Nick Adam is a graphic designer with 15 years of experience in directing and designing across all mediums, industries, and organization sizes. His work focuses on typographic nuance and formal maneuvers to enhance the visual codes of artifacts that have a role in shaping culture. This notion is an experiential one: rich, diverse, and meaningful form can lead to rich, diverse, and meaningful life experiences. This award-winning work always involves curiosity, instinct, craft, intuition, and collaboration.

I see Graphic Design as a public practice — as it yields the surfaces by which we understand the world. Designers and clients have an optimistic opportunity to engage the public by seeing our products beyond the fundamental service, and as creating artifacts that have a role in shaping our shared, lived experience.

This practice leverages my strengths that include formal and conceptual skills while transcending to context building — developing teams of diverse backgrounds and skills; mentoring, collaborating, and empowering my partners; bringing clients into processes that garner insights and consensus while mitigating compromise.

I am currently interviewing for Design Director, Principal Designer, Design Lead, and equivalent hands-on, leadership designer roles. I am also available for commissioned and collaborative freelance projects. Please, send me an email to talk about a position or a project: 1nickadam(at)
Capabilities and Experience 
Beyond my MFA in Graphic Design from RISD, I have 15 years of experience in directing, designing, and executing design and production of graphic design across all mediums, all industries, and all organization sizes from civic leaders to visionary startups to cultural communities. 
Brand Identity, Book Design, Campaigns, Digital Design, Environmental, Exhibition Design, Motion Graphics, Naming, Package Design, Public Art, Type Design, Design Research and Design Strategy
In effort to continue my growth as a designer from 2016 — 18, I took a sabbatical to pursue advance studies in the form of a Masters of Fine Arts degree from RISD's graduate program in Graphic Design.
Prior to my MFA I held the role of Strategic Director at one of Chicago's most celebrated graphic design studios, Firebelly Design. This role included design strategy, management, direction, and design of systems-based branding and communications for one of Chicago’s most celebrated studios. Our clients aligned with the idea of furthering the development of equality, community, culture, and civics—operating across a range of industries.
In the community, I was the Lead on Great Ideas at the Chicago Design Museum. My Chicago roots are from Firebelly DesignMoving Design, You Are Beautiful, and the notorious Three Hearts Club.
Permanent Collections
Art Institute of Chicago, Department of Architecture and Design
A series of 27 pieces were acquired by Curator Zoë Ryan for the museum's permanent collection.
Chicago Design Archive
Selections by the CDA board and curators, and by juries of the STA-sponsored annual Archive competitions have entered the permanent collections that date back to 1920.
Chicago Design Museum
Four different series of works have been selected for the Museum‘s Archive. 
The Newberry Library, John M. Wing Collection on the History of Printing
Books and ephemera chosen by Custodian Paul Gehl have entered the Modern Manuscript Collection.
Rhode Island School of Design, Fleet Library Thesis Collection
A thesis was presented and catalogued into the Fleet Library and the Graphic Design Graduate Program‘s libraries as partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Fine Arts in the Department of Graphic Design of the Rhode Island School of Design.
Society of Typographic Arts, STA100
Works awarded by the STA across the last five years have entered the permanent collections that date back to 1896.
Awards and Honors
2018, Rhode Island School of Design: Master of Fine Arts, Graphic Design
2017, The Design Kids, Top Students and Graduates
2017, Society of Typographic Arts, STA100: Chicago Design Museum Catalogue
2017, Society of Typographic Arts, STA100: This That Yard Sale Campaign
2017, Society of Typographic Arts, STA100: Zach Liberman poster for RISD 
2017, Society of Typographic Arts, STA100: This Isn't Us Poster
2016, Print Magazine, Regional Design Annual, No Clear Goal Poster Series
2016, Print Magazine, Regional Design Annual, Typeforce 4 Catalogue 
2016, Society of Typographic Arts, STA100: Great Lakes Yard Identity
2016, Society of Typographic Arts, STA100: Typeforce 7 Exhibition Identity
2015, Design Observer, 50 Books 50 Covers: 3st Directed MAS Context, Repetition
2015, Society of Typographic Arts, Chicago Design Archive: The Typeforce 4 Catalogue
2015, Type Directors Club, TDC61: Veritiv Keepsake Book
2014, Under Consideration, FPO Awards: The Typeforce 3 Catalogue
2014, Fast Company, Innovation By Design Awards Finalist: The Divvy Identity System
2014, Core77, Design Awards Professional Notable: Archive 13 Poster Series
2014, Type Directors Club, TDC60: The Typeforce 3 Catalogue
2014, Society of Typographic Arts, Chicago Design Archive, Best in Show: The Divvy Identity System
2014, Society of Typographic Arts, Chicago Design Archive: Archive 13 Poster Series
2013, How Magazine, How International Design Awards: Archive 13 Poster Series
2012, Type Directors Club, TDC58: The Typeforce 2 Catalogue
2012, Type Directors Club, TDC58: Saskatchewan Jazz Festival System
2012, Tokyo Type Directors: The Typeforce 2 Catalogue
Academic Engagements 
Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Winter 2018
Programs: MFA & BFA cross disciplines; Course: Typography, Typography and its Public
— Develop syllabus and curriculum, Taught 15 Graduate and Undergraduate students
Graduate Teaching Assistant
Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Fall 2017
Program: MFA Course: History of Graphic Design
— Section Leader of Sophomores: Graduate Teaching Assistant to Senior Critic Doug Scott
Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Spring 2017
Course: Design Studio 4 (DS4) 
— Graduate Teaching Assistant to Critic Diane Lee, core curriculum for Juniors
Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Fall 2016
Course: Design Studio 3 (DS3)
— Graduate Teaching Assistant to Assistant Professor Paul Soulellis, core curriculum for Juniors
Guest Mentor
The School of Design at University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), Spring 2015
Programs: MFA cross disciplines;  Course: Civic Innovation Lab
— Guest Mentor for to Assistant Professor Matt Wizinsky and Adjunct Professor Jon Chambers
Expert Advisor
School of Visual Arts (SVA), Fall 2015 
Program: MFA in Products of Design; Course: IDEO Design Research and Integration Studio 
— Expert Advisor on graffiti, street art, design in public to Adjunct Professor Lawrence Abrahamson

