Dan Romanoski’s work has the feel of a designer who’s accomplished, mature, confident, and possesses an unerring eye for superb typography. So we were baffled (and mighty impressed) to learn that he’s still a student.

His site is an organized chaos of moving letterforms, GIF-based branding projects, and stylish posters, each carrying a little quirk that elevates it above the average piece of graphic imagery. This willingness to push his discipline and experiment might be the product of his course, the MFA program at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. “It’s a multi-disciplinary and mentor-based program with a lot of room for both success and failure,” says Romanoski. “I’ve had the chance to work with some great faculty and peers, some whom are designers and some who aren’t. Since I’ve been here, I’ve been able to explore some of the fuzzier edges of design, and I think it has pushed and informed my practice in new ways. Ultimately, because you’re expected to mostly work independently, you end up getting out of it what you put in.”

The designer cites artist and photographer Shannon Ebner’s Auto Body Collision project as his most pertinent source of inspiration at present, a strange Ballard-meets-Baurdillard exploration of sign, image, and meaning. Like Romanoski’s work, it’s both visually rooted and academically leaning. The designer says his favorite projects to work on usually have a conceptual bias. He enjoys “the ones that require a lot of research, conceptualization and ideation in the beginning. The experimentation phase of a project is typically my favorite part. Otherwise, I really like working with my friends. Those projects end up being pretty fun.”

Though he’s still studying, Romanoski has amassed some gloriously succinct words of wisdom for creatives embarking on their early career:

  1. Allow for failure, disappointment, and flexibility within a process.
  2. Confusion is an interesting place to work.
  3. Work with limitations instead of fighting them.
  4. The first version is usually bad.