Graphic Designer Jeff Knight Launches Creative Studio This Fall

Upon stepping inside graphic designer Jeff Knight’s studio at Apt, a creative incubator in downtown Fargo, you can feel the cool vibes the room exudes.

As Knight works on his latest project on a laptop, you notice a placard that says “Always Fresh” sitting on the edge of his desk. Electronica music plays from a small stereo. A bookshelf along the wall holds a multitude of graphic design books and quirky figurines.

For the most part, it looks like any design studio — with the exception of the four cereal dispensers in the corner and the sign on the wall that says “Cereal” in giant white letters.

But the sign is not a tribute to Knight’s favorite breakfast food. It’s the name of his new creative design studio he will launch next month.

“Starting Cereal was a choice because I was consulting under Jeff Knight Design, and I wanted to create something that was a brand onto itself as opposed to my name and identity being the brand,” Knight says.

He chose to call the design studio “Cereal” because cereal is “something that everyone can relate to. There are so many flavors of it that everyone can find a flavor they like,” he explains.

Knight also drew inspiration for the title from North Dakota’s prominent wheat industry, and said even though we don’t consume the wheat itself, we consume a byproduct of it.

He hopes this analogy will strike a chord with his clients.

“To make cereal interesting, you add sugar, marshmallows, or crunchiness and make something unique, and that’s what we consume. That’s what I feel like I do (as a graphic designer). I take the design ideas from my clients and make them more consumable and enjoyable.”

Knight studied graphic design at Concordia and received a MFA from the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia when he realized the career merged his interests in art and technology.

After returning to Fargo five years ago, Knight has worked as a graphic designer for NDSU, Sundog Interactive, and most recently as a graphic design professor at Concordia College while consulting on the side.

He decided to pursue Cereal full-time last spring.

“I was doing both (teaching and designing) for a while and it got to a point where I needed to focus more on where my passion was,” Knight says. “(At Cereal) I want to specialize in smaller organizations, start-ups and places that aren’t fully established yet. I’m interested in working with large companies but I feel like I can be more creative with smaller ones because they have more energy that allows for creative input.”

Knight’s talents aren’t only in graphic design. He’s also passionate about promoting art in the community, supporting area nonprofits and working with community members through different projects like the Albino Buffalo sticker machines, Good for Nothing Fargo, Ugly Food of the North and more.

He’s also the Program Manager at Apt and serves as the vice president of the American Advertising Federation of North Dakota.

When asked how he juggles all of this, he responds: “Coffee. All of the coffee.”

Even though he stays busy, Knight is excited to continue to work with his clients under a new moniker and hopes to remain a small creative studio.

“I think as a small creative shop, you’re nimble enough and able to tackle problems that are much easier to do than with a big group of people,” he says. “I’m more interested in keeping it small and interesting.”

This article is part of a content partnership with the Fargo Forum and originally appeared in print on Monday, August 21, 2017.

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