CXXVI is back! Now at cxxvi.com and ready with a whole new line!

CXXVI is back! Now at cxxvi.com and ready with a whole new line!

Hey Jon, do you have any advice or tips for somebody who's trying to get into the whole design world. Unfortunately I don't really have the money for schooling, so I've been trying to teach myself a few things here and there. But it seams like I haven't gotten very far. Thank you.

Jon Contino, New York, N.Y.
Jon Contino, New York, N.Y. answered:

You don’t need schooling to be a designer, plain and simple. Don’t let that be a hurdle. I taught myself how to design in middle school and haven’t stopped since then. I drew everything I wanted to design with pencils and Sharpie markers in my early days and then got a copy of Photoshop 3.0 from a friend and taught myself how to use that as well. The only thing you really need to be a designer is the passion to want to do it. That’s it. Everything else is easy.

The great thing about being a designer is that most of the tools you need are in your head. The rest is just production.

Tagged: #questions
Hey Jon, do you have any tips about finding a job at a design studio? I have been cold emailing studios and also replying to job postings and I haven't gotten much of a response. Is there something you did to help get noticed when first starting out?

Jon Contino, New York, N.Y.
Jon Contino, New York, N.Y. answered:

Now’s the perfect time to start building your online presence. Luckily these days all you really need to do is be VERY persistent on social media and people will start paying attention whether they like it or not. The days of cold calls are long gone unfortunately (and fortunately) so I’m not surprised you’re not getting much of a response. 

Honestly, your best bet these days is to create a personal project or two and promote the hell out of it. People want to see what you’re capable of and if you’re able to come up with something really unique, or at the very least executed well, then it will be a great way to start turning some heads. Show the world that you’re a one-stop shop for doing great work and then they’ll start emailing you.

The whole process will take more work, but in the long run it will not only garner more attention, but it will make you a stronger designer and project manager as well.

Tagged: #questions
I’m proud to announce the launch of Contino Brand, my latest personal menswear project. Throughout the years, I’ve worked with all different kinds of companies, big and small, and I never quite got the opportunity to do some of the stuff I was dying to do. About a year ago I decided I shouldn’t wait anymore and just went for it.
Think of Contino Brand more as a curation of great craftspeople working together to make some really unique and fun stuff. I cut out the middle man with these and went straight to the source. No client is involved or anything like that, we’re building stuff between designer and manufacturer and we’re doing it the way we want to do it. Each collaboration will have a short story attached to it and the reason why I chose to work the particular manufacturer. The pieces will be limited to small numbers so we can continually make beautiful, interesting products and not have our hands tied to the retail/wholesale world. This is a showcase of what creative people can do if you let them run with it.
I hope you enjoy it! Visit the shop at continobrand.com

I’m proud to announce the launch of Contino Brand, my latest personal menswear project. Throughout the years, I’ve worked with all different kinds of companies, big and small, and I never quite got the opportunity to do some of the stuff I was dying to do. About a year ago I decided I shouldn’t wait anymore and just went for it.

Think of Contino Brand more as a curation of great craftspeople working together to make some really unique and fun stuff. I cut out the middle man with these and went straight to the source. No client is involved or anything like that, we’re building stuff between designer and manufacturer and we’re doing it the way we want to do it. Each collaboration will have a short story attached to it and the reason why I chose to work the particular manufacturer. The pieces will be limited to small numbers so we can continually make beautiful, interesting products and not have our hands tied to the retail/wholesale world. This is a showcase of what creative people can do if you let them run with it.

I hope you enjoy it! Visit the shop at continobrand.com

Late last year, my good friends over at American Icon almost lost one of their own. Master printer Jimmy “Bones” was in a devastating car accident that he barely survived. Thankfully he is now awake, however he is dealing with a long road to recovery and, unfortunately, an astronomical amount of medical costs.
I designed this t-shirt in hopes that we could sell a ton and raise some money for Jimmy so he can try to put this horrific incident behind him and get back on his feet at the best printing company I’ve ever worked with. There aren’t many guys like Jimmy that know printing as well as he does these days, and not only that, but he’s a great guy and a brother in our NYHC roots.
American Icon is also a friend and printer to many of my clients as well, including the Art Directors Club and Rome Snowboards just to name a few.
Anyway…BUY THE SHIRT! It’s $15 and super soft, discharge process. Can’t ask for a better deal for such a good cause. Thank you!!!

Late last year, my good friends over at American Icon almost lost one of their own. Master printer Jimmy “Bones” was in a devastating car accident that he barely survived. Thankfully he is now awake, however he is dealing with a long road to recovery and, unfortunately, an astronomical amount of medical costs.

I designed this t-shirt in hopes that we could sell a ton and raise some money for Jimmy so he can try to put this horrific incident behind him and get back on his feet at the best printing company I’ve ever worked with. There aren’t many guys like Jimmy that know printing as well as he does these days, and not only that, but he’s a great guy and a brother in our NYHC roots.

American Icon is also a friend and printer to many of my clients as well, including the Art Directors Club and Rome Snowboards just to name a few.

Anyway…BUY THE SHIRT! It’s $15 and super soft, discharge process. Can’t ask for a better deal for such a good cause. Thank you!!!

I’ve got a new Skillshare class going up soon! This one deals with the foundations of page/screen composition and how to apply custom lettering and illustration to create unique layouts.
The class covers a brief history of design and layout composition as well as the various steps I use to go from client copy to final product. It does not deal with how to draw letters, rather it covers how to use lettering to help enhance your layout design.
I tried to cover things that would be great for rookies as well as pros, so that even the most experienced designer can get out of his/her head for a minute and take a different look at composition.
SIGN UP NOW!!!

