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Mike Inks, graphic designer and owner of MLiDesign

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By Theresa Goffredo, Herald Writer
Published:
  • Mike Inks is a graphic designer who owns MLiDesign.

    Michael O'Leary / The Herald

    Mike Inks is a graphic designer who owns MLiDesign.

Q: How did your name direct your career path?
A:
It didn't really; it was just a coincidence. There have been artists in our family back as far as my great-grandmother. She was French and she lived in Switzerland, and we've actually seen drawings and sketchings and paintings of hers. So art was part of that side of the family, and I got it, and my sister got it.
I drew a lot in grade school, and I was picked out of the whole grade school to go to an art institute for drawing. I was in grade six in Ohio, and it was part of the art museum in Canton, Ohio. That was something that encouraged me.
I definitely used pencil, and my specialty was characters, faces mostly back then and cartoons.
Q: Would you change your name if you could, and why or why not?
A:
Oh, no, I wouldn't change it. I care too much for the family history and, hey, it does suit what I do, so there's no need to change.
I called my first company Pen and Inks, and my second company I called Inks Design Group, and now I just do my initials.
The "inks thing" doesn't seem to be as relevant anymore, the name doesn't connect with people as well as it used to. And that's probably just a computer-age thing, so I dropped using that.
Q: If you could choose another career, what would it be?
A:
I certainly can't imagine doing anything else. But I do have a band and we play classic rock. It's called JordanCliffs and we've got a website, jordancliffs.com. We do classic rock, the Eagles, Neil Young, The Beatles, music from the '60s and '70s, and sure if I could make a living doing that I would. I do mostly rhythm and harmonica and vocals.
A fine art career? I made that choice early not to, because it was a matter of do I want to eat macaroni and cheese the rest of my life and have my family wait till I die so they can reap the benefits? No.
Q: How do you know when someone has picked up on the fact that your name is an aptonym?
A:
They'll say something right away, like 'Too funny.' Or, 'Is it really your name, or did you change your name to reflect your business?' The funny thing is as a kid, I didn't like the name because kids would make fun of my family and call us the "ink spots." And believe it or not, people are always asking me to spell it. I couldn't tell you how many times.
Q: How do people react to the combination of your name and job? Do they get it? Any funny stories as a result?
A:
All through high school my closest friends would call me "Inksy." Even to this day they call me "Inksy." They say it in an endearing way so I didn't mind it from them. And they still do it, and I'm going to be 50 next month.
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