With skin full of traditional American tattoos and hands adorned with turquoise, David Styer laughs that he’s not too excited to be approaching fifty. Although he jokes about getting older, the professional graphic designer isn’t slowing down anytime soon. SLUG selected Styer’s design for a limited print run after submitting it to SLUGStyer’s recent t-shirt design contest, which is just one of many projects Styer has in the works.
Styer decided to enter the contest because he was convinced he could design something outside of SLUG‘s skull and skateboard designs. “I got pretty proficient,” Styer said, “I can change things quickly, so I thought why not?” The shirt’s art style is more abstract than his usual designs, with flowing lines rolling down a white mountain, with smooth red curls layered on top. After doing some research on this SLUG might like, Styer used The dark angels‘ The 2006 album cover as inspiration, leading to its two-tone design with simple lines. “All of their cover artwork is very similar to the design feel I created.” He explained. “Just simple lines. Kind of a very 60s psychedelic… I guess I tend to lean into music a lot, but that’s been my life,” he recalls. Styer has been an active musician in Salt Lake for 25 years, and he looks to artistic expressions of music and album art to create designs that evoke a similar vibe.
“Each piece can be entirely different depending on the initial idea or what you are given.”
One of Styler’s first significant influences was punk rock. Like punk music, Styer has an unconventional air that is exciting and jumps out at you. For example, Styer and a pal created artwork for one of their album covers that featured Mormon imagery from their upbringing, using contrasting reds and yellows. Styer has also come to love classic country artists, which he features in his other quirky t-shirt designs. “Things [classic country artists] sing are just as counter-culture as anyone kennedy dead songs,” he says.
Besides shirts, Styer has designed things like protein powders, personalized car wraps and wedding invitations (a project, he notes, he will now turn down). A recent favorite project involved a component that goes into a 3D printer. “They let my creativity run wild. They said they wanted it to look wet, and it does,” he laughs. All the other elements were up to his aesthetic eye. Styer also currently working on a collaborative clothing line for wonder. In fact, pop culture and comic books are a recurring theme for this designer. He is the creative director of FanX Salt Lake Pop Culture and Comedy Convention this month. As a designer, Styer creates all graphics for ads, banners and websites. “I don’t own a single comic,” Styer admits, “That’s just part of the job.” As a child, he drew with pen and paper, training in hopes of becoming a comic book artist. These days, his passion isn’t driven by a love of comics, but rather by making people want to come to an event based on what he’s done to help promote it. . “I create all social media – a sense of urgency,” he says.
“Anyone could do anything if they just spent the time learning how to do it.”
Of his process of working with clients, Styer says, “I think that’s just the nature of the job. Each piece could be entirely different just based on the initial idea or what you are given. Styer has always spent a lot of time in the research phase of design, since its inception. Starting out as a Macintosh computer technician, Styer got his hands on the very first version of Photoshop and learned how to create simple flyers. He’s completely self-taught and swears by the power of YouTube, research, and hard work. Although he has a natural eye for creating the right elements, there is more to it.
“I don’t think your eye or your skills are secondary, but you can learn to do anything. Anyone could do anything if they just spent the time learning how to do it. According to Styer, it’s all just creative bustle.
See more of Styer’s work at davestyer.tumblr.comand pre-order his personalized SLUG t-shirt on slugmag.bigcartel.com.
Read more interviews with local artists:
Sage Venna’s journey into creation
Not just a local rapper: an interview with Enzo