To kick off the new year we wanted to meet up with Brett Lysne of Sandwich Club Design Co.! This past year we’ve been catching his work illustrating areas from the Fargo food scene and are obsessed — and can’t wait to see what’s next!
Tell us a bit about yourself:
After growing up nearby in Crookston, Minn. then going to college and grad school for drawing and printmaking, I came back to the Red River Valley and worked for a number of years in the local food co-op scene. I’ve partaken in artist residency programs from NDSU to Vermont to rural Finland, and my most recent exhibit was a solo show of drawings a couple of months ago at the Spirit Room.
A year ago, I decided to open a separate business, Sandwich Club Design Co., to flex my commercial design and illustration skills. Additionally, this fall I began working as an assistant professor in the School of Art at MSUM. Aside from all the art and design in my life, I love summertime bike rides, yoga, crossword puzzles and geeking out about food.
Describe what you make under Sandwich Club?
Sandwich Club is an illustration and design business. While food illustration is a mainstay in my new business, I enjoy taking on all sorts of graphic design requests: logos and branding for new businesses, laying out posters and signage and product label design.
I’ve partnered with Wild Terra Cider & Brewing for a number of projects, including many of their cider labels, as well as their mural. The Foods of Fargo postcard series, which features sketches from restaurants across town, has been a hit and I plan to keep the series going.
Custom postcards, such as ones for the Red River Market and for Little Free Garden, have been fun collaborative projects.
Where is the name from?
When I started my graphic design venture, I gave myself some portfolio homework: make up a few fictitious businesses and create logos and illustrations for them.
One of those pretend shops was a deli called Sandwich Club, and after drawing up a handful of sandwiches, pickles and soup cups for this project, I realized it would be great branding for my actual business. It’s a fresh and unexpected play on words, and this sets the tone for the kind of work I want to be doing.
What is your favorite thing about doing Sandwich Club?
Getting to work with small businesses led by sincere people. It’s especially fun to hear someone’s excitement over a completed design project for their start-up business.
What is the most challenging thing? Trying to read people’s minds! I am definitely getting better at asking more thorough questions at the beginning of design collaboration.
What is your favorite art medium to work with?
Good old-fashioned pencil-on-paper drawing is my jam. Since I studied printmaking for a number of years, I also really enjoy traditional print media, such as etching, screenprinting and lithography.
These processes are perhaps too involved for quick design gigs, but it’s fun to find ways to digitally mimic those aesthetic qualities. For all of the postcards I’ve made for Sandwich Club, I’ve used a black colored pencil, then digitally added the layers of color. I love the clean but crumbly line quality of a colored pencil.
Do you have another category of food you are looking forward to illustrating you can share?
For the Foods of Fargo series, folks have made many suggestions for what to feature next.
Pizza and beer are at the top of the list. Sounds good to me!
How do you stay inspired to create?
In addition to doodling all the time, I keep creative friends, and I mean creative in a broad sense. Spend time with musicians, cooks, dancers, poets, misfits, science nerds and anyone who gets projects off the ground.
What advice would you have given yourself ten years ago?
To spend a lot less time fussing over what I would be doing ten years in the future.
Where can people find your work?
Sandwich Club postcards are available at Unglued, Zandbroz, Goin’ Postal downtown and the Fargo–Moorhead Visitors Center. Unglued also sells larger prints. You can find all of the above, plus stickers and other swag, on the Sandwich Club website.
For those wishing to stay up to date with projects large and small, follow the Sandwich Club page on Instagram (@sandwichclubdesign). And if you’re curious about my own creative work unrelated to graphic design, please check out my art account (@brett.lysne).
What is your favorite sandwich?
All I’ve been thinking about lately is Sol Ave. Kitchen’s curry chickpea toast.
sandwichclubdesign.com @sandwichclubdesign @brett.lysne