Alumni Update: Interview with Zachary Kraner
Zachary graduated in 2011 and is currently Owner/Designer/Screen Printer/Maker at Intrinsic Made. His websites are
What advice would you give for students currently in the program?
Play, experiment, have some damn fun. Don’t play it safe with your design work, try different medias, add in things that excite you. The art building is your fantasy factory, go all Willy Wonka on that shit.
Why did you choose BGSU to study design?
I was really torn my Senior year in high-school, I was either going to go to college for graphic design or I was going to go to trade school for automotive training (I was really into cars and wanted to learn to paint them).
My older sister went to BG so I check if there was a design program (spoiler: there is and it is awesome) once I was accepted into the school of art, the decision made.
How do you balance being a stay-at-home dad as well as a full-time freelance designer?
Short answer, I don’t. Long answer, a lot of the work that I do is pretty fast paced. I work mostly with local print shops so I just sneak projects in while my daughter takes a nap or is watching Moana. I also burn the midnight oil working on my businesses and larger, more time-consuming projects.
What inspired you to start your businesses?
I have always been pretty entrepreneurial. As a kid, I would draw up my own skateboard, BMX, or snowboard brands, complete with drawn store fronts and the layout of the store. I think when it really clicked was Startup Weekend Toledo. Amy Fidler gave me her ticket to the event and it changed my life forever.
How long did it take you to develop your brands?
It is taking a lot longer than I would like! I am on my third pivot for Intrinsic and I have already rebranded my Ohio inspired clothing brand, OH HI Apparel. It’s going on 5 years now.
What’s up next for you?
Teaching. In January, I will be teaching three design classes at Cuyahoga Community College. I am also planning on expanding my OH HI Apparel line to more cities in Ohio. Lastly, I am working on a cool passion project with some friends, Platypus Board Co. We are hand making longboards and cruisers, along with some cool apparel and a super-secret product. Hopefully more stuff in the wood shop and less on the computer.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Hopefully, I am doing something that I love doing, or makes me somewhat happy. It took me 7 years to finally be my own boss, I am going to just keep on doing stuff I want to do and see what happens.
I probably will have more dogs and more kids by then.
Interviewed by Emily Pitchel