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Beyond Design – Eric Minella

Featured Designer: Eric Minella

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Graphic Design

Eric Minella has been doing graphic design for 12 years, 8 years as a professional. He got started in 1997 when a good friend who knew computers and was familiar with Eric’s art said, “You’d be good at graphic design, get a computer made for design work.” So Eric bought a computer with Adobe PhotoDelux and within a year he purchased Photoshop. The rest, as they say, is history.

His favorite medium is Photoshop. He recently created his first food labels and though daunted by the prospect, was very pleased with the results. He’s also done a great deal of historic (1800s) design work, which he loves. Eric feels best suited to projects that allow for artistic freedom, such as the CD cover and inserts project he finished not long ago.

Artistic Snapshot

Eric is a multifaceted musician (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, mandolin, octave mandolin, and bass guitar), digital graphic artist, interpreter of natural and cultural history (creating opportunities for people to discover meaningful personal connections to nature, culture, and history), 2-D & 3-D artist, audio engineer, lyricist, performer, dreamer, fantasist, visionary, philosopher, and a father.

Eric’s Music

Eric has been writing and recording concept albums for over 20 years. It all started in the summer of 1976 when he was about to enter 5th grade. He was introduced to the band Kiss, and quickly became obsessed. During 5th grade Eric and three of his friends performed an air guitar show at school dressed in Kiss costumes. Soon thereafter, he discovered bands like Rush and Led Zeppelin, and developed a preference for musicianship over image-oriented glam-rock. Nonetheless, it was still some years before he abandoned the air guitar for a real guitar.

NDF: Where do you find your inspiration?

I’m not sure any human can truly answer that question — that’s what makes inspiration so profoundly magical. As an artist I’ve developed the ability to slip into “the zone” fairly easily.

NDF: Do you have central themes in your work?

Music, history, and a wee bit of marketing.

NDF: Any advice for other creatives?

– Follow your passion.

– Abandon your ego when it comes to design work!

– Don’t underestimate the value of learning graphic design withOUT a computer. The computer is just a tool.
You call Whisperwood your Life’s work. Please tell us more about it.

Eric recently completed what he considers to be his life’s work – a 2 hour progressive acoustic fantasy narrative called Whisperwood which evolved every year between 1990 and 2008 with the other Whisperwood players. This epic event takes the listener on a “musical, spiritual, and emotional journey.”

The Whisperwood Story:

Elvin brothers Elric and Lokai are opposites, yet counterparts. The brothers become traveling minstrels whose music has the power to heal others as well as themselves. Whisperwood is ultimately the story of Lokai’s redemption from vengeance to compassion.

Currently Eric is working on bringing Whisperwood to the stage as a rock opera.

“The single most significant thing you can do to benefit yourself, those you love, and indeed all life, is to explore and discover personal connection to the natural world.”

Check out some of Eric’s designs on Next Day Flyer’s Products:

4” x 6” – food label – Illustrator

33” x 23” – historic store front sign hand-painted on wall – Illustrator

19’ x 3’ 6” – vinyl historic event banner – Illustrator

4.5” x 10” – magazine ad for restaurant in historic park – PhotoShop

4” x 6” – postcard for show at historic park – PhotoShop

4” x 9” – rackcard for business in historic park – PhotoShop

36” x 47.75” – wooden historic store front sign – Illustrator

54” x 26” – wooden historic store front sign – Illustrator

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14 thoughts on “Beyond Design – Eric Minella

  1. This is Novice work! Im tired of seeing these designers that say they have been designing for 10+ years and the work looks like some kid who just got out of art school. Booooo! NDF please be more selective in your design caliber that you feature.


    For inspiration go to

  2. Although I feel terrible and feel a sense of camaraderie with other designers, I unfortunately have to agree with “just an opinion”. After reading Eric’s background, I thought for sure the work would reflect the story, it unfortunately did not. I am also disappointed in NDF’s choice and wonder about the process they use to chose these designers for this section. His background is very impressive and covers a lot of creative ground but the pieces chosen to spotlight his work were novice, at best. Crap, I feel bad but hopefully some good will come from the criticism. Congrats to Eric for being chosen for NDF’s Beyond Design spotlight. Hopefully the next designer is more inspirational.

  3. Well, NDF did put out a call for designers and perhaps Eric was one of the best responses. Maybe all those busy designers out there should take a moment to respond to some of those emails once in a while.

  4. I actually liked the artwork quite a bit. It fits what the event/product is. My wife is a graphic designer and she learned a while ago another key ingredient to design – consider your audience. I’m not looking for an ad that’s “inspiring” enough to mount on my living room wall, but rather something that gets my attention and sells me on an event or product. I’d say you did well Eric. Don’t let the naysayers get you down. Too much negative energy in the world. As you said, “follow your passion” and you are. You rock!

  5. I think one of the things that’s interesting about Eric is the combo of musical talent along with his design work. Many of us have dual passions and it’s interesting to learn about how he balances those. You don’t have to give up on one to feed the other and that’s pretty inspiring to me!

  6. Well, at least we stirred the pot a bit. The focus of beyond design is to feature the designers work outside of design and Eric’s music credits make him a very interesting creative persona. As with anything artistic, individual tastes vary a great deal so one person’s brilliant is another one’s ugh. We appreciate the input, Thanks, everyone.

  7. Ya, I would have to agree with the original poster. For a “professional” of 12 years, his work is very limited to a handful of clients and seems like a majority of his elements are from stock photography/clip art websites.

    Not very inspirational, nothing new.

    Just my opinion.

  8. Hrmmm, I think to help people understand the focus of this series, the articles should narrow in on the “other passion” of the designer. The article starts to do that, and then barrages the reader with the designers design samples, rather than media that has to do with the designer’s “other passion” (ie music clips, album artwork, video performances).

    With this article laid out like it is, it makes it look like this designer’s designs are suppose to be “beyond design,” rather than, hey check out this person’s talents beyond/in addition to their design work.

    Just my 2 cents.

  9. I like Metal Mike’s perspective. I understand that many “inspried” designers look for the drama, or the ‘hook’ of the art, but often simplicity sells just as much as a gimmick.

    Sure, I’ll give ya that Eric doesn’t make me want to go to Tienda De Reyes, but I do wanna hang with the Green Fairy and a bag of Kale Chips.

    By the sounds of it, Eric’s music is his forte’. His website is pretty cool and extremely original. Nice work Eric.

  10. Eric – the Tapwater icon says it all – that’s gold. No one on this e-mail trail could have come up with something so brilliant…

  11. Money is definitely important, as most companies are for-profit enterprises, but it will often take a long time to come and if you don?t truly enjoy your work then you won?t be able to convince yourself to keep going. You can only do something that you don?t really love for so long before you give up.

  12. I personally have known Eric for over 20yrs He is such an inspiration to me. He once made me a leather bound book with all my favorite things in it. He is very creative. Trust me when I say if you were in front of this man talking to him you would be in AWE! Shame on you nay sayers for being so big headed and negative.

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