After eight years of scoffing from 9-to-5 on an ad agency’s dime, award-winning designer, writer and magazine editor, Bryan Keplesky has decided to sacrifice his salary and company health insurance policy for the autonomy of a freelancer.
Such a ballsy move would be unfathomable for most of Austin’s creative class, but Keplesky is a little more established than your average Mac-owning, Photoshoping, screen-printing graphic designer in the Austin.
Back in 2006, he created the logo that helped two entrepreneurs with a dream turn an empty shack on South Lamar into Austin’s most beloved hair salon chain, Birds Barbershop. In addition to the iconic branding, Keplesky played a major part in the interior decorating of several locations. His massive pop-art murals span the walls of the South Lamar, East 6th and Hyde Park barbershops.
But his friendship with Birds goes well beyond the salons. When the owners decided to bring their line of proprietary hair care products, Verb, to the public, they tasked Bryan with creating the logo, package and icon designs. His branding work for Verb can be seen on the shelves of all five Birds Barbershops, 449 Ulta retail stores nationwide and the (web) pages of illustrious publications like Details, Nylon, Esquire, Lucky, Men’s Health, GQ and most importantly, American Cheerleader.
But the Holy Grail of this counter-culture rag, and one of the driving forces behind Keplesky’s decision to become a full-time freelancer, is the currently in production Misprint Retrospective.
When he’s not helping Birds fill barber chairs and shower caddies, Keplesky lends his talents to some of city’s most iconic events and festivals, including Fun Fun Fun Fest, the Austin Film Festival and the annual Beard & Mustache Competition. Not to mention the stockpile of gig posters and t-shirt designs he’s created for Austin landmarks like Emo’s, Shangri-La, La Zona Rosa, the Mohawk and even Book People.
All concerts and book readings aside, Keplesky’s greatest contribution to Austin’s subculture is Misprint Magazine. This pocket-sized publication, run by Bryan and two of his closest friends, has been in circulation since 2005 and can sporadically be found on the floors of various dive bars up and down East 6th. The men of Misprint also mastermind The Official Guide to Fun Fun Fun Fest, the aforementioned Beard & Mustache Competition, an annual Summer Jortacular and dozens of other occasions to wrap one of their branded koozies around a bottle of Lone Star.
But the Holy Grail of this counter-culture rag, and one of the driving forces behind Keplesky’s decision to become a full-time freelancer, is the currently in production Misprint Retrospective. This presumably 500-page book will contain an annotated collection of all 20 issues, tons of never-before-seen content and a center section full of colored posters, flyers and photos from the Misprint sponsored events mentioned above.
It’s been less than a month since Bryan last stepped foot in an ad agency, and he’s already received inquiries from companies based in cities ranging from California to New York. But rest assured, he has no intentions of abandoning us anytime soon.
As long as there are beards, jorts and koozie-friendly bars, Bryan Keplesky will continue to call Austin his and Misprint’s world headquarters.