Todd Pierce is a veteran BatesMeron graphic designer, dad-joke connoisseur and resident Sporty Spice. I’ve loved watching Todd grow as a designer since we first hired him as an intern more than three years ago. He has since become an integral part of the BatesMeron family. His skill for turning around massive projects with ease, while still inserting his creative visions, is a talent that we cherish and can’t wait to see more of.
I interviewed Todd as part of our 6 Questions feature: a series of one-on-one interviews with people we work with who’ve made us proud. Sometimes, I like to turn the tables and put our own staffers on the hot seat so you can see just how special our team really is.
Read on to learn about his observations on BatesMeron’s evolution, how soccer makes him a better employee and his sole fashion obsession (pun intended).
1. What’s your graphic design origin story? How’d you end up here?
I loved to argue in high school, so I actually started out college in pre-law. But in class, I often found myself doodling and then getting reprimanded for it. That’s when I realized I wanted to pursue more graphic design courses, but the only art classes available at the time were things like early Photoshop. I quickly found myself taking words and adding a design to them to make it look better. Some of my first projects were just taking stats from a website and making them look cool. From there, I kept trying to find more ways to learn about graphic design until I made the big decision to go to design school and get a second degree. After that, I took some time working in retail before deciding to move to Chicago where I was hired as an intern at BatesMeron.
2. You’re considered a BMSD veteran, having worked your way up from intern to full-time graphic designer. What are some ways you’ve grown? How have you seen BatesMeron evolve in that time?
This was my first agency job and I was really nervous because I wasn’t sure what my talent level was. The team at BatesMeron took me under their wing and spent a lot of time helping me become a stronger designer. (It was a great support system.) I have to thank BMSD for where I am today because they’re the reason I’ve reached this level. Lately, I’ve been able to work on projects that have really challenged me and helped me grow. Someday, I’d love to be an art director, but for now I’m just doing as much work as I can and getting as much information as possible from more experienced designers.
As for how the company has changed, it’s become much more of a family environment. We’re having a lot of fun while we work and you can tell how much everyone likes each other. We’re also doing better work than ever and pushing our clients to try new things, which is leading to some great design. And physically, the company has grown and we’ve been able to expand the team and the office.
3. You’ve designed so many different kinds of projects for myriad clients, new and old. What are some of your favorites? What is your dream project?
It was a huge honor to be given the Dustless package redesign. Just knowing where it came from and how it evolved, and then knowing that I could potentially see it on a shelf at Home Depot is really awesome. It took a lot of time but it’s something I’m really excited that I was trusted with and that I’m proud of.
I also designed the website template for the Options Industry Conference. They came to us looking for a website that would have legs to last for conferences to come, so creating a design that could be easily updated with a new theme every year was an important task to take on. I’m proud that I was given the opportunity three years ago to create a website that still looks great today and am excited to see how it evolves for future conferences.
As for the project of my dreams, I’d love to be a part of a campaign for a company like Nike, something that gets seen everywhere. It’s easier to design for something you really love—I’m such a sports fanatic it’d be an easy transition.
4. Sports and exercise are a big part of your life. How does being an athlete and sports fanatic contribute to your work as a BMSDer?
I played soccer all four years of college at the University of Illinois-Springfield. I started out as stopper—a defensive midfielder, then forward, then played out on the wing. I think transitioning between different supporting roles comes easy to me because I’ve been a part of so many teams my entire life. I’ve learned to take the lead when I need to, but also know how to sit back and let others lead. I think this makes me pretty well rounded as a team player, no matter the venue.
5. We often trust you for your ability to get jobs done on tight deadlines, because we know you’re great at working through them. Where did you get your impressive work ethic?
It definitely comes from a mentality that my parents established for me and my brother at a young age: if you start something, you need to finish it. That still applies to my work today. If I start a project, I really want to hunker down and finish it in a day or two, just because it gives me more time to reflect on it and make it better before it’s due. I hate doing things last minute and I hate being rushed. I sometimes stick around by myself just to get work done because I know I can finish it without distraction.
6. What’s your guilty pleasure(s)?
I have a terrible sweet tooth—I think about dessert all the time. I love ice cream and I could eat it every single night. There is not an ice cream I won’t try. I try to justify it by working out or playing soccer.
And then there is my shoe collection. I love having brand new shoes and the way they feel. I have 30+ pairs of shoes, the majority of which are sneakers. I buy shoes to keep them pristine, so I make sure to check the weather every day or else I’ll get upset if I mess them up. My style has been the same since high school, mostly minimalist, but shoes are how I express myself. I enjoy finding styles, colors and fabrics that no one else has, and I love when people notice that I have nice shoes.