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Conrad Garner Studios

  • By Mark Gordon
  • | 11:00 a.m. June 2, 2017
  • | 2 Free Articles Remaining!
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Garner grew up in the shadow of the University of Florida in Gainesville, but for college he headed north. Way north. To Boise State University. While he loved it there, he also grew tired of the cold.

So in 2013, Garner headed back south, to the Tampa area. He was an art director for a few marketing and branding firms, including Spark, Fry Hammond Barr and Dunn & Co., before he went out on his own full time. He specializes in packaging, branding and marketing, in addition to posters. Past and current clients include Bright House Networks, the Tampa Bay Rowdies soccer team, the Tampa Bay Lightning, PayPal and Clif Bar.

Garner also has a neat career nugget: In 2015 he won $20,000 from a national contest to design a bottle label for Blue Moon Brewing's 20th anniversary. His design had the owner on a treasure hunt for “beer so good, it only came around once in blue moon.”


Toronto Maple Leafs season ticket package and portfolio, plus drawings on individual tickets

Awards: Gold ADDY Award, Sales and Marketing, AAF Tampa Bay, 2017

Main objective: The NHL's Maple Leafs sought a special presentation of tickets for the team's 100th anniversary. Garner's task was to create and design a variety of tickets to games with stars and famous plays from the team going back over 100 years. The team also wanted famous quotes from players to surround the designs. The Leafs discovered Garner's work online, including his Blue Moon contest victory.

Challenges overcome: Garner ran into several obstacles in the project. For one, there was a lot of pressure to make it right for the ultimate end user: the Leafs rabid fan base. “Just knowing the weight of it, that was a big deal,” Garner says.
The actual work, too, was challenging. That included a limited color palette and a lot of intricate designs. “It was very interesting topically and working in such a short space,” Garner says. “It really tested my capabilities.”

Career start: Garner says he was the kind of kid who was always doodling, but his parents never pushed him to do art or graphic design for a career. He initially studied business at Boise State, then he moved to graphic design and visual art. “Art and drawing was something I had always done,” Garner says, “but I didn't switch majors until I realized it was something I could get paid to do.”


No Return Gin Packaging

Awards: Gold ADDY Award/Best of the Bay, Sales and Marketing, AAF Tampa Bay, 2017

Main objective: Ketchum, Idaho-based Warfield Distillery & Brewery sought a label for a new gin that captures the brand's outdoors ethos. That specifically includes the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness — the largest roadless wilderness area in the lower 48 states. The company, according to marketing materials, handcrafted No Return Gin with “botanicals native to our wilderness backyard,” where the Salmon River winds its way “through an unending expanse of pristine mountains and forests.”

Garner is familiar with the Warfield brand. He created the company's mascot, Vern, and a cast of beer characters to go with him. He also created the packaging for the company's Mayday Vodka. “A lot of stuff in Idaho has a rustic appeal,” says Garner. “I wanted to stay true to what's in the Sun Valley. “
The boat, shadow and sunset on the No Return label, to Garner, is the perfect Idaho image. “On the Salmon River you can be all alone,” Garner says. “But it can also be very relaxed.”

Next big project

Garner is doing some work for labels for Miller Lite this summer. He's also working on posters for Bruno Mars and other music acts — one of his favorite projects. Says Garner: “I love working on any posters project.”


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