Nathan Oser, Graphic Designer

Nathan Oser comes to us by way of Wakayama, Japan via Kentucky, USA where he lives with his wife and children. Originally studying Japanese language and art history at college, he stumbled into design after having some of his short stories and novels published. Wanting to make his stories more eye-catching he tried his hand at designing his own illustrations and layouts. The rest is history and he is now a graphic designer focused on branding and illustration. Thanks for chatting with us Nathan!

What do you do?

I’m a graphic designer focused on branding, re-branding, and illustration, which usually translates as logos, icons, and apparel.

What did you want to be when you were a child?

For the longest time I wanted to be a running back for the Detroit Lions. I was a huge Barry Sanders fan. I was a huge Todd McFarlane fan too, so when I wasn’t at football practice I was drawing Spider-Man and Spawn and inking up with my own vampire stories. I remember thinking it would be cool to be the person who designs the team logos on the sides of the football helmets.

Tell us about your journey to becoming a freelancer.

In college I found new heroes who were authors, and I couldn’t help but give writing the old, as they say, college try. As my short stories and novels began to get published, I realized that everybody judges a book by it’s cover. I started playing with illustrations and layouts to make the stories more eye-catching, and that was my bridge into design.

Wisconscious Collection Nathan Oser
When you first started, how did you find clients?

Things really shifted after getting drafted into Dribbble. That’s been a great way to connect with clients.

Do you have a motto that you work by?

I don’t have a personal motto, but I’ve always loved the four words Ray Bradbury had over his typewriter: Work. Relax. Don’t Think.

How do you stay productive?

Interaction on Instagram is a great motivator. There’s a lot of support out there, and when you start to connect with your heroes, it really pushes you to up your game. I try to keep in mind that likes and follows aren’t the goal, just rewards along the way.

What are you working on right now?

I’ve gotten an incredibly positive response to the style of textures I use, so I’m currently following the advice of my designer friends and putting together a texture pack full of fun new ways to use iPad Procreate brushes.

Artifact Nathan Oser
Facade Nathan Oser
Nathan Oser
There’s something exciting to be found in every project; if that excitement’s not apparent at first, it’s your job to create it.
What is your dream project?

My dream right now is to somehow strike up a collaboration with Retro Supply Co and get those texture brushes out into the world. Sometime down the road I would love to tackle a full deck of playing cards with custom courts and all.

What one piece of advice would you give to a freelancer just starting out?

There’s something exciting to be found in every project; if that excitement’s not apparent at first, it’s your job to create it.

What is the best piece of advice you've been given?

This isn’t really advice as much as it was watch-and-learn, but when I built my house a few years ago I was dead-set on getting a fused glass window of a Matisse cut-out in my living room wall. I got in touch with a couple different people, but there was one artisan in the UK named Shelagh Davies who was so stoked on the project I hired her right way. Enthusiasm is a contagious thing.

Old Hollywood Nathan Oser
Tell us about a time in your career when you struggled.

I constantly struggle with neck and shoulder pain from spending too much time at the drawing board. Sometimes I over do it and end up warming the bench for a few days before I can get drawing again. That’s a good way to lose momentum. So I try to remind myself that breaks and exercise are just another part of graphic design. They’re also good ways to find fresh ideas.

What are you listening to, reading or watching that is inspiring to you lately?

Lately I’ve been hooked on Wes Anderson films and the incredible design work of Annie Atkins.

What is your favourite piece of clothing?

Anything by Ghost + Glory. The designs are killer, the shirts are comfy, and everything’s made with the environment in mind.

Who would you most like to answer these questions next?

Mariko Fukuoka is an amazing designer out of Japan. She does loads of freelance work for big names, and, personally, I would love to hear her insight into it all.

How can we find out more about your work?

I’m @natetonight across the board on social media. Instagram is where I hang out most. Definitely stop by and say hello. My website, which is more writing-oriented at the moment, is nathanoser.com