The vibrantly colored design painted on the wall in the Fine Arts building indicate where the Mad Lab can be found. Students have the opportunity to bring their digital creation into reality.
Kyle, a 24-year-old Graphic Design Major at Indiana University. He has been creating designs and freelance photographing for over five years, starting with his own clothing brand Nice Fits.
Kyle talks with a student, who needed help creating her project for a class. Since he only works with walk-in’s he uses his free time to make new designs and innovate.
Finishing up his brand logo, Nice Fits, he glares at the dimensions until they are perfect. Monteilh preaches that, “there is no negative to being a hard worker,” showing by example during his lengthy design process.
Measuring out the dimensions of his blank piece of acrylic, Kyle figures out the numbers he must scale his design to fit to the limited material available. He preaches the idea of measuring twice so he only must cut once, saving resources and time.
The drawer of materials where designs can be etched into. Each weekend he works in the lab, if not physically creating, then he is drawing and designing for one to make in the future.
The laser cutter in Mad Lab 1. This $2,000 piece of machinery cuts, engraves, and marks wood, plastic, and vinyl.
Monteilh places his acrylic material in the machine after measuring the dimensions, here he is adjusting the laser depth. To get a creation to come out the way you want, one must account for negative space that is created by the laser cutting.
The laser cuts his design into the acrylic material. The laser is made of photons, which has no mass, so it can be said that the laser beam itself does not have a temperature.
Monteilh pulls his art from the machine, watching the negative space appear from the falling letters. The time of the entire cutting process varies upon how intricate a design being made is.
The final product laid out on the desk. Nice Fits came to fruition in Monteilh’s bedroom in Hisperia, California.
Montielh holds up a piece of his project before me. In his time other than designing he is a freelance photographer.
Graphic design is one of the oldest elements of art, dating back to about 18,500 years ago when cavemen were spitting berries over their hands to make pictures on cave walls. But when we think about graphic design today we imagine computers and software, making digital ideas into a physical reality. With new technology advancing, 3D printers, laser cutters, and vinyl presses are quickly becoming part of the hands on learning experience involved in the trade. This story will take you down the path of what kinds of freedom of expression and infinite creation that can be.
This photo story captures the essence of design in progress. Because no successful idea is brought about with no preparation and it always includes a process.
Indiana University has one of the most lucrative Design programs in the country, and that’s where I met Kyle Monteilh. Now a senior getting his B.F.A. in graphic Design, Kyle has had his hands in graphic design for over five years now. He now works in the Mad Lab I on Indiana’s campus where I found him, located inside of the Fine Arts Building. He assists other students with their projects and makes his own when he has an idea he wants to bring to life.
With art majors all around, the aura of the environment was inviting and welcoming to my reporting.
Monteilh was a soft-spoken person, but his head is flooding with different ideas, all I had to do was ask him a few opening questions and everything about him came out.
“It was just something I’ve known that I wanted to do…realizing everything that you can do within the software programs, and it was an easy feeling that I knew it was something I wanted to do for a while,” said Monteilh. In picture two of twelve we see him for the first time, he had just finished creating his design after hours of work. The dedication is read across his face, from his tired eyes to his almost grinning lips. He just finished recreating a new version of his Nice Fits logo, an aspiring clothing line of him and his cousin that he had given up in light of getting his education. “I just had a bunch of ideas and he would draw them out. Kind of like an overflowing glass of water.”
He kept telling me that it was all a process, even after watching him change every aspect of his design a handful of times to make sure the dimensions were perfect. Picture five brings this idea out, “measure twice, cut once,” Kyle said to me as he looked over the piece of acrylic that was soon to be his work of art.
Once he placed his slate in the printer, measured the laser distance and triple-checked his dimensions, he was finally ready to let the laser cutter bring his digital design into a reality.
In a span of about ten minutes the laser ran through the acrylic like butter, etching and cutting his creation. Kyle quickly grabbed his art, watching the letters fall through he immediately found imperfections that could have been approached differently. His demeanor at this point gave the message that he was upset over not getting it perfect, but he expressed that “You get out what you put into it, there’s no excuse to not be the hardest worker you can be. Period.”
The story of graphic design goes beyond just Kyle’s work. It’s not his degree that makes him stand out; it’s his way of approaching life itself. He’s a great graphic designer but his motivation is what keeps his ideas fresh. “Be what you want to be,” Monteilh says, “break rules…break boundaries.” His ambition says it all, but that’s not what brings him to design every day. He wanted me to leave with one notion from my experience watching him design, “Don’t take shortcuts, they show up in your work,” his ability to be himself and enjoy the process is what makes him more than just a graphic designer.