We had the good fortune of connecting with Mike Youtz and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mike, let’s start by talking about what inspires you?
I’m inspired by the responsibility I feel to my customers when they put their trust in me to communicate their brands to their customers. The feeling I get from that honor makes me want to knock it out of the park for them. I’m also inspired by being a mountain biker for decades–I use the feeling of the unrelenting effort it takes to crank steadily up a tough mountain trail and channel it to dig a little deeper to create the most compelling designs I can for them. For me, design is a sport. Schmaltzy, but true.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My art is, at its core, a reflection of my clients’ brands and what is going to convey their message to the clients they’re trying to speak to. What sets my brand apart is a boldness of color and shape that often has a feeling of fun. I always thought I was going to be a professional artist when I was a kid. My mother could draw and paint anything and she always pushed me and my siblings to practice art (She gave me art supplies every year for Christmas). My father got me into the printing industry where I spent many years reproducing the works of many very talented designers in Washington, DC, San Francisco and Boulder, Colorado. My experience in the printing industry gave me a front row seat to fantastic designs daily that taught me layout, color, and artistic balance. Printing is also hard work that taught me to maintain my patience in pursuit of finding the “It” factor in the things I produce. As a designer, I learned that good art is hard work, but when you dig deep and push past the first couple drafts, you get to a place where the designs sing and you and your clients get a great sense of pride that makes all the work worth it.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Mount Flagstaff, Pearl Street, The Sixteenth Street Mall, The Stanley Hotel. Maybe a couple beers at Liquid Mechanics and some great food at one of the cool restaurants in downtown Louisville.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Dave LaFleur, Julianne Snider (both former bosses and mentors). My mother who is one of the best artists I know and my Dad who always taught me to be bold and go get what I want in life.