School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), Fall 2015
Program: BFA in Graphic Design; Course: Design Issues, Design as a canon of change
— Expert Advisor on social impact design to Lecturer Tanner Woodford 

NC State College of Design (NC State), Fall 2015
Program: BFA in Graphic Design; Course: Branding, Interaction, and Service Design
— Expert Advisor on conducting and using research in branding to Associate Professor Kermit Bailey
Guest Critic 
DePaul University, College of Computing and Digital Media, Spring 2015
Program: BFA in Graphic Design; Course: Portfolio Workshop 
— Guest Critic to Adjunct Faculty Bud Rodecker 
Guest Lecturer
Columbia College, Fall 2010
Program: BFA in Art + Design Deptartment; Course: Type as Image
— Guest Lecturer and Facilitator to Associate Faculty Bill Linehan
Camp Firebelly, 2011 – 2014
Co-Facilitator of a 10-day, intensive apprenticeship experience that selects 10 talented young designers and pairs them with a Chicago nonprofit. This role involves guiding the young designers to
collaborate as a group to research, concept, design and produce impactful design work, as well as, teaching them to engage with clients and manage the relationship.

Summer of 2011, Client: Center for New Community (CNC)
Summer of 2012, Client: Project NIA
Summer of 2014, Client: TransLife Center
Moving Design, 2010 – 2013
Design and facilitate initiative-based communications and workshops around Chicago’s most pressing social and environmental issues with teams of 10–50 designers. Worked with Moving Design founder Rick Valicenti and other facilitators to elevate the culture of communication and plan public initiatives.
AIGA Chicago Mentorship Program, Summer 2010
Selected to lead and host a weekly design mentorship group.
Workshops Lead
2016, Chicago Design Week, Kick-Off Party — Riso Workshop, Poster System Design
2016, Haile Foundation, People's Liberty — 3-day Workshop, Design Direction
2016, AIGA National, Innovation Grant — Co-Facilitator, 2-day WorkShop
2015, Printers Ball, No Clear Goal — Facilitator, Risograph Workshop
2012, Archeworks, Winter Workshop — Facilitator, Conducting Social Impact Design 
2011, Moving Design, Our Road a Call to Action — Facilitator, 6-week Workshop Public Interventions and Social Impact Design
Lectures Given
2018, Rhode Island School of Design, MFA Candidate — Public Thesis Defense
2018, Rhode Island School of Design, MFA Candidate — Public Position Presentation
2016, Chicago Design Week, The Nerdologues, Your Stories — Lecture on Practice
2016, AIGA + STA student group, Art Institute Schaumburg — Conference Lecture 
2016, Dominican University — Lecturer on Propaganda and Contemporary Political Branding 
2015, Veritiv Paper Show, Paper Persona Keynote — Lecturer
2015, Type Directors Club, Typeforce New York — Co-Lecturer on Typeforce
2014, SAIC, Design Issues Class — Lecture on Graphic Design's Social Impact
2014, Design Madison, Make Conference — Lecturer
