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Meet Dusty Griffin of Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dusty Griffin.

Dusty, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My father was a sign painter and I watched him when I was young. I began to draw, and by the time I finished high school I had a job drawing comic books for the Robotech license (one of the first big hit cartoons from Japan). I spent a decade drawing comics and published over 20 international-selling books, learning and practicing web design in my free time.

After several years of freelance design, I answered an ad for Graphic Designer at the headquarters of Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers. Mellow Mushroom was a great Atlanta tradition that I was happy to be a part of. I designed Mellow’s first standardized menus, illustrated the entire interface of a new company website, and began a run designing Mellows yearly customer-facing calendar. I have now been with Mellow Mushroom for 12 years, and have been proud to see it triple in size during my tenure.

2019 will mark my twelfth consecutive Mellow Mushroom Calendar, a project that has won several Addy and Amy Awards, and the guests are enjoying our calendar now more than ever! I look forward to many more years of making things vibrant and telling stories through art and design, filling my days withdrawing, my lifelong dream.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Drawing comic books was an extremely difficult profession. The hours necessary to complete a project are all-consuming and incessant, at times I was completing books on a bi-weekly schedule. The pay for such tasks is large only in the top tiers of the industry, resulting in long hours that, at times, don’t seem worth it.

My time spent as a Graphic Designer has been in many ways more fulfilling, allowing me to work in several different mediums, and for a pay grade which seems much more in line with expectations.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers – what should we know?
Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers have been serving stone baked pizza since 1974. Our unique restaurants are an oasis from everyday life and our pizzas are one-of-a-kind, fan favorites. I am a Senior Graphic Designer at the Mellow Mushroom Headquarters, known for my hand-drawn art, and the vibrant color in my design work.

Over the years, I have designed dozens of pieces of apparel, hundreds of ads, 12 consecutive yearly calendars, and illustration and animation for our award-winning company websites. Some of my favorite milestones in my years at Mellow include: Sponsoring a Run DMC reunion show, illustrating over 100 feet worth of murals in stores, and feeding 4 million hungry kids in our partnership with Dine Out for No Kid Hungry.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
My ability to draw and conceptualize by hand has been my biggest asset in Graphic Design. In college, my mentor Joey Hannaford would make us complete 30 thumbnail sketches before turning to the computer, and I must say it has shaped the way I approach art and design for life.

There is almost no replacement for the ability to instantly transfer a thought to paper, helping those in your team visualize the important concepts being discussed. The other factor that has contributed to my success is my love and enjoyment of marketing theory. Illustrating and designing for consumers is a fascinating challenge, a puzzle game which I look forward to unraveling every day.

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