Hi! my name is Paul Lukes and I am a Graphic Designer and lettering artist based out of Fort Collins, Colorado, U.S.A. When I was 8 years old I drew my father a picture. It was the word “Dad” repeated multiple times, in a variety of colors, mixed in with patterns and other decorative elements. I had always loved drawing, but this moment was when I discovered I loved what I later learned to be typography and lettering. I would continue to draw and eventually discover graffiti. I always knew I wanted to be a graphic designer and this all came to fruition when I designed my first logo for the Civil Air Patrol in Taos, New Mexico at the age of 15. This was my first taste of art with a purpose. I went on and obtained my BFA with Graphic Design Emphasis from California College of the Arts in the Bay Area in 2008.
I freelanced before and through my college years, and after college as well. My first design job was working for Omaha Publications, where I designed roughly 30-50 ads a day to be placed into one of the many magazines they published. While there, I was given the opportunity to use my hand-lettering abilities for the cover of the biggest issue of the magazine. My typography work on that cover went on to win two awards.
After working for Omaha Publications I moved to Colorado and started working for Gannett, the company that owns USA Today newspaper. I have always maintained a day job, but I truly get to create my most interesting and compelling work after hours. My wife is a music journalist and we are heavily involved in the music industry and more specifically, hip-hop culture. This has allowed me to become friends with and work with some of my favorite musicians/artists and in turn been a dream come true. I’ve always strived for a way to combine my passions for design and hip-hop, and in designing album art, I’ve been able to do this.
In the last couple of years, I’ve done all sorts of work–from album art, to logos, to brochures and everything in between. I’ve gone on to win five more awards for my ad design work and I’m currently in the initial planning stages of putting together a design showcase in my local area.
In the future, I hope to be able to use my platform as a designer to affect positive social change. I see our role as sculptors of culture to be so important and I take what I do very seriously. As Massimo Vignelli said, “It is our job as designers to fight vulgarity” and I try to keep this in mind with every new client I take on. I ask myself, “Is what they do something I can get behind?” Or, “Do I feel ok with helping to bring what they do or make to the masses?” These are important questions that I don’t think enough designers ask themselves. We shouldn’t be afraid to say, “No, I’m afraid I can’t work with you because I can’t stand behind that type of work.” Getting paid is not the ultimate goal. Creating meaningful work that helps to create a better world, by enriching people’s lives and making our surroundings more beautiful–that’s my goal today as a designer. Design is my vehicle for affecting positive change.
You can find more of my work at the links below, Thank you