Fresh and futuristic. Featuring nature, the human figure and bold colors! All of those aspects can be seen in NHCC graduate, Ameen Taahir's tech accessory designs at Target. Overjoyed, Ameen accepted the invitation from Target to collaborate on their guest artist series. The project gave Ameen many exciting opportunities, and creative freedom, (some of his designs even glow in the dark) but the most unforgettable opportunity is the chance to see his work at Target in the real world! As an NHCC graphic design alumni and Brooklyn Park native himself, we were thrilled to catch up with Ameen and share his story in the Q&A, below!
Can you tell me what a typical day looks like for you as a graphic designer?
I work for the City of Brooklyn Park as a Digital Media Specialist. I primarily handle anything Graphic Design related, print and digital. I also take on a little bit of photo and video work. Every day can be a bit different. I would usually check my list of tasks and prioritize accordingly. Some days I might be working on a publication, a flyer, editing a video, or photo, or designing social media imagery. Some days I might be going to an event to take pictures. Outside of work, I tend to be designing for my own personal projects. I run an online shop in which is currently undergoing a rebrand. I’m a Musician as well, and I tend to design cover art, video content, motion graphics, and anything else for a music release rollout. I rarely freelance these days, but there are moments when I do take on Logo Design and Branding projects for new and upcoming businesses.
What advice would you give to future graphic design students?
Don’t be afraid to ask your peers about their experience within the field. I feel like we can learn a lot from each other. Whether it is about client work, finances, or design tips and tricks. You’d be surprised how much knowledge and inspiration can come from the folks around you. I would also say that you can create a lane for yourself. Not all of us fit into the existing roles of “graphic designer” and if you have something unique or different when it comes to points of interest, feel free to create those positions in spaces where you see it fits or makes sense.
Where did you find inspiration for your Target collection designs?
There’s a ton of symbolism in the art I created for the Target Heyday collection, which tends to be a theme in a lot of my work. (Ameen's designs were featured on the products in the photo above). Many of the symbols connect to parts of who I am, like my birthday, my environment, my artistic journey, and my childhood. I have a very colorful, futurist style, that blends the human figure with elements from nature. I wanted that to shine in this collection. I love creating imagery that catches the eye, and that is loud. Being bold and unapologetic in the art was important for me. (Pictured below is the Heyday artist series display at Target).
How did it feel to see your designs on products at Target?
I felt so many different things and had many different thoughts. I was very proud of myself. It was so awesome to see my picture, bio, and products. Not only is this a store that has such a big established brand and presence within retail, but the fact that they started in the same state that I am from made it feel even more special. I kept thinking about the audience who would see my work. I kept thinking about my younger self, and how it would feel for 10-year-old me to see a design like this in the store. An important layer to the art is wanting to fuel this presence of representation. (A close-up photo of Ameen's bio, from the artist series display at Target is pictured below. Also pictured below is a Target price tag photo, featuring Ameen's name on the sticker. Ameen was excited when he noticed this detail at Target stores).
What did you learn from this experience?
I learned about the details of what goes into creating a design that can be transferred and used on a variety of products, big and small. I was very intentional about filling up every part of the artwork because on certain products there may only be a piece of the art that will be shown. I also learned a little bit about the manufacturing side of things. How each product has a different process due to material, shape, etc. I also learned some business-related things as well. I learned what the process of working with a big company is like, and the agreements and expectations.
Did you grow up in Brooklyn Park?
I grew up in Brooklyn Park, and still currently reside in Brooklyn Park. I think growing up in Brooklyn Park is a unique experience. As a youth, I was able to explore with my neighborhood friends and end up at any of the various parks we have around the city. I feel like Brooklyn Park is very community and family-driven. It was nice to grow up around so many different cultures and people from different walks of life. I think my art in general tends to reflect my surroundings in many different ways. On the other side of that though, I think because I’ve been in BP all of my life, there tend to be themes in my work where I’m world-building, and imagining life differently than what I’m used to. Often ask myself what is outside of BP, while also being a reflection of the beauty within BP.