Nick Adam is a Chicago graphic designer & director. He is currently on sabbatical as a Candidate for MFA from RISD. His design work has a strategic focus towards identity whereby purpose is paired with intention, creating impact through understanding. This work balances disciplined form with meaning and almost always involves collaboration.
Graphic design is my means to have a role in continuing the evolution of humanity’s greatest achievement, our ability to communicate. Finding harmonies of narrative and form, mind and hand, theory and craft, is what drives me.

Design provides me an opportunity to engage, collaborate, and learn from people across every walk of life. This investigation allows for deeper understanding of our world from which I can better frame its messages.

Through graphic design, I translate ideas, messages, and moments into visual representations that are at once instantaneous and capable of being long-lasting in form and impression.

From 2011—2016, I held the role of Strategic Director at Firebelly Design, one of Chicago's premier graphic design studios. In this role the team and I redefined the studio’s process and our capabilities, fundamentally changing the way we were seen by changing the way worked in the studio with each other and with our clients.

In this role I found a way for the mind and hand to be increasingly connected. These projects became the work we are best known for, the ones people ask about, and the work I am most proud of and continue push further and elevate.

In the community I am the former Lead on Great Ideas at the Chicago Design Museum.Currently I hold memberships to AIGA,
Society of Typographic Arts, Typographic Circle, & Type Directors Club. My Chicago roots are from Firebelly DesignMoving Design, You Are Beautiful, and the notorious Three Hearts Club.
Nick is available for freelance engagements, send him a note: 1nickadam(at)
Permanent Collections
ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO, Department of Architecture and Design
A series of 27 pieces was acquired by Zoe Ryan for the museum's Department of Architecture and Design.

THE NEWBERRY LIBRARY, John M. Wing Collection on the History of Printing
Selections of Nick's design work has been acquired by Paul Gehl for the Modern Manuscript Collection.

Showcased in the inaugural 2012 exhibition, Nick's work resides in the museum's archive. In 2015, the Museum's Executive Director acquired a set of No Clear Goal posters, as well, several Ordinary paintings.

Works awarded by the STA are entered in a permanent collection dating back to 1896.


