[0:21] Intro
[1:40] Nate’s start as an artist.
[5:28] The transition to branding.
[5:28] Moving from pure music design to work based on conversion
[15:51] The difference in process for web design vs physical design
[19:10] How has design changed in the last ten years, and what will be different in the next ten?
[26:50] Final Thoughts.

Chris is joined by Nate Azark, of 12 Line Studio, to talk about art, design, and conversion. They chat about Nate’s start as an artist, his transition from analog to digital design, his thoughts on art versus design in general and whether art needs to be sacrificed for conversion, and what trends Nate sees coming over the next ten years.

Nate has gone from his personal love for art, which began as a kid encouraged by his parents, and is still his favorite way of relaxing. He went from doing some branding for different companies to being hired as a webmaster for XRT, a radio station in Chicago. Once on staff at XRT he started his transition into the digital design world and had to adapt to a new design language.

After working entirely in the digital realm, designing for XRT and CBS Radio, he had the idea to start drawing band posters for small club shows the station put on. Nate says that going back to creating designs by hand gave him the creative resurgence he needed and helped his digital process.

One of the hardest parts of design in business is trying to find the balance between the art and the need for conversion. Nate lays out how his approach shows the importance of research into the product to find what resonates with the consumer. You can take what you learn and apply your style to it, but you need the connection to what draws the customer.

While this approach is generally timeless, it has to be applied very differently especially depending on physical vs digital mediums. While physical media has remained fairly unchanged over the years, digital trends are changing constantly. Everything has changed so quickly, from how consumers consume their media to what sites are capable of doing to change the experience. It’s important to stay on top of the trends and capabilities of the digital world to adapt your art for business.


–intro and outro music from our friends at Sabers: https://sabersmusic.bandcamp.com/releases

12 Line Studio

12 Line Music Posters

Taylor Street Soap Company

–“Rock on Paper” is an exhibit of Nate’s work at 2112, a Chicago incubator and co-working space for music, film, and creative business.