First Paid Gigs

We all start somewhere. When it comes to the Athletics design team, that somewhere ranges from record sleeves to wedding invitations to children’s textbooks. Below, our intrepid creatives reminisce about where it all began…

Triana Thompson

Client — Harper Collins

Project title — Science Experiments You Can Eat

Year — 2015


“One of the first projects I had a fair amount of ownership over at my first internship was the redesign of this book of science experiments for kids. I was responsible for the layout and spot illustrations, but I mostly remember being really stoked about this stalk of celery I spent probably a full day drawing.”


Allison Connell

Client name — Actual Objects (an Athletics venture)

Project title — Farmer’s Market Collection

Year — 2010


“Actual Objects provided royalty-free design and illustration assets, and was run by Athletics at the time. The assets were created and sold in collections, focused around a specific theme — ideally something topical that could be helpful for creating editorial illustrations. I was asked to pitch and create some collections. This Farmer’s Market collection is the first of two I did.”


Malcolm Buick

Client name — Groove Armada

Project title — Logo design

Year — 1997


“I did this over two decades ago. Interesting process, in that I made a book of probably around 50 marks. Band went through them and liked this. That was it. They use it to this day. More info here.”

Ellen Voorheis

Client name — Kurt Vile & the Violators

Project title — Silkscreen gig Poster

Year — 2016


“This is the first gig poster I did at Iskra Print Collective, a little print studio where I spent the majority of my time while living in Vermont. We would screenprint 15×15 posters to give out at all the bigger shows that came through town.”

Matt Owens

Client — Troubleman Unlimited

Project title — Mouse Ear Forget Me Not

Year — 1996


“In the mid-90’s I did a lot of design ‘assembly’ for many small indie record labels. One label was Mike Simonett’s Troubleman Unlimited. My favorite record I put together for Troubleman was Shotmaker‘s Mouse Ear Forget Me Not released in 1996. Shotmaker were an amazing band and Mouse Ear Forget Me Not is an amazing post-hardcore LP. The cover design is very primitive by design and I believe was sent by the band in cut-out pieces through the mail which I then had to scan. Most often I would help Mike put together record sleeves and cd covers using the artwork the band sent. There was close to zero creative freedom but I was happy to do the work because Mike paid me in records.”


Landry Miller

Client name — The Pitchfork Review

Project title — Launch Party Poster

Year — 2013


“Pitchfork was launching a print publication right in the middle of the ‘print is dead’ era (is it over?). The first cover featured an urn and they asked a friend and me to work up some poster options for their launch party. Two years and 11 issues later it ultimately met its demise, but it was fun while it lasted.”


Jason Gnewikow

Client name — Jade Tree Records

Project Title — Joan of Arc “a portable model of”

Year — 1997


“This was maybe the fifth or sixth record sleeve I designed and maybe the third or fourth of several for Jade Tree. The brief was pretty simple as I remember: Tim Kinsella asked to design something around an illustration (the little square) by band member Jeremy Boyle. I remember I designed it in Aldus Pagemaker but it was really unstable and it didn’t create a single link to the graphic rather every instance of that square illustration was an additional file, making it quite large for the time even though it was so simple. The file was corrupted before the films were made but my friend who ran the service bureau was able to make an eps of the entire artwork package and saved me. Finally, here and here are some funny things I found while looking for the artwork online.”