Monday, March 21, 2011

Interview: April Nemeth of Little Korboose

Tell us a bit about yourself, location, present job, personal stuff.
My name is April Nemeth and I have worked as a professional graphic designer and illustrator for 7 years. I am currently the owner of and principal designer for Little Korboose. Little Korboose is a design and illustration shop whose collections range from unique screen-printed tees for tots to modern  housewares. The sophistication of clean, simple lines and minimalist design,  inspire a wide selection of baby, toddler and home decor goods. Little  Korboose creates unique and beautiful spaces for both children and homes. All of Little Korboose materials are carefully sourced to guarantee that they are of the highest quality and produced in a sustainable manner. Our products are also created and manufactured in the USA, many in our studio in Ohio.  Merchandise can be found in shops around the world from Australia to Chicago to San Francisco. Little Korboose strives to keep costs at a minimum while maximizing style and originality, because good design just makes life easier. When I am not designing for Little Korboose you can find me working as a designer for large greeting card company (my day job), in Cleveland OH. I attended Kent State University where I earned my BFA and was able to develop my Swiss design skills and really explore the relationship between form  and function.   

What inspired you to become an artist and how old were you then?
I have been drawing for as long as I can remember and I am in love with simple, clean design as well as mid century modern architecture/design. My parents are large advocates of the arts, my mother being a bit of an artist and entrepreneur herself. I was always encouraged to pursue my dreams and support from my parents helped me to believe I could do anything. My mother would drive me around from grocery store to grocery store in search of coloring contests that I was sure I could win…and often did! I always had a crayon or pencil in my hand ready to create.

Please describe your materials and medium you use in your pieces.
I make Eco friendly baby and home d├ęcor goods, most of which are screen  printed. A few products such as the pillows and plates have various printing and production methods.

Who are your favorite artists? Why?
This is a tough one. I actually do not really have a favorite fine artist. My favorites lie in the great multi-disciplinary designers: Paul Rand is one of them. Rand’s most widely known contributions to graphic design are his corporate identities, many of which are still in use. IBM, ABC, Cummins Engine, Westinghouse, and UPS, among many others. His ABC trademark, created in 1962, epitomizes the ideal of minimalism while proving Rand’s point that a logo  “cannot survive unless it is designed with the utmost simplicity and restraint.” A  philosophy which I completely believe in. My great interest in Paul Rand is not solely due to his design philosophies and corporate identities, however. It is magnified by work he is not so widely known for: his children’s books. Little 1 and Sparkle and Spin are two of my favorites. He was able to be a successful   corporate identity designer, yet still write and illustrate playful children’s books using his simple and minimalist design aesthetic; reevaluating each project appropriately. My hero, really.

What’s been your favourite project so far? 
My favorite project would have to be a 3-color oversized (20” x 20”) screen  print of my hand drawn motorcycle on wood — a commissioned piece. Hard to print, but the results were very gratifying.  

What is a constant challenge for you and most rewarding part of having a creative profession?
A constant challenge is TIME! With all of the book keeping, product analysis,  marketing, etc for Little Korboose, it is hard to actually find time to ideate and  make…which is of course my favorite part of owning my own business. The  most rewarding part of owning my own business is putting a smile on the faces of many with the products I create. It is heart warming. I also really like connecting with people. As my business grows, the more people I get the opportunity to connect with. 

What do you do when you are not working?
When I am not working I do a ton of YOGA, ride my bicycle, play with my  Russian Blue Kitty cat – Corbusier and eat mint chocolate chip ice cream. 

I noticed that your pieces have owls in it, and was wanting to ask you about that. 
Owls! Yes, Little Korboose currently makes owls pillows and screen printed  organic owl onesies. Stickers coming soon! I love the juxtaposition of qualities that owls have—mysterious/strong yet cute/inviting—all in one!  

Describe your work on which you are currently working? 
Right now I am working on refreshing the line for Fall 2011. That means: new designs and new products. I am also working on getting merch together for a 3 day event with , which will be happening May 24th.. will  sell a limited amount of my merchandise at a special rate for 3 days only. I am  also working on a super top secret deal that I will be able to release more info about in a couple of weeks! See my blog and facebook page for new happenings. You can also sign up for the Little Korboose newsletter on my blog. 

What are your future plans and dreams?
My future plans and dreams: The sky is the limit! It is a priority of mine to be cognizant of all opportunities surrounding me and to take advantage of the opportunities I feel are ethical, realistic and relevant. I plan on taking my business to the ultimate level and to, one day, work with an even larger team that can  help amplify Little Korboose efficiently and effectively.