I’ve got a new Skillshare class going up soon! This one deals with the foundations of page/screen composition and how to apply custom lettering and illustration to create unique layouts.

The class covers a brief history of design and layout composition as well as the various steps I use to go from client copy to final product. It does not deal with how to draw letters, rather it covers how to use lettering to help enhance your layout design.

I tried to cover things that would be great for rookies as well as pros, so that even the most experienced designer can get out of his/her head for a minute and take a different look at composition.

SIGN UP NOW!!!

I’ve never been a fan of design organizations. They’ve always felt incredibly obnoxious and pretentious, and honestly, not anything I wanted to be a part of. A few years ago, I decided to enter the Art Directors Club Young Guns competition to give it a shot and see if I was being overly critical. I’ve had some experiences with other organizations in the past and wasn’t very happy. I ended up winning Young Guns 9 and got to know the people behind the scenes as well as my fellow creatives that took home a cube as well. To say the least, I was impressed with how much more welcoming and supportive these people were and began to keep an eye on the ADC. About a year or so ago, a change happened at the ADC and a whole new group of people started making some really great decisions about how to manage it. Since then, the ADC has done some really great things to update their image as well as the methods of which they conduct themselves. 

The ADC asked me to join the committee to help bring some new life to Young Guns 11 and I was very happy to take part in the process. After a while, it seems like these things can get stale, but I’m proud to say that YG11 was an amazing success with some amazingly talented individuals behind the curtain and on the stage accepting awards.

This is a brief video from the awards party that includes a few interviews with Young Guns 11 winners and yours truly talking about the the overall awesomeness that is the Young Guns community! 

Tagged: #video

Normally I’m unable to share the talks that I give. Whether it’s due to legal reasons or simply not having adequate equipment available, it never seems to happen. I’m glad to announce an end to that! (At least for now…) The fine folks at WMC Fest have released the videos of all  the speakers from this past year’s event.

I rarely want to rehash things or tread over common ground and this time wasn’t any different.This talk is more casual filled with personal stories from my life and some jokes along the way to help give a better idea of what the world is like from my perspective. To me, it seems like a better way to express my life as a designer better than any portfolio overview. We all have our niches in this world, it’s more important to share how you carved your’s out as opposed to describing what it looks like.

Tagged: #video
Put up a new project on my site! The Hidden Sea, South Australian wine.

Put up a new project on my site! The Hidden Sea, South Australian wine.

The legendary Chuck Anderson of NoPattern fame asked me to be the first guest on his new podcast, Life + Limb. To say that I was flattered is an understatement. We had a great discussion and hopefully I’ll be back as some sort of recurring guest! You can listen via iTunes, Soundcloud, or right here on the Life + Limb page.

The legendary Chuck Anderson of NoPattern fame asked me to be the first guest on his new podcast, Life + Limb. To say that I was flattered is an understatement. We had a great discussion and hopefully I’ll be back as some sort of recurring guest! You can listen via iTunes, Soundcloud, or right here on the Life + Limb page.

I’m extremely pleased to announce a new collaboration with the team at Ellsworth & Clyde! They gave me free reign to design a version of their beautiful magnetic wooden tie bars and I couldn’t be happier with how they came out. Not to mention the Ellsworth & Clyde tie bar was already a favorite accessory of mine before they even approached me about working together. This is a really unique piece that I suggest everyone check out. And I’m not just saying that! Pick one up at ellsworthandclyde.com.

Tagged: #video
I just updated my site with a brand new branding project with Nike. This one was a monster project and the sheer number of bodies wearing shirts with the my logos on them and the banners and signs they’re running past covered in my font and illustrations makes this by far the biggest project I’ve ever worked on. Almost a million people in more than 25 cities, worldwide! Unbelievable magnitude on a project that only Nike could pull off. See it on my site!

I just updated my site with a brand new branding project with Nike. This one was a monster project and the sheer number of bodies wearing shirts with the my logos on them and the banners and signs they’re running past covered in my font and illustrations makes this by far the biggest project I’ve ever worked on. Almost a million people in more than 25 cities, worldwide! Unbelievable magnitude on a project that only Nike could pull off. See it on my site!

I am insanely happy and proud to announce The Standard Memorandum! In collaboration with my good friends at Word. Notebooks, I designed a pocket notebook that will live by your side every day for one year, regardless of hard drive crash or disconnection from the cloud.

In this day and age where technology is nothing short of omnipresent, it’s so satisfying to chronicle something by hand, only to revisit it in the future and see a story told not just by words on a screen. Tears, spills, changes in handwriting — all of these things contribute to the story of life and the nostalgia we all crave.

The idea behind these notebooks is to keep a brief survey of your day. When you get to December 31, take the book out of it’s leather case and put it in a box somewhere for safe keeping. Get next year’s book, slip it into the leather sleeve, and repeat the process all over again. After a while, your leather sleeve will age beautifully and you’ll have a box full of memories in a way most people of our generation never had.

You can purchase your Standard Memorandum notebook here, as well as a leather sleeve of your choosing with free monogramming. Put it in your pocket, on your night stand, or on your desk and let life do its job filling it up.

Tagged: #video

Check out this cool wrap-up video from this year’s WMC Fest.

Tagged: #video
I sat down with Allan Peters to talk about some of my favorite contemporary and not-so-contemporary lettering artists. Read the article here!

I sat down with Allan Peters to talk about some of my favorite contemporary and not-so-contemporary lettering artists. Read the article here!