KCAD Entrepreneurs Focus on Soul, Substance
In this installment of Prototype, we profile Nick Tisch (Senior, Graphic Design).
There’s only one way out of a creative rut: make something that means something. So when Graphic Design student Nick Tisch and his roommate, Photography alum Will Olson (’11) were looking to rebound from a stagnant 2013, they decided to think big.
This January, the pair launched Three Studio, a design company driven by the convergence of traditional and contemporary methods of thinking and working. For their first product, Tisch and Olson devised The Three Pack, a collection of three notebooks designed specifically to help users catalyze their own creative processes.
Nick Tisch with his latest creation, The Three Pack (click to enlarge)
“The Three Pack is sort of a mantra or a manifesto that applies to everyone,” said Tisch. “We wanted to make something that resonated with everyone who used it, and we didn’t want it to be strictly for designers or for artists.”
That mantra – Observe, Think, Create – is also Three Studio’s, and is incorporated into the company’s visual branding as well as the design of The Three Pack. Every detail of the notebooks encourages users to immerse themselves in the practice of creativity.
“My dad always told me, ‘Pay attention to the world around you because you can learn a lot from your environment,’ and this idea of observation really stuck out to Will and I as something that’s very important for creatives to do,” said Tisch.
Tisch in the print lab, following the Three Pack mantra (click to enlarge)
The notebooks are entirely hand-made – Tisch and Olson did all of the paper cutting, stitching, and screen-printing themselves – and are individually numbered in the manner of a fine art print. But unlike fine art, the notebooks have a brand identity and functionality that make them a repeatable product. Tisch and Olson produced a huge initial run so that once users have filled their notebooks up they can get the exact same product again.
The Three Pack is meant to be used until well-worn and tattered. Tisch gave a set to his father and had to badger him to stop preserving them on a shelf. “It’s a print that you can destroy and love,” he said.
Tisch laying a print down in the printmaking lab (click to enlarge)
It’s no secret that creatives share a close bond with their notebooks, and Tisch and Olson believe that the place where you capture your ideas, inspiration, and passions should be more than an inanimate object; it should be a living extension of the user.
Tisch prepping a print (click to enlarge)
"Fieldnotes and Moleskine notebooks are popular, but they’re created by machines,” Tisch pointed out. “They lack that substance that is given to them in being created by a human being.”
It hasn’t taken long for The Three Pack to catch on. In addition to producing runs of the notebooks for the KCAD Admissions department and selling them at local art fairs, Three Studio was featured on the Square Marketplace’s Top 25 Items Under $25 list and was retweeted by Jack Dorsey, creator of Square Reader and Twitter, to his 2.58 million followers.
The mission statement of Three Studio is printed on the inside cover of every notebook (click to enlarge)
While pleased with their initial success, Tisch and Olson continue to follow their own advice, taking their new business one step at a time and focusing on the process.
“It’s not about the money; it’s about something we believe in,” said Tisch. “It’s stressful at times but it’s worked out. You can only make mistakes, which you learn from.”