I’m Mike Burroughs, a designer and lettering artist living in New York City.
In High School I took my first graphic design class. I didn’t know much about design, but I knew I loved art in general. Non-profit organizations would come to the school and the class would work on delivering the best design possible based on the brief.
Graphic design felt like purposeful art to me. Designers would make things to help promote awareness for causes or create identities for up-and-coming companies. I was beginning to realize how many different outlets there were in design.
My journey was only getting started.
I went to the College of Saint Rose (Albany, NY) to major in graphic design after seeing the quality of work their students produced and the intensive program they offered.
I attended many lectures and museums on top of my classes. I even travelled to London to explore other universities, design firms, and museums. This experience really opened my eyes to the grand world of design.
Halfway through my college career, one of my professors showed the class a video on Doyald Young, a famous lettering artist. The video captured a fragment of his life, but mainly his process in creating custom logotypes.
I immediately fell in love with the process of drawing letterforms.
I frequently drew words on my notes in class, but I didn’t realize it was an actual thing people do to make a living.
After graduating school, I decided to move to NYC with my girlfriend, Rachel. She was attending NYU to receive her Master’s Degree in teaching art and I was going to find my first full-time design job.
It took about four months before I landed a position at a small design firm, called Skaggs Creative. My parents weren’t pleased with how long it took, but I learned so much in those four short months.
I drew nearly everyday, working on my craft and improving my style. I started a new Instagram account (@mike_type) to share my work and what I was up to. Everyday, I was listening to podcasts on entrepreneurship, design, and business.
The idea of running my own business to help others became a huge focus for me. I had talked about running businesses with friends before, but it never seemed practical until that summer.
I worked with several clients that were referred to me by friends, creating logos and other collateral. It was a great learning experience and showed me that I could really make a living doing this.
Since having a full-time job, I’ve spent the majority of my “free time” experimenting with lettering and honing my skills.
Living in NYC has been a great experience for me. I’ve gotten the opportunity to attend lectures, exhibitions, meet-ups, and workshops, learning from and connecting with other designers and hand letterers. In the past two years, I’ve met a lot of excellent people and discovered my passion.
Now my goal is to help others achieve theirs by teaching what I know and working with people that truly care about what they do.