Matt Thompson Design Co., Austin, Texas
Makin' Waves in Austin, Texas
Matt Thompson, cofounder of Sturdy MFG in Austin, Texas, has always had an interest in design, primarily logos when he was a kid, which he would draw over and over again. When his family got a computer he was drawn to fonts and he began collecting them and finding different typefaces online. Thompson’s love of design, led to many experiments making posters, CD covers and shirts for his band. He ended up attending the Art Institute of Austin, and graduated at the end of 2012.
During that time, Thompson developed a keen sense of branding, typography, and illustration. “I was able to focus all of my time into refining my skills and processes to develop a general style. I learned most from the small group of friends I made while at school, and within the three internships I took near the end of my degree with Marc English, Helms Workshop, and Guerilla Suit,” he says.
Along with Drew Lakin, Thompson founded Sturdy MFG Co., a multi-disciplinary design studio in January 2013. “We opened Sturdy after the realization that design positions that would fit either of us in Austin were few and far between. We wanted to make something happen on our own for ourselves, our way,” Thompson says. “The name was decided upon in the true sense of the phrase, ‘manufacturing sturdy design,’ that holds up over time and doesn’t go out of style.” Two years in, Lakin accepted a full-time position at Helms Workshop, while Thompson continues working under the Sturdy MFG Co. brand doing packaging, logos, typography, and illustration.
“I’m always sketching, so everything I create starts with pencil and paper, even if it’s ultimately rough. If I can get an idea roughed out on paper, it makes it that much smoother then re-producing it for final output,” he explains of his process. “If I’m drawing type or creating an illustration, I will draw a few versions of it making various adjustments I may think of while drawing. Then once I can no longer find any major adjustments necessary, I will either ink it, or scan it in to my computer and digitally reproduce it. I’m always exploring various pencils and pens to see if there are any major advantages, but lately I’ve been using a 4B pencil and a .08 micron. I also use a heavy range of digital production tools and techniques (not all at once) that I’ve created or learned for various pieces. I like to have fun and learn new things, so I change it up a lot, and I do a lot of random exploration and experimentation.”
Team Yacht Club
Team Yacht Club is a cycling race team based in Austin, that has a strong roster of riders of various disciplines from Road, Mountain, and Cyclocross. I’ve had the pleasure of joining the team recently in the midst of the 2015 Cyclocross season, so I’m new, but they’ve been a team since 2012.
TYC member and one of my long time friends Tyler Nutter, approached me with a basic idea of making a metal influenced shirt with a Kraken, so I took that and ran with it. I did a pencil sketch and got the idea approved. When it came time to do the lettering, I looked at various old books of mythology, which the Kraken figure is derived from, to see what kind of feel would be appropriate. A lot of what I found was in Blackletter, so I took that inspiration and created some less intricate Blackletter letterforms and worked it out. The TYC on the front is mimicking the bigger “team yacht club” from the main back graphic. I have a thing for lightning bolt shapes in swashes.
Learn more about Matt’s work at mattthompson.design.
Edited by Emily Potts