Monday, September 15, 2014

Matt Luckhurst

While in San Francisco this summer we were fortunate to have the opportunity to stop by the offices of Airbnb and visit with graphic design lead, and ACAD alumni, Matt Luckhurst.
Adding to the fortuity of the visit was our timing, just the day before Airbnb had released a brand new logo and identity, and we could sense an excitement in the building. Rebranding an already established organization has to be a challenge, and not for the faint of heart.

Walking through the studios of Airbnb felt akin to walking through ACAD's own studios, the walls were plentifully adorned with documentation of the design process for the rebrand. It reaffirmed how relevant a studio based education is, and how fortunate we at ACAD are to have faculty who have worked tirelessly to promote, sustain, and expand this educational model - although I think ACAD could follow Airbnb's example with large, fully stocked kitchens in every studio!

It's informative to see the transition Matt has made from the spray paint stained hands on the mean streets of ACAD to a leadership position in the industrial chic startup studios of Airbnb. A constant is his creative spirit. Well established as both a talented designer and illustrator, Matt's young design team at Airbnb reflect's this synergy of drawing and design as they are all just as comfortable with both disciplines. An ongoing project features drawings of every employee in the company - no mean feat with the company growing at a rapid pace.

After graduating from ACAD Matt continued his education at the School of Visual Arts in New York earning a masters in graphic design. The professionalism, work ethic, and creative process Matt developed at ACAD served him well at SVA which also lead to contact with some of NYC's top graphic designers, specifically Brian Collins. After several successful years with Collins and Ogilvy & Mather, Matt traded the hustle and bustle of New York City for a different type of hustle and bustle in San Francisco.

A Little Extra - 

As part of these profiles I figured I would add my own personal take on some possible reasons why artists like Matt Luckhurst are able to realize their creative goals. My first contact as an instructor with Matt was in a 3rd year illustration class. The project was to do 4 drawings exploring different value plans. The first couple of years at ACAD are focused on the foundations of the creative process, building an understanding of the basics of drawing, painting, and design. The final couple of years the focus gradually changes to students finding their own visual language or voice. This transition can be jarring for many but for Matt it was instant. While many students focused on the technical requirements related to the value plans, a large part of Matt's attention went to creating funky characters and expressing them in a cool way - baseball characters as I remember. Looking back, this emphasis on style was Matt's way of 'branding' the project in his own way, and reflects how his career has enfolded thus far.