Commissioned artist for CBS. Aspiring astronaut. Potential vampire.
There’s a lot to learn about graphic designer Ryan Lynn, as you’ll find in the following interrogation, like how his weekends are spent recharging his batteries and how his day job, at 4O1! Creative, provided him his first foray into the world of Agent Palmer.
Agent Palmer [AP]: Starting with the basics, what city do you currently reside in and how long have you lived there?
Ryan Lynn [RL]: I’ve lived in Allentown, PA my whole life.
[AP]: Are you married?
[RL]: I am married to my wife Michelle.
[AP]: Do you have any kids?
[RL]: We have a little son, Nate. He is awesome.
[AP]: What is your current profession and do you have any side jobs or professions?
[RL]: By day, I am a graphic designer at a cool place called 4O1! creative. By night, I make screen printed posters and art prints and other cool stuff.
[AP]: Does working as a graphic design all day at 4O1! Creative ever burn you out for working on your own Ryan Lynn Design stuff at night?
[RL]: Yeah, it happens. My own stuff is pretty different though, so it’s not everyday.
[AP]: Do you ever incorporate Nate or Michelle as critics to your works-in-progress and have they ever helped you come up with or flesh out an idea?
[RL]: My wife is also a graphic designer, so sometimes I’ll get her input. The only thing I’ll get from Nate though is usually, “Pfffftttthhhhhh”
[AP]: Was being a graphic designer/artist your first choice for a career path?
[RL]: Sort of. I always knew I wanted to do something with art. I always just kinda thought that meant “be an art teacher”. Until I took a computer art class in high school and discovered the wonderful world of graphic design.
[AP]: When did you find your talent? Was it in school doodling? If it was a learned skill, was there a class that really boosted your interest?
[RL]: Totally in school doodling. My school notebooks were more like sketchbooks.
[AP]: Do you ever look back on those doodles and think of how far you have come? Have you ever repurposed one of your old doodles?
[RL]: I found a folder of drawings in the attic once. But, I prefer to try and move forward and not look at stuff I did from a long time ago (because it suuuuucks).
[AP]: Some people are naturally talented others learn it. Did you come by it naturally or was it learned from the school you attended?
[RL]: Both. I’ve been into art my whole life, but I’ve learned how to do it along the way. When it comes to Graphic Design, I learned all that at Kutztown University.
[AP]: Let’s take a look at what really makes you tick… What are your favorite movies?
[RL]: Hmmm tough one. The Batman trilogy, a lot of sci fi stuff like Moon, and comedies like Wet Hot American Summer.
[AP]: Which Batman Trilogy, the Dark Knight one of recent times? And come on, how about Adam West Batman?
[RL]: Haha, the recent ones. I loved Adam West batman too when I was little. But once I saw the 1989 Batman, I was over the campy-ness.
[AP]: Favorite television shows?
[RL]: Definitely the Simpsons. The first 9-10 seasons are perfect. And Arrested Development.
[AP]: Favorite music?
[RL]: Lately, I’ve been into bands like Real Estate and Ducktails. And the new Every Time I Die record.
[AP]: Favorite sports team?
[RL]: Living an hour north of Philly has left me no choice but to be a die hard Eagles fan.
[AP]: Favorite ways to spend your free time?
[RL]: When I’m not hangin’ with my family or making art, I like to ride motorcycles.
[AP]: What kind of bike to you have? Where and when do you like to ride? Why do you like to ride?
[RL]: I have a Honda. I like to ride whenever I get time. It’s nice to go on long trips (before I had a kid)-there’s this feeling of accomplishment when you get to somewhere far away on a motorcycle.
[AP]: What or where is the most productive and/or creative setting for you to accomplish your design work?
[RL]: My studio setup that is in my basement. There’s not a whole lot of distractions down there. Or light.
[AP]: You like to work in the dark? Are you a Vampire?
[RL]: No, I don’t think so. If I was I’d be way more interesting.
[AP]: Who are your favorite artists? Why?
[RL]: When it comes to poster artists, I really love the work of Drew Millward, Kevin Tong, Daniel Danger, and Graham Erwin. All typical heavy hitters in the poster scene. Locally, my friend Giancarlo has been a huge inspiration. My house is full of their work. I like those guys because they each have their own style that you can recognize that it’s them. Also, they’re all pretty nice and have taken the time to answer dumb questions from an amateur just starting out (I’m talking about me).
[AP]: What impact has their advice had on what you do and how you do it?
