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Middle age and 'slowing this whole mess down', with Aaron Draplin

We never really know how we’ll feel when we turn 30 or even 40. For some, it’s no big deal; for others, it can be a shock to the system. Where does the time go? And how do we keep going with work, responsibilities? How do we even stay relevant in the creative industry when so much new and young talent floods into the market every year?

And what about turning 50? For our next guest, it proved to be quite an earth-shattering event. is a legendary graphic designer who began his career in the snowboarding world before he went solo and worked for clients as big as Nike, Burton, Esquire, Ford Motor Company, and even the Obama Administration.

Any creative will know that Draplin is a huge name in the industry and is always around on the festival circuit. He’s also been featured on and talks at Google. In 2019, he designed the Star Ribbon, a US postal stamp. He is the co-founder and designer for the brand.

With so much success, you’d think he was happy to continue this momentum. But turning 50 last year changed everything. Draplin wants to slow down. Perhaps embrace minimalism. Figure out how to do less. And focus on more of the stuff that matters.

But is it easy for someone who’s never been shy of hard work to slacken the pace? Can Draplin find a way to stop running when he’s still got a decent amount of time left to design – if that’s what he wants to do? Or is graphic design becoming less of a priority? We sat down with Draplin to see where his head is at in 2024.

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