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Steve Gordon, the man behind RDQLUS Creative embodies creative class life and career


Everyone is all aflutter these days about the creative class.  Sometimes it makes you wonder what all the fuss is all about.  While there’s nothing really brand new, except perhaps the term itself, when it comes to people either identifying themselves as creatives or getting labeled with that name, there is undoubtedly a shift underway that finds more and more people working for themselves by pursuing some passion, often with a creative aspect to it.  This phenomenon does tend to capture the public’s and the media’s imagination because there is a sense of freedom and adventure to what these folks are doing, though in most cases this notion of independence is rather romanticized or idealized because when you come right down to it creatives are, in their own ways, just as hidebound and constricted as the rest of the population.  I mean, after all, they do have clients to please and deadlines to meet and taxes to pay, and on and on and on.  It’s not like they’re living off the grid or anything like that.  Indeed, creatives tend to be hyperconnected souls whose dependence on things like digital social media and social networking are to the extreme, which means that in an electrical power failure scenario they will be left untethered and disconnected more than most.  Of course, I shouldn’t talk about creatives as if they are some alien species because I am one myself, except for the hyperconnected bit.  The subject of this short profile, graphic designer Steve Gordon, is a prototypical creative in that everything he does is an expression of his branded creative self.

 

Steve Gordon, the man Behind RDQLUS Creative, embodies creative class life and career 

©by Leo Adam Biga

Originally appeared in Omaha Magazine

 

Designer Steve Gordon’s urbanized sense for what’s in-vogue permeates his lifestyle and RDQLUS Creative signature work. He indulges a love for hip hop, sneakers and bikes. He provides brand development, identity design and creative direction services for corporate clients, big and small, near and far.

Growing up in the North Omaha projects, Gordon displayed an inquisitive mind and aptitude for art. Attending Omaha Creighton Prep exposed him to a larger world.

“I was encouraged to explore and I think exploration is a major part of creativity and innovation,” he says. “All of that comes from the wide open spaces of being able to reach and grasp at straws, get some things wrong. After I bought into that so many things opened up. At Prep I fell in love with architecture. It still drives a lot of the work I do. My work is a lot more structured than the free-form work of some other designers. Mine is very vertical and Art Deco influenced.”

His design endeavors shared time with his passions for music and competitive athletics. He “fell in love” with music as a kid and went on to success as a DJ, producer and remixer. His skill as a triple jumper earned him scholarship offers from top colleges and universities. After two years as a Cornhusker in Lincoln he transferred to the University of South Dakota, where he won multiple national titles. He was ranked among the world’s best.

His pursuit of an Olympic berth and a music career took him around the world. Back home, he worked corporate gigs before launching RDQLUS Creative in 2005.

“As an artist you want that creative outlet to do something a bit more outside the box, something you’re passionate about,” he says of going the indie route.

The sneaker aficionado recently combined two of his passions when NIKEiD invited him to design shoes and to document the process online.

“I didn’t want to just put some pretty colors on a shoe, I wanted there to be some story, some branding. I’m very much into fashion, style, aesthetics and athletics, and so I wanted to design a shoe that spoke to all of those things.

“Guys like myself, though we dress in denims and sneakers rather than wing-tips and a tie, we’re no less in tune with wanting to look sharp and present ourselves well.”

He’s authored two books on freelance design for Rockport Publishers, whose Rock, Paper, Ink blog features his column, Indie. He also does public speaking gigs about design. He’s a big tweeter, too.

“I love communicating with people.”

“At times I wonder how I keep everything up in the air. All of the things I’m involved in, I really have a true belief they feed each other. Someone asked me once, ‘What is it you do for a living?’ and I said, ‘I hope my answer is always, I live for a living.’ What I do to sustain that, well, that’s a different story.”

This one-man shop embodies the independent creative class spirit of engaging community. “Design and creativity are not about art,” he says, “but communication. We’re visual problem solvers.” He says “the really fervent” way he worked to better himself as an athlete “is a lot of like how I still approach life in general,” adding, “If I could work so hard at something that was a game and that gave me fulfillment and made a lasting legacy for myself, then how can I not enjoy life that same way?”

 

 Steve Gordon with fellow creative Megan Hunt, aka, Princess Lasertron
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