Behind the Scenes at Kolcraft
This week we are taking a “behind the scenes” look at Brent Borhauer, Graphic Production Manager for Kolcraft. For the past 10 years Brent has designed everything from product boxes to web graphics for Kolcraft. As a new dad, his view of life has changed a bit. We were able to catch up with him so you could have a glimpse of the guy behind the graphics.
Were you an artist when you were little?
Yeah, I always loved to draw. As a child I had quite the collection of instructional drawing books and made good use out of them. In school when I should have been taking notes I was usually doodling.
When did you know you were going to be a graphic designer?
In high school I took a graphic design course and knew it was my calling when my design projects became more of a priority then my math and science homework. Also, my sister and her husband were working as graphic designers. I really took an interest in learning about their field and decided to major in Graphic Design.
What is a typical day like for you?
I’m a creature of habit so my mornings always start off as a routine before I get into work, but once I get into work my day is anything but routine. I usually work on the most urgent projects which can consist in the design of: packaging, logo development, product instruction manuals, point-of-purchase design, mattress label design, website projects, photo shoots, catalogs, etc. I do this type of design for Kolcraft products and I also get to work on projects for Jeep, Sesame Street, Sealy and our Contours brand. My job is anything but cookie cutter.
Where do you receive inspiration for your work?
I’d have to say the best place to find inspiration is on the internet. I’ve recently begun to utilize Twitter which is a great resource to learn about other designers, their blogs and online portfolio’s. I also subscribe to 6 different graphic design magazines that are filled with all sorts of great design and tutorials. They’re a great resource to keep up with the trends in design.
You have been at Kolcraft for 10 years. How have you seen Kolcraft change?
I’ve seen many of our departments grow in size, as well as a few new departments created. One of the most needed changes was moving from our tiny office building on the South Side of Chicago to a much larger building in the West Loop of Chicago. Also, our product selection has evolved quite a bit. When I first started, Kolcraft designed and manufactured only about 6 different types of products. Our product selection has more than doubled since I’ve been here.
Obviously you are living & breathing baby products at work, but you recently became a first time dad. What did you learn about parenting that you didn’t know before your baby was born?
I learned that baby’s finger nails grow extremely fast….and that I’m not capable of cutting them properly. I learned about a baby’s fontanel and its clinical significance. And that the lingering smell of baby spit ups on clothing can be quite repulsive.
What were your first thoughts when you brought Ellie home from the hospital?
Since she slept so much at first (like all babies do), I constantly worried if she was breathing. I’d get up several times at night to check on her in the bassinet.
What has been your greatest joy & greatest challenge to being a dad?
My greatest joy is simply watching Ellie grow and develop. Every day she’s learning and doing something new. She makes my wife and I so happy. We get such a kick out of her silliness.
My biggest challenge usually occurs on the weekends my wife works. Ellie still nurses and in these first 7 months we’ve never successfully got her to drink from a bottle. So when it comes to our weekend’s together while her mom is at work, getting her to eat and sleep tends to be a real challenge.
Brent at a glance:
Funniest thing that has happened since Ellie was born?
The funniest thing related to Ellie was at about 3 months old, she discovered that she could do “raspberries” with her mouth and would do those on a fairly regular basis. But there were two types of “raspberries”….the first being the “casual everyday” raspberries and then there are the “I’m pretty ticked off right now” raspberries. Either of these usually gets a pretty big laugh from me.
Favorite daddy daughter activity with Ellie?
I love to feed Ellie solid foods in her high chair. Just after I get home from work, I prepare Ellie’s meal, sit down and enjoy that time with her…..as she spits her food all over me. We even get to play tug-o-war with the spoon. Her tiny hands really have a death grip on that spoon. How is it that she’s already stronger then I am?
Favorite Kolcraft product?
Ellie’s favorite is definitely the Baby Sit & Step activity center, but my wife and I love our Contours Options 3 Wheel stroller. It’s been the only stroller we’ve needed to use since we came home with Ellie from the hospital. The infant car seat attachment made it so easy to simply transfer her quickly in the cold from the car to the stroller, without fumbling with restraint straps. Now that she’s older and the weather is nicer, we use the stroller seat, and we’re able to face her towards us as we walk, so we can keep our eye on her. In the coming months as she gets older, we’ll be able to face her outwards so she can look around and see the world.
And since Brent now has “baby on the brain” 24/7, a little fun mind game with Brent. We asked Brent what is the first word that comes to mind when we say:
Baby – Big cheeks
Sleep – Yes please
Morning – Refreshing
Broccoli – Stains
Beverage – Guinness….I mean apple juice
Lady GaGa – Who?
Thanks for taking time out of your busy day to talk with us Brent. If you have a burning question for our “graphic’s guy,” feel free to leave it in the comment section!