Photos by Collin Richie

The Creatives: Nicholas Miner’s fine lines

Denham Springs
Age: 26
Artistry: Art director, MESH; graphic design, illustration

Rocca Pizzeria is no traditional Italian-American eatery, so neither is the décor—from Ray Charles’ beaming smile inside to the gilded, minimalist bull mural outside. Those thick circular logo lines began on Nick Miner’s laptop, and the day before Rocca’s grand opening, the graphic designer admits it is one of his favorites.

“Placing restrictions on yourself leads to the best design,” he says of this style called “monoline.” “And it’s always exciting to see your work in 3D.”

After the flood of 2016 left Miner and his wife focused on building a new home, the LSU alumnus is finally back in a consistent groove of refining his real craft. The artist who admits he began college “not knowing how to draw a good stick figure” now produces award-winning work for the local branding and ad agency MESH. Every Tuesday, Miner posts a “Taco Challenge,” a new design for followers, friends and colleagues to give feedback on Instagram. Accountability, he says, is key to advancement.

At MESH, Miner uses mood boards with multiple options and inspirations to coax clients in the best possible direction. Occasionally, they include more progressive ideas he developed in his spare time.

“The kind of design I do at home is what I want to be doing at my day job in the future,” Miner says. “It’s like practice.”

Skilled with a saw, Miner has produced cutting boards and wall art, and he encourages everyone creative to pursue a hobby that has absolutely nothing to do with their 9-to-5—even if a lot of his finished pieces end up on his own walls.

“It gets my eyes off the screen, which is refreshing,” he says. “But still it lets me do what I love to do, which is to create.”

For prominent culinary work like MESH produced for Rocca, the young artist takes pride in a pursuit that builds beyond the client to the community at large, because this generation of artists and entrepreneurs knows redevelopment is about aesthetics just as much as economics.

What starts small inside Miner’s sketchbook can be writ large to help elevate the visual appeal of the Red Stick.

And that’s no bull.

“Seeing Government Street develop is exciting,” Miner says. “One business at a time is my goal for sure.”

This collective aim fosters a familial vibe among local designers, Miner says, no matter what agency signs their checks. They often gather at The Radio Bar and over beers swap stories and recommend follow-worthy podcasts and Instagram accounts. These are visual voices keeping our city’s dialogue pushing forward.

“It makes no sense for us to be antagonistic to each other, so I think we’re a real tight-knit community of graphic designers,” Miner says. “A redesigned restaurant here, a new store there—just changing the way Baton Rouge looks little by little is a special thing.”