Paul Sebastian Melendez: Founder of The Brand Smith Co., Graphic Designer

Paul Sebastian Melendez, photographed outside Sydney's Cafe & Market at Tempe Marketplace, whose graphic design he created with The Brand Smith Co., by Nicki Escudero

Paul Sebastian Melendez, photographed outside Sydney’s Café & Market at Tempe Marketplace, whose graphic design he created with The Brand Smith Co., by Nicki Escudero

Paul Sebastian Melendez
www.thebrandsmithco.com

Paul Sebastian Melendez is passionate about working with businesses to help them craft the perfect brand, which he helps them share with the masses through expert graphic design, web development, photography, printing, vehicle wraps and more. As founder of The Brand Smith Co., Melendez works with dozens of enterprises around the country to execute effective brand strategy, forming long-term relationships with those he works with so they always stay at top of mind in their fields. You can see his work at Sydney’s Café & Market at Tempe Marketplace and on dozens of food trucks in the Valley, and his clients include Barrett-JacksonBODI gym in Scottsdale, Superstition Springs Lexus, and Rockford Fosgate.

The 29-year-old Mesa resident shared what drives his entrepreneurial spirit and what he hopes to achieve with his clients. You can hear him name his five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley in a video.

What brought you to Arizona?

I was born in the small town of North Adams in the beautiful Berkshires of western Massachusetts and moved to Arizona when I was 18, shortly after graduating high school. At the time, I wanted to broaden my horizons and go on an adventure, so I randomly picked a design school in Tempe called Collins College, where I got my Bachelor of Arts degree in graphic design. Continue reading

Nicholas Polando: Designer for State Forty Eight

Nicholas Polando, designer for local T-shirt line State Forty Eight, photographed in downtown Tempe, by Nicki Escudero

Nicholas Polando, designer for local T-shirt line State Forty Eight, photographed in downtown Tempe, by Nicki Escudero

Nicholas Polando
twitter.com/StateFortyEight

When it comes to T-shirts showing off Arizona pride, cartoon cacti aren’t the only way to go. A new locally printed line, State Forty Eight, sets out to impact the Arizona fashion scene in a big way with chic, eye-catching, stylish designs showing off state pride. The line includes lightweight hoodies perfect for Valley winters, as well as women’s, men’s and children’s shirts and accessories. Designer Nicholas Polando started State Forty Eight with his brother Stephen Polando and their friend Mike Spangenberg, and it launched this past March. The 25-year-old Tempe resident talked about the future for the line, with Phoenix Suns and Coyotes themes expected to launch by early next year. Keep scrolling to hear Nicholas talk about his five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley.

What brought you to Arizona?

I moved here when I was 3 from Urbana, Ohio with my parents. I grew up and lived in Chandler and went to Chandler High School and Scottsdale Community College. Continue reading

James Keenan: A Life of Science Musician, Spark Design Graphic Designer

James Keenan

James Keenan, photographed at Shady’s in Phoenix, by Nicki Escudero

James Keenan
twitter.com/jameskeenan

James Keenan may seem like a calm, laidback guy on the outside, but brimming under that friendly exterior is a whole lot of passion for the things he loves most. The 29-year-old is a graphic designer by day and a musician and writer by night, extending his professional talents into his musical world through crafting colorful and fun music videos for his band A Life of Science. He’s not just good with a computer, though — Keenan also wrote comic books for the band, too, and came up with the treatment for the band’s novel, The Apneist. He also serves as art director for local label Sundawg Records and deejays as Ex-Ghost, but just because he’s busy doesn’t mean he doesn’t take a breather at Shady’s every once in awhile for a beer. See Keenan play with A Life of Science Saturday, September 29 at Martini Ranch, and keep reading to watch him list five reasons why he loves living in the Valley.

What brought you to Arizona?

I’ve lived here my entire life. I was born in Phoenix at St. Joe’s and raised in Phoenix and went to Shadow Mountain High School. The only time I left Phoenix was for college at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. Continue reading