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Nick Adam | Span

Design Principal

Nick Adam

Nick Adam is design principal at Span. Nick has over 15 years of experience in directing and designing across all mediums, industries, and organization sizes. From civic leaders to visionary startups and cultural communities Nick’s design background spans across the arts and culture, civic and public, entertainment, financial and investment, food and drink, and non-profit sectors. Beyond design making, Nick has led identity, print, digital, environmental, experiential projects, teams, presentations, work sessions, and public town halls that involve governments, multi-stakeholder groups, Fortune 500’s, and businesses small and large.

His work focuses on the nuance between visual identity and visual brand through which typographic details and formal maneuvers enhance the artifacts the design process brings into the world. This notion is an optimistic and experiential one: rich, diverse, and meaningful form can lead to rich, diverse, and meaningful life experiences.

Nick holds an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. His work has been recognized by the TDC (Type Directors Club of New York), the Tokyo Type Directors Club, The STA 100 (Society of Typographic Arts), Fast Company’s Innovation by Design Award, Core77, Under Consideration, Brand New, FPO (For Print Only), Print Magazine, How Magazine, and other awarding organizations.

His work is archived in the permanent collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Newberry Library, Rhode Island School of Design, the Chicago Design Archive, and Design Museum of Chicago.

Lectures & Workshops

First Round Chicago, Underconsidoration, 2019
Typeforce 10, Presenter, 2019
Rhode Island School of Design, Thesis Defense, 2018
Rhode Island School of Design, Position Presentation, 2017
Chicago Design Week, Nerdologues, 2016
Spark Conference, Keynote Presentation, 2016
Dominican University, Political Branding Lecture, 2016
Haile Foundation’s People’s Liberty, 2016
Keynote Presentation, 2016
Veritiv Paper Show, Paper Persona, 2015
Type Directors Club, Typeforce Lecture, 2015
School of the Art Institute, Design's Social Impact Lecture, 2014
Design Madison, Make Conference, Keynote Lecture, 2014
The School of Design at UIC, Keynote Lecture, 2014
Apple Store, Lincoln Park, Keynote Lecture, 2013
PechaKucha, Chicago Volume 26, Presenter, 2013
Seek Conference, Lecture, 2013
Center for Books and Paper Arts, Typography Symposium, 2013 + 2012
Spark Conference, Keynote Lecture, 2012


Rhode Island School of Design, MFA Thesis, Visiting Critic, 2020
Rhode Island School of Design, BFA DP, Visiting Critic, 2020
Western Michigan University, BFA Portfolio Review, Visiting Critic, 2020
Columbia College, Guest Lecturer, 2020
Rhode Island School of Design, Typography Instructor, 2018
Rhode Island School of Design, Graduate Teaching Assistant, 2018–16
School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), Expert Advisor, 2016–15
School of Visual Arts (SVA), Graduate Expert Advisor, 2015
NC State College of Design (NC State), Expert Advisor, 2015
The School of Design at UIC, Graduate Guest Mentor, 2015
DePaul University, Guest Critic, 2015
Columbia College, Guest Lecturer, 2010