We had the good fortune of connecting with Amanda Warren and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Amanda, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
I grew up on a wheat farm in Eastern Colorado. When my dad wasn’t working in the fields, he made things in his wood shop. I’d help him measure, cut, glue and build all kinds of projects both useful and creative. This taught me about precision and attention to detail. I took his advice of “measure twice, cut once” very much to heart! My mom was an art teacher so I was surrounded by all kinds of materials and we always had discussions about art, went to museums and art shows all the time. While my dad covered all the technical bases, it was my mom who really inspired me how to see and be curious about the world. When it was time to go to college, I knew I wanted to do something in art, but I wasn’t sure what. At the University of Kansas I had an Intro to Design course which I loved and it was there that I discovered it could be a potential career. I found that design satisfied both the creative and analytical sides of my brain. My parents always say that I am a perfect blend of the two of them!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
What sets me apart from other designers is my humility. I’ve run into so many creatives who are so busy trying to prove they know it all and that the client knows nothing. I feel like that way of thinking is such a missed opportunity to really take a deep dive into learning and immersing yourself into a subject you are not the expert on. So many projects I have had the good fortune of working on have brought so much richness into my life. Not only in creating the work, but also understanding the story behind it. One project I was so deeply grateful to work on was a commemorative book for the former Governor of Kansas, Kathleen Sebelius. For her inauguration she wanted a book to hand out as a gift to guests attending the ceremony. It was a beautiful collection of stories, recipes, art and culture from all corners of the state. If someone asks me how I got to where I am today, I say that it was hard work, grit and some tremendous luck. I worked in the creative department of a few different businesses and organizations after I graduated from college and really cut my teeth on how design and business work in the real world. I decided it was time to leave my full-time job when I was inundated with outside work from my colleagues starting side businesses or needing favors for a myriad of design projects. These wonderful people believed in me and became my very first clients, many I still work with today! I would want someone who is considering working with me to know that I am honest, humble and genuinely love the work I do. I always have my client’s best interests at heart and strive to create the most unique and relevant work especially suited for their purpose.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I live in Fort Collins, so the second you cross into the city limits, it seems like a requirement that you have to hit one of our famous breweries. My favorite is sitting outside of Odell’s on a crisp Fall afternoon sipping a nice India Pale Ale. After an afternoon of drinking, it is time for some food! I love Nick’s Italian on South College Ave. The pizza is awesome, but so are the house specialties. They were voted Best Burger in town a few years ago and even though you wonder how an Italian place beat out everyone else, it definitely does not disappoint. Time for some rest so we can be up and at it in the morning for a hike. A relatively easy hike is Reservoir Ridge and you’ll be rewarded with a view of Horsetooth Reservoir when you make it to the top. After that workout, lunch time! Just down the road there is a sweet little place in LaPorte called Me Oh My Pie we have to check out. The pie is wonderful, yes, but the soups, salads and sandwiches are equally great. After that, back to Old Town where we can pop in and out of some of my favorite shops. Located in an old garage on Pine Street, Little Horse Vintage offers an amazingly curated selection of vinyl records, rare and collectable books, art, unique housewares, gifts and mid-century modern furniture. My kids always make me stop in at Clothes Pony every time we are downtown, so if you have little ones’ it is a must. They not only have gorgeous clothes, but a lot of unique toys, game and books. Another wonderful clothing shop is Sunday Supply. Beautiful, well made clothing & accessories for women can always be found there. If we haven’t spent all our money on this shopping extravaganza, we should really go to Jax Fish House and have some oysters on the half shell and a nice glass of white wine at the bar. The wait staff there is just top notch and the food never disappoints. One more day left, so tomorrow we will bike the Poudre River Trail and end up near Jessup Farm a little artisan village where we can get coffee, look in shops and hang out by the fire pit in the common area. After biking back, we will end up back in Old Town and a trip would not be complete without going to the Rio for their famous margaritas (limit 3) and have some delicious Mexican food. Fort Collins is their flagship restaurant even though now there are six other locations around the state. You won’t find a better or more potent margarita around! Hope you’ve enjoyed this whirlwind trip around “The Fort”, next time stay longer and we’ll venture into Lory State Park and even head south a bit to Loveland to take in the views at the top of Devil’s Backbone.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My mom and dad, of course! They gave me the freedom to experiment in such a wide array of ways to make and create art. But, they also expected hard work and dedication from me. I carry that spirit into my own business to this day.
My personal image: Janel Matthais @ Soulful Images
Red book: Earl Richardson