Ade is an Art Director, Designer, and Letterer based in Chicago, IL. He has a wonderful job of using his hands to blend the beautiful with the practical. Ade does more than just push pixels; he get to take ideas and turn them into something physical.
Tell me about your early years and where you come from.
I was born in a small town in southern Virginia but moved to North Carolina when I was a kid. I grew up in Asheville, NC and eventually moved to Charlotte, NC to attend college.
How did you first get interested in design?
I didn’t have a background in art/design growing up. I originally went to school for Civil Engineering before eventually deciding that wasn’t something I wanted to pursue anymore. I sort of stumbled into an art class in college and decided that I liked it and I guess the rest is history.
Tell me about the work you've done?
My work covers a pretty wide range of things, but generally speaking, I work with type. I try to introduce custom type and lettering into everything I do, no matter the medium.
What are your proudest accomplishments of your career?
I would say that the accomplishment that I am most proud to date is being featured in Print Magazine as one of their 2017 New Visual Artists. It was an incredible honor to have my work recognized by such a prestigious publication.
What have been your biggest struggles of your career?
I think it’s probably the struggle that so many of us have as creatives, my battle with doubting myself. It’s not easily overcome, but with time and a little patience, you get better at confronting it.
What are you doing that's special that sets you apart from your peers?
I’m not sure if it’s unique, but I am just myself. To me, there’s a lot of value in having your personality shine through your work, your website, and your social media profiles. I want every potential client to feel like they know me before they even speak to me.
What have your experience been as a person of color in the design industry?
I’m not sure what to say other than it’s been my own. I don’t know what it’s like to be a white designer and I don’t know what it’s like to have all your idols look like you. I just know how great it feels to see another designer of color doing work at a high level in design.
What are your biggest motivators?
My single biggest motivator will always be any desire to gain the respect and admiration of my peers in design.
How do your friends and family feel about the work you've done?
Just being able to create things that I truly love. There’s something simply amazing about seeing that vision you’ve had in your head for so long turn into something that’s real and you can touch.
What would you like to see changed about the design field?
Better teamwork. Let’s vouch for each other. Let’s recommend each other. Let’s encourage each other. We’re all in it together and we have to fight for one another.
What are you working on right now, either for work or for yourself?
Oh man, too many things to count. I do a lot of self-initiated things on top of my normal client work, so the list is always long. Right now, I’m really just working on finding ways to empower and uplift others through the things I design. Not fully sure what the end result looks like yet, but I’m working on it.
What advice would you give to folks from similar backgrounds who are in design or hoping to get into it?
Just make the things that you want to see in this world, no matter what other people think or how much the “like” it. Create things for yourself and the people who love you for you will love it too.