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Mike Inks, graphic designer and owner of MLiDesign

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By Theresa Goffredo, Herald Writer
  • 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?
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?
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?
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, 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?
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?
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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