How I Got Here: Aaron Draplin

The Field Notes founder on his mission to stay small, how his hometown shaped his career, and why he developed his DIY ethos.

Aaron Draplin doesn’t mince his words. There’s no industry jargon to decode and no PR-ready responses, just his straight-talking opinion on creativity. It’s something that’s found favour at design festivals the world over, with organisers lining up to get his refreshingly no nonsense approach added to the programme.

As well as the dozens of talks he gives each year, Draplin has made work for everyone from Nike and Target through to Sub Pop Records and Red Wing Shoes, and conquered the stationery world with Field Notes – the vintage-style notebook brand he co-founded with Coudal Partners. But despite his success, and enough fans to get him stopped in the street for Insta snaps, he remains appealingly down to earth. Visiting London as part of the You Can, in Portland pop-up store promoting the city’s creative scene, the designer discussed his “little life” philosophy, how he’s still a small town boy, and why being big isn’t always best.