Aaron Draplin looks like a truck driver, swears like a sailor, and designs like a master artist. Through his designs, he is doing his part to preserve Americana.
This guy with a rough exterior sees the beauty in found objects as he rambles through his town of Portland, Oregon, or treks across the country looking for lost things that others may have thrown away or long since forgotten. What excites him is finding a big motel sign still intact from the 1950s or a dusty box holding an oil filter from who knows when that has a timeless design with old type. He's not afraid to get dirty as he and his crew walk the railroad tracks or explore places others would be hesitant to go to find these gems.
Aaron will tell you that the value of a truly great design doesn't always equate to high dollars. The project that wins him little to no money is just as exciting for him as the work he does for big name clients, and each can tell a valuable story.
Aaron hopes his designs will not only make him a decent living but will also help others along the way. Catch Aaron before he retires at 40 because I can guarantee that his talks are as colorful as his language, and he will likely inspire you to make some cool stuff.
Lee Brimelow is a developer evangelist at Adobe who is currently focusing on Flash gaming and HTML5.