Rogue Creators: Adrienne Mathews
*Welcome to the Rogue Creators Video Series, a limited series featuring various artists that inspire the Go Rogue Team. Throughout the episodes, which release bi-weekly, Bryan Fittin and Loren Lewis sit down with five of our team’s favorite artists to discuss their work, what inspires them, and how they stay creative. Join us every other Friday, now through July 8.*
In this week’s episode of the Rogue Creators Video Series, Bryan Fittin and Loren Lewis sit down with Adrienne Mathews, the creative director for Student Mobilization. Adrienne studied visual communications at the University of Oklahoma and has worked on countless freelance projects while also fulfilling her role as a creative director. Adrienne is an incredibly talented creative with a passion for organization, deadlines, and other administrative responsibilities. Throughout the episode, Bryan, Loren, and Adrienne discuss a few works from Adrienne’s portfolio, her love for blending art and technology, and holding dual-citizenship in both the lands of creativity and administration.
As with many of the creatives that Bryan and Loren have talked to, Adrienne’s creative journey began early in her life. In elementary school, one of her art projects—a coloring of a frog—was selected to be the background for the lunch menu, an accomplishment that Adrienne’s mother continues to take pride in. In high school, Adrienne enrolled in a graphic design course because she was interested in the mix of technology and art that the class covered, and it proved to be a monumental choice. She found the class quite enjoyable, setting her down the path she continues on today.
While in high school, Adrienne worked for a promotional product supplier and obtained a wide variety of design-related experience. While she often worked with t-shirts—including the screen printing and vinyl printing processes—she’s most proud of her work for Sonic. As a high schooler, she was over the moon when she was assigned to design the signage around the red button that customers press to order at the drive-in.
Adrienne studied visual communications at the University of Oklahoma, and she enjoyed her time studying in the art department. Although she enrolled in and enjoyed several typical art classes, such as ceramics and drawing, Ad
rienne always loved graphic design above the rest. Still, the intersection of art and technology drew her to the field. She said, “I didn’t feel as strong [as an artist] with just a pencil or paintbrush…as I did behind a computer mouse.”
With her passion for integrating technology into her art, it was only natural that she grew to love the software she used daily. On the topic of learning new software and growing as an artist, Adrienne said, “I really loved learning the software too. Especially the Adobe Creative Suite and learning how you could put all that together.”
After graduating from university, Adrienne joined the Student Mobilization staff as the creative director. She found the job title hilarious at the time, thinking, “Wait, that’s a title you get ten years down the road, not in year one.” With her new title came a lot of freedom, and she was granted a lot of ownership in the creative field. While her friends from college were interns getting coffee for advertising firms and in-house creative agencies, she was getting hands-on experience every day.
In each episode of the Rogue Creators Video Series, Bryan and Loren dive deep into a few works from their guest’s portfolios. In this episode, Adrienne suggested they discuss one of her favorite projects: a logo package and style guide for Senders Film Co. The owners of the wedding videography company, who happened to be friends of Adrienne’s, reached out about creating a logo package for their brand.
While this project was similar to what Adrienne did for Student Mobilization, its intended audience differed from Adrienne’s Student Mobilization projects. Instead of going after college students, Adrienne knew she needed to create branding that would catch the attention of a future bride.
When starting a project like this, Adrienne asks her clients to create a mood board on Pinterest to give her an idea of the vibe that the client is looking for. While some clients’ mood boards are scattered and eclectic, Senders’ was streamlined and congruent, which made the design process much easier.
Adrienne’s favorite part of this project is the mission behind the company. They decided to call it Senders because their proceeds fund sending missionaries worldwide. This mission was easy for Adrienne to get behind, as faith and missions are very important to her. Adrienne said of this project and her future work, “I just want to do meaningful work.” According to Adrienne, sometimes meaningful work is scrubbing toilets and cleaning the house, but other times it’s getting to do work like this project for Senders.
Regarding the design for this project, Adrienne was inspired by Chris and Julia Markham, interior designers with a strong Instagram presence. She loves how they use a lot of color while maintaining a neutral aesthetic and sought to do the same in her work with Senders. Rather than relying on whites, grays, and blacks to create a neutral feel, she opted for greens, taupes, and browns, which made a neutral, light, and airy aesthetic.
The second piece that the trio discussed was another branding and logo package, which Adrienne created for Rising Sun Van Co. She explained that she doesn’t consider herself to be an illustrative designer, but this project is an excellent example of how one can take some of the elements of designing an icon and add a touch of illustration to give it new life.
Adrienne was nervous about accomplishing all of her client’s requests—specifically utilizing clean line drawing to fit mountains, water, and the sun all in a single emblem. As she began to ideate and sketch design ideas, she found working with nontraditional seals and shapes fun and interesting. In particular, Adrienne loves the logo with the water cut out at the bottom, as it provides a unique design that would never be mistaken for a stock image.
When asked how her graphic design skills have evolved over the years, Adrienne provided a very specific example: Illustrator’s pen tool. Before college, she had limited experience with the tool, but she grew significantly in this area while in school. In college, she learned how to use the pen tool with her trackpad after deciding not to buy a mouse—a decision she claims today to be dumb. But, learning this way helped her to get much more comfortable with the pen tool, which many other graphic designers have limited knowledge of.
While working for Student Mobilization, Adrienne has continued to learn on the job, taking advantage of opportunities to add to her skill set as she takes on her daily projects. Once, when brainstorming ideas for a training conference, she suggested that she make an animated video to play immediately before the conference started. Adrienne didn’t realize that animation is complex and takes significant time and understanding to accomplish. Still, she finished an incredible animated video in time for the conference, growing her animation skills along the way.
A second learning opportunity has come in the form of stage design. As the creative director for Student Mobilization, she is in charge of all the creative for SMC, their largest conference of the year. In her first year in the position, she brought all of her designs for the LED walls that lined the stage, but she quickly realized that working with production of this magnitude would require a lot of trial and error. All her designs were orange and turquoise text on a black background, but the black background on the LED walls made the arena look dark and empty. Luckily, her organization enabled her to adjust all the graphics on the fly, accommodating her newfound knowledge.
Through it all, Adrienne has continued to learn and grow throughout her career as a creative, and it doesn’t appear she will be slowing down anytime soon. With her budding affection for animation, she hopes to continue to develop as an animator, watching creators on TikTok and Instagram Reels for inspiration.
Connect with Adrienne
If you enjoyed the conversation and would like to follow along or further connect with Adrienne, check out her Instagram.