[RL]: The questions I ask are usually process oriented. Like, how to do a certain technique or where’s a good place to go for printing, etc. As a result I’ve been able to tighten up my process.
[AP]: Speaking of advice, what is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
[RL]: “No one reads”
[AP]: What exactly does that mean?
[RL]: Most of the time, people skim and look at pictures. I try to design accordingly.
[AP]: What is the best advice you could give to someone.
[RL]: Do what makes you happy.
[AP]: From that very advice, what hasn’t been checked off your bucket list that you’d like to do?
[RL]: I hope commercial space travel is a thing before I kick the bucket.
[AP]: Just for an Earth orbit or for travel to destinations i.e. the Moon or Mars?
[RL]: Mars! Who wouldn’t want to go to Mars?
[AP]: As we do have the technology to go to Mars, that same technological boom has changed how art is made, created and even drawn. What are your thoughts on art as technology encroaches on drawing by hand?
[RL]: Art ultimately still comes from the artist. Now there are Wacom tablets and computers used along the way. I say technology is just another tool, like a mechanical pencil.
[AP]: Professionally or in your side projects, what are some of your big successes?
[RL]: Over the winter I was commissioned by CBS Films to create a poster for a movie called “Afflicted”. When I got the call, I pumped my fist in the air so hard I almost threw out my shoulder. It ended up being one of the most challenging and rewarding projects I’ve ever done and I was really happy with the way it turned out. You can pick one up here in my shop.
[AP]: How did this come about?
[RL]: Actually, I have no idea how they found me. I didn’t want to ask them because I didn’t want to sound like a n00b.
[AP]: In the interest of full disclosure, 401! Creative helped design my current site. You were the main graphic designer behind this current design. I am not the usual clientele you design for at 401!. Was it refreshing to do a smaller or less professional (more fun) design?
[RL]: Definitely. I like the “smaller” clients. There is a lot more freedom because you don’t always have to stay within an established brand. And, usually they are more open to suggestions.
[AP]: What was it like working with me?
[RL]: Great! We’ve worked together a lot before, so it was sort of “business as usual”.
[AP]: Did I pay you to say that?
[RL]: Next question…
[AP]: What do you think of the way it turned out?
[RL]: I’m pretty psyched on how it came out- definitely an improvement from the old Agent Palmer.
[AP]: Is there anywhere in the process where you were like “this guy should do this” or “I really think this would be great” or even “why don’t we do more fun designs like this”?
[RL]: I’m just glad we were able to convince you to lose the tag cloud on every page.
[AP]: Oh, tag clouds… Anyway, as an artist, what inspires you to start a new project?
[RL]: As much of a cop out answer as this seems- inspiration really comes from anywhere. Sometimes I have an idea while running or listening to a song.
[AP]: Do you turn around and start running home to get the inspiration on paper so you don’t lose it?
[RL]: No, I can usually remember until I get home (I can’t run that far). I keep a little sketchbook by my desk also- just in case.
[AP]: Is there a medium you want to break into?
[RL]: Recently, I just started screen printing. I love it so far!
[AP]: What can you tell us about any upcoming projects?
[RL]: I’ve recently been doing more gig posters while learning how to screen print. There will also likely be illustrations of astronauts or deep sea divers in precarious situations.
[AP]: What is it about the unknowns of space and the deep blue that captivates you?
[RL]: I like the extremes of space and the ocean. There is stuff in the ocean of our own planet that we haven’t discovered yet- which blows me away.
[AP]: How well do you manage your time? And how do you or don’t you manage it?
[RL]: I try to stay on a pretty consistent grind. I like to not do any work on the weekends to give me time to “recharge my batteries”.
[AP]: So you don’t even work on Ryan Lynn Designs on the weekends? Do you ever sleep? Are you sure you aren’t a Vampire?
[RL]: Well, I thought I wasn’t a vampire, but the fact that you keep asking me is starting to make me doubt myself…
So there you have it. Sit a person down in a dark room, shine a bright light in their face, and they’ll tell you pretty much everything – including things about themselves that they didn’t even know.
Find more from Ryan Lynn online at www.ryanlynndesign.com, or on Twitter @ryanlynndesign, or on Instagram @ryanlynndesign, or even on Facebook at facebook.com/RyanLynnDesign, seriously, he’s everywhere… But all joking aside, he does have a shop where prints and wearable art can be purchased, and for commissions, which I’m sure he probably doesn’t do, but which I never asked him about, you can reach him at email@example.com.