2014, The School of Design at University of Illinois at Chicago, UIC — Lecturer on Modes of Practice
2013, Apple Store, Lincoln Park — Co-Lecturer on The Making of Divvy
2013, PechaKucha, Chicago Volume 26 — Presenter, Shape, Symbol, Sign
2013, Northern Illinois (NIU), Seek Conference — Co-Lecturer on Firebelly
2013, Center for Books and Paper Arts, Typography Symposium — Lecturer on Lettering
2012, Center for Books and Paper Arts, Typography Symposium — Lecturer on Fun Letters
2012, The Illinois Institute of Art, Spark Conference — Lecturer on Firebelly
Exhibitions and Public Initiatives 
2018, The Society of Typographic Arts (STA) Chicago Characters — The Mart
2018, Play, Practice, Prototype, Critique (RISD Graphic Design Triennial) — Woods Gerry
2018, Call to Action: The Design of Protest — AIGA Toledo, Handmade Toledo
2018, Graduate Show, 2018 RISD Graduate Exhibition — Rhode Island Convention Center
2018, Selections, Work by Graduating RISD Student — Sol Koffler Gallery
2018, Great Ideas of Humanity — Chicago Design Museum
2017, Signs of Resistance — Poetry Foundation
2017, To Whom It May Concern, RISD MFA Graphic Design Biennial — Sol Koffler Gallery
2017, Dismantled, Work by Second-Year RISD Graduate Students — Sol Koffler Gallery
2016, Vernacular Spectacular, RISD Museum
2016, Fine Art of the Risograph, Chicago Design Museum
2016, Chicago Design Week, Chicago Athletic Association (Poster Series)
2016, Block 37 Pedway, Ordinary (Returning Exhibit of Hand Lettering)
2015, DESIGN OBSERVER, 50 Books 50 Covers (MAS Context)
2015, DESIGNER PRINTER MAKER, Chicago Athletic Association (Textile Design)
2015, 26th Annual Paper Show, The Chicago 50 (Truth Book and Invites)
2015, Block 37 Pedway, Ordinary (Exhibit of Hand Lettering)
2015, Printers Ball, No Clear Goal (2 Poster Series)
2015, Type Directors Club — Typeforce NYC (Title Wall as Art)
2014, CHGO DSGN, Expo Chicago (God Hates Hate with Bud Rodecker)
2014, CHGO DSGN, Chicago Cultural Center (Divvy, Vocalo, Herman, STA & Typeforce)
2014, 25TH Annual Paper Show, The Chicago 50
2014, Type Directors Club, TDC60, Cooper Union, TCDC in Bangkok Thailand
2014, Society of Typographic Arts, Chicago Design Archive, Best in Show
2014, Chicago Cultural Center, Paint Paste Sticker 
2013, Green Exchange, A Decade of You Are Beautiful
2012, Co-Prosperity Sphere, Typeforce 3
2012, Mission Cultural Center, Share Your Beauty, San Francisco CA.
2011, Chicago Cultural Center, Write Now: Artists and Letterforms
2011, Chicago Urban Art Society, WBEZ Winter Block Party for Hip Hop Arts
2011, Chicago Loop Alliance, Pop-Up Art Loop, The Century Building
2011, Flatcolor Gallery, Letter/Form, Portland Or.
2011, Co-Prosperity Sphere, Typeforce 2
2011, Comfort Station, Fair Warning
2010, Whistler, Printervention on Tour
2010, Open Lot, Printervention on Tour
2010, Expo72, Version Fest, Printervention
2010, Co-Prosperity Sphere, Typeforce
2010, Chicago Urban Art Society, The Daley Show
2008, Co-Prosperity Sphere, The Upset, Art Show
2004, Heaven Gallery, Select Fest 3, Little Utopias