Graphic Design - Illustration - Photography


Here’s where I write some stuff about me and then try to filter it down to something easily digestible. That probably won’t happen, but I’m going to try. This should be considered a live document and subject to update.

Oops, I became a graphic designer.

Me, N. Shane Martin, some years ago when I accidentally became a graphic designer.

I was always a doodler. At some point in my single-digit years I received a Crayola drafting set. That really changed the way I approached drawing. Everything was tighter, lines were straighter, and circles were more round. This was the art I wanted to do. I really thought that engineering and drafting were in my future.

In that same timeframe, I was beginning to dabble in music. I really wanted to be a drummer. And I became one, in the middle school band. And then just a year later I became a tuba player. And then a year after that I picked up a bass guitar. And a year after that a guitar. I was going to be a musician one way or another.

These things all lead to this: oops, I became a graphic designer. Partially by accident, or necessity, it’s just what I’ve ended up doing. Back then, the bands I played in needed art for flyers, cassette J-cards, AOL instant messenger profiles, and Angelfire/Geocities websites. I’ve copied and pasted from clipart books on copy machines in libraries while on tour with my band. I’ve labored over underpowered computers with outdated software. But lately, I have a nice chair in my office, a cat in my lap, and Adobe CC on a nearly silent computer, with my vinyl collection just a few steps away.

Graphic design, with a heavy emphasis on spot color artwork for screen printing, vinyl, and embroidery, has been my day job for the last 15 years. My time is pretty evenly split between making a client’s idea into something that is a stronger representation of their original vision and creating new, fresh, and original designs that work in the screen print medium. This is a step I see overlooked by new designers. They will create fantastic art but when it comes time to put it on a shirt the design either becomes difficult to reproduce due to the number of colors or level of detail.

I prefer to create spot color artwork with bold lines, chunky fonts, and occasionally some halftones. I love Illustrator but Photoshop and I have an understanding that I won’t ask too much from it as long as it does what I ask.

Oh, I was never a full-time musician. It’s still fun to think about, and I’d like to keep it that way, says the guy that’s currently juggling three bands and session work.

Quick Resume
2020 – Present: Designer/Creative Director – The Sweet Tee Co
2016 – 2019: Designer/Art Director – Hultman
2012 – 2016: Designer – Action Sports
2011 – 2012: Printer’s Devil – Minuteman Press
2008 – Present: Freelance Designer

Chancellors Certificate in Electronic Art and Publishing – University of Missouri, St. Louis
Chancellors Certificate in Web and Graphic Design – University of Missouri, St. Louis