PARTNER/DESIGNER/ILLUSTRATOR, CARPENTER COLLECTIVE, KANSAS CITY MO
Tad Carpenter is a designer, illustrator, author and educator based in Kansas City MO. Carpenter co-runs the design studio, Carpenter Collective, with his wife Jessica, where they focus on bringing powerful messages to life through branding, packaging, illustration and design. They have worked with clients ranging from Target, Coca-Cola, Macy’s, Old Navy, Conan O’Brien, Adobe, Boulevard Brewing Company and MTV among many others. Tad has also worked with numerous bands and musicians on poster campaigns and tours as well as writing and illustrating over twenty children’s books in our marketplace today. He currently teaches graphic design at the University of Kansas and is a regular speaker at creative/design conferences.
WHERE WERE YOU BORN? WHERE DO YOU LIVE NOW?
I was born in Kansas City and currently live in Kansas City. I was born, bred and will be buried in Kansas City.
DID YOU GO TO DESIGN SCHOOL?
The University of Kansas. Rock Chalk Jayhawk.
LEFTY OR RIGHTY?
MORNING PERSON OR NIGHT OWL?
Both if that is possible? If I had to choose one, I’d say morning person.
FICTIONAL OR HISTORICAL CHARACTER YOU’VE ALWAYS IDENTIFIED WITH?
Peter Pan. I’ve always feared the idea of growing up, it absolutely terrifies me. Oh, and I wear a green leotard all the time.
ARE YOU MUSICAL AND/OR DO YOU PLAY AN INSTRUMENT?
No. But I’m very good at listening.
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE CHILDHOOD TV SHOW?
Choosing one is tough. Alf (it taught me how to tell time) and Family Ties (I loved Alex P. Keaton. I dressed like Alex with a tie and sweater vest and carried a leather briefcase from kindergarten to 2nd grade). Probably, Double Dare too.
LAST BOOK YOU READ?
The Snowy Day
No, not yet. We would love a dog.
WHAT LANGUAGES ARE YOU FLUENT IN?
None. Including English.
Cool Guy Answer: Annie Hall. Actual Answer: Sleepless in Seattle
FAVORITE FINE ARTIST?
Alzheimer’s Association. Many people in my family have or had this disease. I donate any chance I get.
FAVORITE FREE TIME ACTIVITY?
I like to be active when I can. Run, weights, hike, just move. As a designer, I sit, A LOT. I try to make an effort to counter that.
WHAT’S THE LAST COMPLIMENT YOU GOT?
A recent project we designed made my Mom cry, in a positive way.
DO YOU COLLECT ANYTHING?
Several things: vintage movie posters, vintage tin toys, wooden Schoenhut toys, classic golden books.
COLOR USED MOST OFTEN IN YOUR DESIGN?
Pantone Warm Red
TYPEFACE USED MOST OFTEN?
DO YOU HAVE A DESIGN MENTOR OR INSPIRATION?
I was very fortunate to grow up the son of an illustrator and creative director, my father Steve Carpenter. He worked for Hallmark Cards for 41.5 years as an artist, designer and creative director. No one has influenced me as much as him. My dad not only introduced and gave me permission to be creative but very much encouraged it.
GREATEST STRENGTH/WEAKNESS AS A DESIGNER?
Greatest strength is leadership. Greatest weakness is getting distracted.
ADVICE TO A YOUNG DESIGNER JUST STARTING OUT?
Go work for one of your heroes. Go work at a place that you see as the kind of business you would want to create one day. Early in your career don’t stress about salary and benefits. Focus on growing, learning and absorbing as much as you can.
IF YOU WERE NOT A DESIGNER, WHAT WOULD YOU BE?
In a gutter somewhere.
A MANTRA OR SAYING YOU LIVE BY?
The harder I work, the luckier I get.