2017, Society of Typographic Arts, STA 100: Chicago Design Museum Catalogue
2017, Society of Typographic Arts, STA 100: This That Yard Sale Campaign
2017, Society of Typographic Arts, STA 100: Zach Liberman poster for RISD 
2017, Society of Typographic Arts, STA 100: This Isn't Us Poster
2017, The Design Kids, Top Students and Graduates
2016, Print Magazine, Regional Design Annual, No Clear Goal Poster Series
2016, Print Magazine, Regional Design Annual, Typeforce 4 Catalogue 
2016, Society of Typographic Arts, STA 100: Great Lakes Yard Identity
2016, Society of Typographic Arts, STA 100: Typeforce 7 Exhibition Identity
2015, DESIGN OBSERVER, 50 Books 50 Covers: 3st Directed MAS Context, Repetition
2015, STA, Chicago Design Archive: The Typeforce 4 Catalogue
2015, TYPE DIRECTORS CLUB, TDC61: Veritiv Keepsake Book
2014, UNDER CONSIDERATION, FPO Awards: The Typeforce 3 Catalogue
2014, FAST COMPANY, Innovation By Design Awards Finalist: The Divvy Identity System
2014, CORE77, Design Awards Professional Notable: Archive 13 Poster Series
2014, TYPE DIRECTORS CLUB, TDC60: The Typeforce 3 Catalogue
2014, STA, Chicago Design Archive, Best in Show: The Divvy Identity System
2014, SOCIETY OF TYPOGRAPHIC ARTS, Chicago Design Archive: Archive 13 Poster Series
2013, HOW MAGAZINE, HOW International Design Awards: Archive 13 Poster Series
2012, TYPE DIRECTORS CLUB, TDC58: The Typeforce 2 Catalogue
2012, TYPE DIRECTORS CLUB, TDC58: Saskatchewan Jazz Festival System
2012, Tokyo Type Directors: The Typeforce 2 Catalogue
Lectures, Teaching Engagements, and Workshops
2017, RHODE ISLAND SCHOOL OF DESIGN, Teaching Assistant, Section Lead — History of Graphic Design  
2017, RHODE ISLAND SCHOOL OF DESIGN, Teaching Assistant — Design Studio 4
2016, RHODE ISLAND SCHOOL OF DESIGN, Teaching Assistant — Design Studio 3
2016, CHICAGO DESIGN WEEK, The Nerdologues, Your Stories — Lecture on Practice
2016, CHICAGO DESIGN WEEK, Kick-Off Party — Riso Workshop, Poster System Design
2016, HAILE FOUNDATION, People's Liberty — 3-day Workshop, Design Direction
2016, AIGA + STA STUDENT GROUP, Art Institute Schaumburg — Conference Lecture 
2016, AIGA NATIONAL, Innovation Grant — Co-Facilitator, 2-day WorkShop
2016, DOMINICAN UNIVERSITY, History of Graphic Design — Lecturer, Propaganda and Contemporary Political Branding 
2015, SCHOOL OF VISUAL ARTS, MFA Products of Design, IDEO NY's Design Research and Integration studio — Expert Advisor, Graffiti, Street Art, Public Communications
2015, SAIC, Design Issues Class — Expert Advisor, Social Impact Design
2015, NC State, College of Design, Kermit Bailey's Branding, Interaction, and Service Design class — Expert Advisor, Conducting and using Research in Branding 
2015, Veritiv Paper Show, Paper Persona Keynote — Lecturer
2015, PRINTERS BALL, No Clear Goal — Facilitator, Riso-graph Workshop
2015, TYPE DIRECTORS CLUB, Typeforce New York — Co-Lecturer 
2015, UIC INNOVATION CENTER & CIVIC INNOVATION LAB — Mentor, Aesthetics Workshops
2014, SAIC, Design Issues Class — Lecture, Graphic Design's Social Impact
2014, DESIGN MADISON, Make Conference — Lecturer
2014, UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT CHICAGO, UIC — Lecturer, Modes of Practice
2013, APPLE STORE, Lincoln Park — Co-Lecturer, The Making of Divvy
2013, PECHAKUCHA, Chicago Volume 26 — Presenter, Shape, Symbol, Sign
2013, NORTHERN ILLINOIS, Seek Conference — Co-Lecturer, On Firebelly
2013, CENTER FOR BOOK AND PAPER ARTS, Typography Symposium — Lecturer, Lettering
2012, CENTER FOR BOOK AND PAPER ARTS, Typography Symposium — Lecturer, Fun Letters
2012, ARCHEWORKS, Winter Workshop — Facilitator, Conducting Social Impact Design 
2012, THE ILLINOIS INSTITUTE OF ART, Spark Conference — Lecturer, On Firebelly 
2011, MOVING DESIGN, Our Road A Call to Action — Facilitator, 6-week Workshop Public Interventions and Social Impact Design
2010, COLUMBIA COLLEGE, Guest Teacher — Lecturer + Facilitator, Type as Image
Exhibitions and Public Initiatives 
2017, Signs of Resistance — Poetry Foundation
2017, To Whom It May Concern, RISD MFA Graphic Design Biennial — Sol Koffler Gallery
2017, Dismantled, Work by Second-Year Graduate Students — Sol Koffler Gallery
2016, Vernacular Spectacular, RISD Museum
2016, FINE ART of THE RISOGRAPH, Chicago Design Museum
2016, CHICAGO DESIGN WEEK, Chicago Athletic Association (Poster Series)
2016, BLOCK 37 PEDWAY, Ordinary (Returning Exhibit of Hand Lettering)
2015, DESIGN OBSERVER, 50 Books 50 Covers (MAS Context)
2015, DESIGNER PRINTER MAKER, Chicago Athletic Association (Textile Design)
2015, 26TH ANNUAL PAPER SHOW, The Chicago 50 (Truth Book and Invites)
2015, BLOCK 37 PEDWAY, Ordinary (Exhibit of Hand Lettering)
2015, PRINTERS BALL, No Clear Goal (2 Poster Series)
2015, TYPE DIRECTORS CLUB — Typeforce NYC (Title Wall as Art)
2014, CHGO DSGN, Expo Chicago (God Hates Hate with Bud Rodecker)
2014, CHGO DSGN, Chicago Cultural Center (Divvy, Vocalo, Herman, STA & Typeforce)
2014, 25TH ANNUAL PAPER SHOW, The Chicago 50
2014, TYPE DIRECTORS CLUB, 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 
2013, GREEN EXCHANGE, A Decade of You Are Beautiful
2012, CO-PROSPRIETY SPHERE, Typeforce 3
2012, MISSION CULTURAL CENTER, Share Your Beauty, San Francisco CA.
2011, CHICAGO CULTURAL CENTER, Write Now: Artists and Letterforms
2011, CHICAGO URBAN ART SOCIETY, WBEZ Winter Block Party for Hip Hop Arts
2011, CHICAGO LOOP ALLIANCE, Pop-Up Art Loop, The Century Building
2011, FLATCOLOR GALLERY, Letter/Form, Portland Or.
2011, CO-PROSPRIETY SPHERE, Typeforce 2
2011, COMFORT STATION, Fair Warning
2010, Whistler, Printervention on Tour
2010, OPEN LOT, Printervention on Tour
2010, EXPO 72, Version Fest, Printervention
2008, CO-PROSPRIETY SPHERE, The Upset, Art Show
2004, HEAVEN GALLERY, Select Fest 3, Little Utopias