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2021 Makers of Tomorrow: Eberardo Bahena

Once completely unaware of the sign industry, a graffiti-art-inspired design ace has found his calling at Image360 Tucker (Tucker, GA).

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Eberardo Bahena

Age: 26
Job: Job: Senior graphic designer, Image360 Tucker (Tucker, GA)

A FRESH GRADUATE OF the Art Institute of Atlanta, Eberardo Bahena was in search of his first professional job. He fired off applications in many directions, and the first company that replied was Image360 Tucker, even though Bahena had no sign industry experience. “I took a leap of faith to see if I would like it,” he said, now nearing his three-year anniversary with the company. “And I’ve realized that there are so many things that I can do here.”

Bahena’s schooling made him aware of wayfinding signage, but until he took this job, he never fully grasped the capabilities of a sign company. “All the signage that goes into storefronts, stores – all the little stuff that I wouldn’t even think about like posters and decals … I never knew that [Image360] was a place that it was being created,” he said. Bahena’s duties as senior graphic designer include “touching all the layouts,” some print production – he specifically noted overseeing color management – and occasional client consultation. Bahena’s nominator noted that the 26-year-old “has the innate ability to design projects from print media to complex car wraps to custom wayfinding solutions.”

Bahena’s affinity for graphic design originated in middle school when he began spotting graffiti art. “In high school, I learned I could make a career out of this, that creating logos was basically the same thing,” he said. His passion was reinforced by two things. One, he watched interviews with Atlanta-area graffiti artists who said they could have also been graphic designers. Two, as a teenager, Bahena’s parents – who work in the roofing business – would drive him and his brother to job sites. “If you don’t want to go to school, you can come here and do this,” Bahena recalled his parents saying, before adding, “Sitting here drawing is way better than being on a roof all day.”

Running Image360 Tucker’s social media accounts has also become part of Bahena’s repertoire, snapping production shots, finished projects (when permitted by the client) and experimenting with video, such as time-lapses or video edits of jobs to provide viewers with a peek into the signmaking process. Bahena had previously gathered social media experience for a sports agency, and thought Image360 Tucker could benefit by showcasing more of its capabilities. In the future, Bahena could see himself in an art director-type of position. But for now, he just wants to keep learning. “As long as I’m designing, I’ll be content,” he said.

PHOTO GALLERY ( 6 IMAGES)

Grant Freking is Signs of the Times' Managing Editor. Contact him at [email protected].

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