Dan Stiles

Well, friends, I am switching things up a bit for today! I said this blog was all about illustration—and it is—but we’re heading in a more graphic direction for today. I just discovered a new designer today by the name of Dan Stiles, and he is awesome!

Dan Stiles is originally from Michigan and is now based in Portland, Oregon. He is best known for his gig posters, but has also created identities for brands, custom packaging, patterns for textiles, collectible art, and work for companies like Nike, AT&T, MTV, and the X Games.

Dan’s work is influenced by japanese design, art deco, art nouveau, comic books, cartoons, vintage packaging, modern art, african art, ancient art, pop culture, graffiti, skateboard decks, punk album covers, and even wallpaper and textile designs. Stiles says basically anything that demonstrates “simplicity, style, and concept” serves as a source of inspiration.

“Simplicity, style, and concept.” Let those words sink in for a moment—they describe his work just perfectly! Check out his work below.

1. Simplicity: Dan doesn’t trap shapes with black outlines. He lets pure, flat color speak for itself on the page. The shapes are extremely simple and graphic. Sure, some of his artwork is more complex because there is more embellishment/decoration created through repetition of shapes and some wild patterning, but the work is still minimalistic. The idea is also minimalistic. Dan has really mastered the art of capturing an “essence.” More on this later.

2. Style: The style stems mostly from his shape quality, patterning, and choice of colors. The shapes are very simple and geometric. Some of the shapes are angular with hard edges, and others are more curvilinear and organic. The way that Stiles arranges the shapes is also very remarkable. Some of the posters are reminiscent of M.C. Escher’s tessellations—the shapes fit almost like pieces of a puzzle and are repeated. In some of his posters, he also experiments with scale: he repeats shapes but changes their sizes and moves them around the frame of reference to create interesting patterns. Lastly, he uses bright colors, which makes his print work very energetic and fun. It’s youthful and fresh.

3. Concept: As I said earlier, Dan has mastered the art of capturing an “essence.” He successfully conveys ideas with an image or fusion of a few images. Take for instance, the yellow poster with Nike: it shows a giant fly with four Nike shoes making up the body. To me, the poster says that Nike shoes let you fly. A fly has wings, and so will you when you run in these shoes. And then we start to think of the feeling you would have if you had wings and could truly fly—you would feel infinite, and no one can stop you. But instead of saying all of that, all we need is the simple fusion of a fly and the shoes to know what it means.

If you want to learn more about Stiles, his work, and his process, check out these interviews I came across, which you can read here and here. And if you want to see more of his work, check out his website!

As always, thanks for reading! And don’t forget to leave a comment!! Whether you loved the post or hated it, I just want to hear from someone!

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