“Anything funny and snarky inspires me,” says Red Swan Graphic Design owner Tate Krupa, “I like making people laugh.”
Krupa has been creating and selling her work for 15 years from what she considers her “mobile gift shop,” though her passion for creating started at a much younger age. As a child, she always made drawings and doodles, and by high school, she knew she wanted to go into the graphic design field.
By college she was majoring in art, focusing specifically on printmaking. She says that her experience with printmaking affects the way she approaches graphic design, allowing her to better understand and utilize negative space, as well as color relationships and separations. It also helps her know when to call it quits on a design and send it to the printer.
With all of this knowledge and experience wrapped together, one can begin to see how the self-proclaimed “jack of all trades, hopefully master of some” got to where she is now, making and selling a large variety of different kinds of art.
Krupa explains that the types of products she makes are always evolving. Currently, she makes greeting cards, notepads, and stationery, and that’s just the paper products. She also makes items out of repurposed goods like old vinyl records. Out of everything she sells, she says the lapel pins and stickers are her best sellers.
Though she works in many mediums, she does have one that she enjoys working with the most. She loves drawing because it is easily the most versatile of the mediums in which she works. Drawings can be turned into prints, stickers, magnets, or a greeting card design, so it ends up being the most valuable skill to know.
The designer also just got a new iPad Pro, which has allowed her to create her work from anywhere. She loves the freedom that the tablet gives her, as she no longer has to stay in one place to make her art.
Ever the ambitious person, though, Krupa still hopes to branch out into more mediums. She just learned macramé, and now wants to start making tote bags with screen printed designs, coffee cups, and t-shirts.
As for what inspires Krupa, she says that anything funny is enough to get her creative juices flowing. She loves to make people laugh, and a lot of times this is done through pop culture references. A quick scroll through her Instagram, and you’ll see a portrait of Kramer from Seinfeld, a collection of Ruth Bader Ginsburg magnets, and a Bill and Ted pin set.
She’s not afraid to get political, either, offering a selection of Pride pins, feminist pins, and various other pins promoting political figures.
“Everyone deserves equality, and that’s important to share through my work,” Krupa says.
She does say that politics are not her main focus, though, as she mainly wants her work to make people happy or remind them of past memories.
While Krupa loves her job, she says that there can be some difficult parts of being a graphic designer. Getting clients and broadening your reach is not easy, especially when certain products are so easy to find mass produced.
Most people will likely go to large companies for products like greeting cards and t-shirts, but according to Krupa, local designers will go the extra mile for clients.
“If you shop at the farmer’s market, you probably want to buy from local designers, too,” she mentions.
Local designers, as well as most local businesses, want to work with clients to give them a good experience and a product they will be happy with. This is why, Krupa says, it is important to support local designers first.
If you want to support this local designer, then you have a lot of options. Krupa sells her work on Etsy and at various markets, including the Moonlight Market at Grove Roots, the Lakeland Farmer’s Market (for a little over a year now), Brew Hub, and occasionally the seasonal Haus Mrkt.
She’s also trying to get into local stores and indoor markets, citing the Florida heat as a reason to stay indoors. She did not do the Lakeland Farmer’s Market over the summer, but her first day back will be September 7th (the market’s first day back after being closed all of August). She will also be at the Punk Rock Flea Market this September.