a good old’ fashioned telephone call and we can talk about your project to see if I’m available and a good fit for your ideas. I work with a wide variety of clients and the images here, on my website, and on social media are just a small sample of the companies I’ve worked with. So please don’t hesitate to get a hold of me, I love meeting new people, finding out what their challenges are, and helping them come to a fitting solution. 

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