Mikey Burton

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Illustrations for undergraduate viewbook for Loyola University, Baltimore. Agency: 160 over 90; creative director: Dan Shepelavy; designer: Kelly Dorsey; writer: Rich Black; chief creative officer: Darryl Cilli; executive creative director: Jim Walls.

Title: Illustrator, letterpress artisan

From: Canton, OH

Lives in: Philadelphia

Age: 28

URL: mikeyburton.com

A native of Canton, Ohio, Mikey Burton has already amassed a broad range of experiences as a graphic designer. As Kent State undergrads, Burton and two friends taught themselves screen-printing and started a company, Little Jacket, which scored logo, brand identity, and various other design jobs.

Meanwhile, Burton’s thesis project–he stayed at Kent State for his graduate degree–reenvisioned the covers of classic novels: Fahrenheit 451, The Outsiders, Animal Farm, all done rock-poster style and called “New Covers for Old Books.” “Every day I get an e-mail from someone asking if it’s a real book series yet,” Burton says.

Letterpress printing, however, is Burton’s true love. “It’s great to be physically doing something,” he says. “Your back is aching; you’ve been standing there for six hours and not sitting at a screen pushing pixels around. There’s an action and a real beauty to it.”

Using this method of production, he has crafted exquisite business cards for Judy Friedman, an L.A.-based interior designer, and the San Francisco furniture makers Cottage Table Co. Last year, he collaborated with the printing studio Cranky Pressman on a calendar that was promoted as “ugly and scary … a fitting tribute to what will likely prove to be a crappy year.”

Burton currently works at 160 over 90, a Philadelphia branding agency, where one project included illustrations for a Loyola University publication. “I’d never actually seen how a company is supposed to function,” he confesses. “It’s been a great learning process.”

“Mikey loves problem solving,” says Keith Berger, a printer at Cranky Pressman. “The limitations of the medium allow him to focus on his ideas–big ideas, beautifully stated.”

“New Covers for Old Books” thesis project.

[View the entire list of winners here.]