Patrick Dean’s Design Work for Trader Joe’s

Patrick Dean is an Athens Georgia-based creator. His comics and illustrations appeared weekly in Athens’ Flagpole Magazine for a decade and have been published in Legal Action Comics, Typhon, The Comic Eye, Vice Magazine, and The Oxford American Magazine Since late May he has worked for Athens Trader Joe’s, where they have put his artistic skills to good use. Dean has been kind enough to share some of the work and explain why it appeals to him.

“The thing I enjoy most about doing these is it allows me to think strategically and work in an efficient manner without making the signs looked rushed. The large boards we hang on the end of the aisles are on thick masonite boards, which we spray paint a single color and then use thick and medium sized chisel-tipped paint pens to draw the signs with. We’re assigned a theme every month, work on them a month head of time, all while adding smaller signs for the current month’s theme. The signs stay up for a month and once they’re done, we spray paint over them. Since they’re all temporary, we (the four crew members on the art team) take time making the signs look eye catching and bold, but we also try not to fret over too many details since we know it will be painted over. Even the smaller signs, which are done on foam board, are eventually painted over and cut up for other projects. There’s something about the artwork having this important and presentable purpose, but ultimately winds up being destroyed for new function that I like.”

 “Anything I draw for them, I put a lot of effort in without spending all day on, which allows me to keep on schedule with everything going on in the store. I’ve started over on signs before where I felt like something wasn’t working or taken a suggestion from one of the other artists (who are fantastic, by the way), but ultimately this job has built up my confidence. Sometimes products sell quickly and we have to change a sign, so we have a quick turnaround getting the new one up. When I get off work, I take those lessons home with me while I’m inking and lettering this 190 page comic I’m working on. It’s a swell place to work. I like everyone I work with and there’s almost always a fresh pot of coffee in the break room.”

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