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Nick Adam | Span

Design Principal

Nick Adam

Nick Adam is design principal at Span. Nick has over 18 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 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-community 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 Milton Glaser Design Study Center and Archives at the Visual Arts Foundation in New York, the Newberry Library, Rhode Island School of Design, the Chicago Design Archive, and Design Museum of Chicago.

Lectures & Workshops

University of Cincinnati, DAAP School of Design — Type 3, 2021
Illinois Institute of Technology — Design Broadcast, 2021
College of Creative Studies, On Agency, 2021
School of the Art Institute of Chicago, On Public Good, 2021
Maryland Institute College of Art, On the Past, Present, Privilege, Power, and Proposals, 2020
San Fransisco University, On Public Work, 2020
Western Michigan University, On Public Work, 2020
Columbia College, Looking Forward, 2020
First Round 2019, Underconsidoration, 2019
Typeforce 10, Lecturer on Publicness, 2019
Maryland Institute College of Art, Type and Culture, 2019
Rhode Island School of Design, Thesis Public Defense, 2018
Rhode Island School of Design, Public Position Presentation, 2018
Chicago Design Week, The Nerdologues, On Practice, 2016
AIGA + STA student group, Conference Lecture, 2016
Dominican University — Lecturer on Contemporary Political Branding, 2016
Veritiv Paper Show, Paper Persona Keynote — Presenter, 2015
Type Directors Club, Keynote Lecture on Typeforce, 2015
SAIC, Design Issues Class, On Graphic Design's Social Impact, 2014
Design Madison, Make Conference, Keynote Lecturer, 2014
The School of Design at UIC, Keynote Lecture on Modes of Practice, 2014
Apple Store, Lincoln Park, Keynote Co-Lecturer on The Making of Divvy, 2013
PechaKucha, Chicago, Presenter, Shape, Symbol, Sign, 2013
Northern Illinois, Seek Conference, On Studio Practice, 2013
Center for Books and Paper Arts, Typography Symposium, Keynote, 2013
Center for Books and Paper Arts, Typography Symposium, Keynote, 2012
The Illinois Institute of Art, Spark Conference — Keynote on Studio Practice, 2012


Typeforce 11 — Co-Prosperity Sphere, 2020
Typeforce 10 — Co-Prosperity Sphere, 2019
STA’s Chicago Characters — The Mart, 2018
RISD Graphic Design Triennial — Woods Gerry, 2018,
The Design of Protest — AIGA Toledo, 2018
RISD MFA Graduate Show, 2018
Selections, Work by RISD MFA Students — Sol Koffler Gallery, 2018
Great Ideas of Humanity — Chicago Design Museum, 2018
The Design of Dissent, Mirko Ilic and Milton Glaser — SVA, 2017
Signs of Resistance — Poetry Foundation, 2017
RISD MFA Graphic Design Biennial — Sol Koffler Gallery, 2017
Dismantled, Work by 2nd-Year RISD MFA Students — Sol Koffler Gallery, 2017
Vernacular Spectacular, RISD Museum, 2016
Fine Art of the Risograph, Chicago Design Museum, 2016
Chicago Design Week, Chicago Athletic Association, 2016
Block 37 Pedway, Ordinary, 2016
Design Observer, 50 Books 50 Covers, 2015
Designer Printer Maker, Chicago Athletic Association, 2015
26th Annual Paper Show, The Chicago 50, 2015
Block 37 Pedway, Ordinary, 2015
Printers Ball, No Clear Goal, 2015
Type Directors Club — Typeforce NYC, 2015
Expo Chicago, 2014
CHGO DSGN, Chicago Cultural Center, 2014
25TH Annual Paper Show, The Chicago 50, 2014
TDC60, Cooper Union, TCDC in Bangkok Thailand, 2014
Society of Typographic Arts, Chicago Design Archive, Best in Show, 2014
Chicago Cultural Center, Paint Paste Sticker, 2014
Green Exchange, A Decade of You Are Beautiful, 2013
Co-Prosperity Sphere, Typeforce 3, 2012
Mission Cultural Center, Share Your Beauty, San Francisco CA., 2012
Chicago Cultural Center, Write Now, 2011
Chicago Urban Art Society, WBEZ Winter Block Party, 2011
Chicago Loop Alliance, Pop-Up Art Loop, The Century Building, 2011
Flatcolor Gallery, Letter/Form, Portland Or., 2011
Co-Prosperity Sphere, Typeforce 2, 2011
Comfort Station, Fair Warning, 2011
Whistler, Printervention on Tour, 2010
Open Lot, Printervention on Tour, 2010
Expo72, Version Fest, Printervention, 2010
Co-Prosperity Sphere, Typeforce, 2010
Chicago Urban Art Society, The Daley Show, 2010
Co-Prosperity Sphere, The Upset, Art Show, 2008
Heaven Gallery, Select Fest 3, Little Utopias, 2004