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Grill the Arsonist: Kyle
August 8, 2017 | Abby Wadeson

Kyle Krier, Mindfire Communications, Design Arsonist

It’s that time again! This month we’re delving deeper into the mind of Kyle Krier, Design Arsonist and Co-owner at MindFire to see what gets him fired up.

Starting at a young age, Iowa State alum Kyle was fascinated by combining type with art to convey a message or tell a story that sticks. He continues to find inspiration all around him – from flea markets to nature to pasta sauce labels. MindFire snagged him off the market nearly seven years ago and we’re so lucky to have his design expertise in lighting fires for our clients. Think he has what it takes to get grilled? Read on…

You’re known by some as “Dr. Awkward.” How did that come to be your alias?

I’ve never had a nickname so when we got to pick our own for our mugshots, I wanted something with a quirky/bizarre comic book “super villain” feel. Also, Dr. Awkward is typographically fun because it’s the same spelled forwards and backwards. I’m a nerd on many levels.

Did you always know you wanted to be a designer?

No, other than “artist”, I didn’t know there were other art career options. In grade school, I used to draw a lot and at some point I realized combining type with art to convey a message or tell a story could be powerful. In the 1980s, I saw Duffy Design’s Classico pasta sauce labels and thought “I’m 19—I shouldn’t care about pasta sauce, but this is really cool!” The illustration style, the rich colors, the packaging – its authenticity was unlike anything else on the shelves and it really stood out to me. It made me realize graphic design can be very influential.

High-school Kyle – what was he like?

Just like now, but skinnier and more hair.

How did you end up at MindFire?

After 19 years at another agency, I really needed a change. MindFire was growing quickly and in need of a designer – I think the timing was perfect for both sides. Hard to believe that was almost seven years ago already!

What was your reaction when you learned your title here would be Design Arsonist?

“I would describe it as restrained jubilation.” That’s from “Seinfeld,” but it applies here, too.

As a designer, what is the most important trait you need to have?

Problem-solving. I think design challenges are problems that need visual solutions.

What do you wish everyone reading this knew about design?

That’s a tough one; I’d say it’s easy to have an opinion and be a critic; it’s harder to be on the creative side looking at a blank piece of paper and make something out of nothing. Something great that pleases everybody. And do it fast. Everyday.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

There are so many places I’d like to see; I’d combine as many as possible into a mega-Mediterranean cruise: Rome, Florence, Monte Carlo, Marseille, Barcelona, Sicily, etc. I think it would be hard to beat this combination of sightseeing, architecture, food and fun.

Describe your life using movie titles.

  1. Toy Story
  2. White Men Can't Jump
  3. The Graduate
  4. Beauty and the Beast
  5. The Good the Bad & the Ugly
  6. Animal House

You’re working hard on a design project in your office – what’s playing through your headphones?

Could be (almost) anything. I‘ll hear a song and then get stuck on a certain style or group for weeks at a time. For example, Ray Charles, 80s hits, Cuban radio, 50s doo-wop acapella, etc.

Where do you find inspiration for your creative work?

My family, the internet, flea markets, nature, movies, pasta sauce labels; really, everywhere. Inspiration can come from anywhere if you’re looking for it.

How do you spend your time when you’re not creating HOT designs for our clients?

Karaoke competitions. Posting selfies on Facebook. At the gym training as an ultimate fighter. JUST KIDDING!

Actually, I like to work in my garage and build furniture and restore things. In the summer, my son Danny and I go to old car shows, sometimes with our 1987 Trans Am. I collect autographed sports memorabilia and I’m a big Chicago Bears and Iowa State Cyclones fan.

Word on the street is you have a “thing” for Surge. Please explain!

It’s on the street?

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