I grew up in the '70s and '80s skateboarding, riding BMX, watching NASCAR with my dad, playing wiffle ball in the backyard,  listening to punk rock, and obsessing over sports logos.  I suppose one could consider those experiences formative to my design sensibilities.
Admittedly, I tend to be preoccupied with baseball and have worked as a designer in the industry for over a decade, so it ends up being the subject matter for a lot of my work. I try to delve into other subjects from time to time (check out my blog for some of that) to pretend I have some sense of balance in my life, but I usually come right back to baseball.
Growing up in Michigan a huge Tigers fan, I was lucky enough to see several games at Tiger Stadium before it was torn down to become the depressing vacant lot it is today. I moved to Chicago after graduating from Central Michigan University with a degree in Journalism/Advertising. It wasn’t difficult to adopt the Cubs as my National League team and Wrigley Field as my replacement ballpark haunt.
Entering the job market in 1997 during one of the biggest economic booms in history was another fortunate break. With virtually no training, I got a job at a big ad agency that made Sunday inserts for Sears – you know, the trash you see blowing around the park or clogging sewer grates? Not very glamorous stuff, but laying out spreads of Kenmore refrigerators, Craftsman tools, and DieHard batteries served as my grad school of sorts. I had taken a few design classes in college but I developed some real skills and a new passion for the craft. Plus, I gained a bunch of new friends for life.
In 2006 I stumbled upon a Craigslist ad for a graphic designer job with a company in Evanston that owned a couple of minor league baseball teams across the country. There really couldn’t be a better description of my dream job.  It got even more ridiculous when I realized one of the teams was the Lansing Lugnuts—my hometown team! The irony of moving from Lansing to Chicago only to be working with my hometown baseball team a decade later was too much to deny. The good folks at Professional Sports Marketing gave me the job and I was a one-man design department for two baseball teams and 20+ others we did consulting work for over a decade. 
After 12 great years at PSM, those same good folks gave me the opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream to venture out on my own as an independent design professional in 2019 with the Lansing Lugnuts, Lansing Ignite FC, and Professional Sports Catering as my flagship clients. With those clients, along with the Chicago Area Sail Racing Association as a foundation,  I've been able to build a business with room to grow.

So what's "55ERASE"?

I guess if you’ve read this far into my story you’re probably wondering what “55EREASE” actually means. Okay, so here it is: When I was around 10 or 11, my neighborhood buddies and I somehow decided the number 5 was unlucky. I’m not exactly sure how we came up with that notion, but it became a silly game to try and avoid uttering the name of that most undesirable digit. Our logic followed that the number 55 had to be doubly unlucky—so unlucky, in fact, that if any one of us was forced to say that most unholy number (which somehow came up a lot in subsequent conversations) one must immediately follow it with the word “ERASE” to nullify its mysterious adverse effects. Well, anyway, it made sense to us at the time.  Years later, I remembered our stupid game when I decided to put a brand on my growing collection of work.  It seemed cool enough and it just sort of stuck.

So there it is. And here are the highlights of my creative life on display for your amusement. If you happen to be in need of a graphic designer, please feel free to contact me.
Thanks for visiting.


Ryan L. Smith
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