Friday, October 1, 2010


Don't worry, Mom, I haven't started acronymically swearing. I haven't started swearing at all, as a matter of fact. OMFGCo. is simply the short version of The Official Manufacturing Company, the design studio made up of an accomplished trio that spoke at AIGA's Designspeaks this evening.
After sharing studio space for a week, Mathew, Fritz and Jeremy, the before-mentioned trio, realized that the fact that their hands were calloused from high-fiving so much probably meant something so they joined forces to create OMFGCo. Tonight they treated a packed house (literally - think 180 sweaty sardines) to an evening of good work, sincere stories and a real glimpse into their design-filled lives. The presentation was structured around "The 7 Steps to Making it Official", as seen above. (Little did we know, there was a hidden message woven through the list. And we thought designers were all pure of heart. Ha.) Here they are:

Step 1) Don't lie down on the job. Basically, just work hard.
Step 2) Steal inspiration for everything. Open your eyes. Go to the beach and antique stores. Keep an Eye Candy folder on your desktop.
Step 3) Don't cheat yourself by faking it. When you can't find it, make it. These guys are DIY crafters to the maxxxxx. Admittedly, it's never very cost-effective, but it's always more fun.
Step 4) Kill your ego and fear of failure. It's really about listening and collaboration.
Step 5) F*** haters. This is the statement they've taken on as a mantra. Despite all the opposition, logic, and a little thing called the bad economy, they started their own company. And look! It worked. The underlying theme? "Trust your gut."
Step 6) Say yes and drink the potion. Saying "Yes!" leads you to unexpected places. Like art exhibits you create with Jelly Helm and 14.2 miles of string. Seriously.
Step 7) Accolades are smoke and mirrors. Don't let it go to your head. The work comes first.

There were a lot of inspirational tidbits lodged in those seven steps, but I think what I was most struck by is how, collectively, they are really really really not afraid of anything. They're not afraid of power tools, electrical wiring (AKA probable death), low budgets, new clients, uncharted design territory or not having much money to show for any of it. Their lack of fear, or rather zest for killing that fear, has made them into three very talented tradeshow-booth-crate-building, hand-letterform-painting, sign-making, typeface-designing, company-starting, bar-opening, t-shirt-selling, commercial-producing and high-caliber-event-speaking creatives. It's official.

To learn more about Designspeaks, go here. If you want to join in on the fun next time, keep your eye on the AIGAPortland Event Calendar. You can see it here.


  1. It was really good. I love those boys.

  2. Such an apt snapshot of the evening, Megan. Thank you! Mathew, Fritz, and Jeremy serve as prime examples (and collectively as OMFGCo.) of the inspiring work that can happen when we, in boxing terms, "let our hands go". And it's so good to see so many people turn out to celebrate what we have in our local design community. As Draplin basically said in his intro last night, time and again, Portland proves that it doesn't need to be big to do big things. Perfect.