Dan Cassaro.

“My studio is in my home and I try to keep it fairly colorful. I’ve always been a junker and keep myself surrounded with various ephemera I find inspiring. Mostly old design books, vintage type specimens, and the requisite collection of Penguin paperbacks. That stuff carried me through school as much as any of my classes did.  Being a designer means calling upon a ton of things that have nothing at all to do with design, so it’s important to me to pull inspiration from everywhere, be it the Rocky Mountains or Bob Seger’s back catalog.”
Dan Cassaro is a designer, animator and print-maker living in Brooklyn, New York. He puts words on paper so that they might be accountable for themselves. He is available for freelance work or to talk about early Wings albums.
FROM YOUR DESKS: Lame question but graphic designers seem quite organized, true?
DAN CASSARO: I wouldn’t say I’m necessarily organized, but I do have a system.  I have to do periodic purges because after some time it ends up being kind of cluttered and chaotic. This is part of how I function though. I’ve come to realize that it makes more sense for me to build my work life inside my regular life rather than to force this pristine work ideal into my day to day. Outside of the design books and other bric-a-brac, I make sure to keep a ukulele and at least 2 cats around for when I need a breather from the computer.
FYD: How did you settle on moniker of “Young Jerks”?
DC: It came from the Young Turks, although it’s more Rod Stewart than Ottoman Empire. I had named a project I did at school “Young Jerks Be Free Tonight.” It seemed right at the time, kind of bratty but brimming with optimism. I bought the domain right after that. I recently have come to terms with the fact that one day I may have to buy the domain OldJerks.com.
FYD: If there were two concerts tonight– Springsteen or McCartney– who are you going to see?

DC: What a c
ruel, cruel question. I’ve seen them both front row and they are amazing. I think I need to go with The Boss though. The E Street Band is still in top form and still pulls surprises out in their sets. McCartney is a machine too but sadly he’s kind of on autopilot at this point. I’m not holding out hope for him to play anything from Ram anytime soon. Plus he has those weird plastic Tom Pettys in his touring band. Don’t get me wrong, barring the ghost of Warren Zevon showing up and playing the Whiskey A Go Go, those two are definitely my top tickets.
If I really wanted to hang out with dudes in finance I would just go to my high school reunion.
FYD: Another winner, your McCartney type face. How were you inspired? Is safe to say, like my dad, you are a Paul over John fan?
DC: Your dad sounds like a cool guy! And yes, I am forever a McCartney apologist. I think it’s safe to say I was listening to a lot of Wings while I made the typeface. A lot of McCartney’s 70s work is hidden treasure stuck between his untouchable Beatles output and some of his cringe-worthy 80’s singles. But I like McCartney because his music is a vessel and not an order. His music acts as a companion piece for your experiences without telling you what those experiences mean or what they should have been.  You’re already in love- you just need a good melody to sing about it in. That makes sense to me in relation to design and typography. We already have the information and the idea. We just need to find a way to re-examine it or become engaged with it. Isn’t that what successful typography is supposed to do?
FYD: I hope you’re not a fan of Give My Regards to Broad Street.
DC: I have no comment at this time on the BROAD STREET issue! 

FYD: You live in Brooklyn.  Do you ever get to the city?  In fact, does anyone live in the city anymore?

DC: I’m happy all my friends are priced out of the Manhattan because that means they get to live in Brooklyn with me. Brooklyn is options. It’s not a TON of options, but it’s more options than Manhattan. It’s cheaper and there is room so you can plant a garden or have studio space or just get some room to breathe. The city is still great for food and sometimes bars but if I really wanted to hang out with dudes in finance I would just go to my high school reunion.

Don’t get me wrong, barring the ghost of Warren Zevon showing up and playing the Whiskey A Go Go, those two are definitely my top tickets.
FYD: How did your State Mottos/Fifty and Fifty project come about? You’ve lined up a nice slate.
DC: I love taking road trips and am a firm believer in exploring the country that you live in before you start flying to other countries in search of answers. Me and my lady try and take a road trip at least once or twice a year. I started noticing the mottos on signs as we passed through the different states. I was taken by how inspiring, funny, or just plain weird some of them were. Have you seen Maryland’s? It’s ridiculous. The initial plan was to illustrate all 50 myself as a personal project, but soon realized it was just a crazy amount of work. I started asking friends to contribute and represent their state. The project gained a lot of momentum through word of mouth and the magic of the internet. I’m pretty blown away by the caliber of work that the artists contributed. It’s been really awesome.
FYD: Your Don’t Let the Bastard Grind You Down has been on my screen before. By the way, they can grind you down, can’t they?
DC: Tell me about it. Everybody’s a jerk, everything smells bad, and parents just don’t understand. Thank god we have good friends, cheap domestic beer, and Bruce Springsteen.

Follow Daniel on Twitter @YOUNGJERKS

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