Rebel Feature: Michael Adams, designer & illustrator

Designer Michael Adams

We fell in love with Michael Adams’ design work on Instagram. His custom type work and illustration provided the perfect mix of history, grit and a bit of playfulness that we really connected with. “I feel like I've always been a sense of a renaissance man,” he says. “I love using my hands and always try to express my craftsmanship though everything I do.”   

So when he said he’d help us with our branding, we were psyched. We also worked with Michael to create the Freedom Flag as well as the design for the Liberty or Death Pin. Inspired by his creativity and commitment to his craft, we asked Michael a few questions about his process and his day-to-day.

designer michael adams

When did you first know you wanted to be a designer?

I always knew from my teenage years I wanted to do something creative and not ordinary. I started skating at the age of 10 and all the the art influences of the skateboarding world have really pushed me to follow a passion for art and design. Surrounding yourself with creative and positive friends is a huge motivation.

Where do you find inspiration?

I’m trying to get more and more books to find inspiration from as I find books more inspiring than the internet. I am usually drawn more toward a modern vintage style of design, stuff that is sorta grainy and not completely refined. I’ve been traveling a bit in the last year (my girlfriend and I lived in London for good amount of time) and being able to see other countries has been a huge inspiration and influence on design for me. And skateboarding—there is so much history and art/design in that scene, I feel its always keeping my mind fresh with new ideas.  

Designer Michael Adams skateboarding

What does a typical day look like for you when you're working?

First things first, I need to have music on and a coffee in hand. It’s the perfect way to get in the groove for drawing. I’ve been listening to Timber Timbre, The Clash and The Growlers lately, along with a lot of other indie folk, rock and surfer-style music. Sometimes I like to just sketch random things before jumping into a project. I usually start sketching out on tracing paper with continuous refining versions, and all while usually trying to keep my cat from laying all over my stuff.  

What do you most like to do when you're not working?

If I’m not working, you will find me hanging out with friends and my lovely girlfriend. Or out skateboarding. And still drawing [laughs].

Do you have any advice for people looking to follow their passions full time?

Pushing ahead and staying focused on your dreams can help you fulfill your passions. I was lost at one point when I thought I wanted to work in film. I went to college for 2 years and realized I was not interested and it wasn’t really my thing, but I never looked at it as failing or a set back. I felt enlightened that I had every possibility open for me now and I could do whatever I wanted to. So I started to paint and draw a bit more. I finally got back to what my true calling was and went for it.  

Follow Michael on Dribbble and Instagram.

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