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2021 Makers of Tomorrow: Scot Crabtree

This up-and-coming graphic designer boasts a diverse fabrication skillset and a growing online audience.




Scot Crabtree

Age: 23
Job: Graphic designer, ProSign Studio (New Albany, OH)

MAYBE IT WAS the Lincoln Logs. Maybe it was playing with his father’s tools. Either way, it’s clear Scot Crabtree was born to make things – even if the 23-year-old wasn’t fixated on the signage and graphics industry right away.

An affection for photography drew Crabtree into graphic design, which led to a job at High Resolutions, a Knoxville, TN-based print shop. There, he learned the Adobe suite and began to channel his imagination into reality with the shop’s CNC machine, laser cutter, vinyl cutter and more. “Once I had that down, I was able to marry my schooling in graphic design and also my passion for general making,” he said, “so once those two came together, I found myself making a lot of signs.” A degree in graphic design followed, and the art exhibition he was required to complete for his senior year of college wound up being a wall of signs he fabricated out of paper, foamcore, craft felt and other materials. His future boss at ProSign – Crabtree’s family moved to Ohio while he was in college – was impressed enough with his work to bring him aboard.

Crabtree Creative is the personal brand that Crabtree developed in college and works under for side jobs. His personal workshop, a 30 x 12-ft. shed, is where Crabtree walks his 1,000-plus Instagram followers and nearly 300 YouTube subscribers through his personal and professional projects. “I make the videos so you can see what’s going on and if you were interested in recreating this, you could get a good enough idea from watching the videos to do it yourself,” he said. “If you wanted to make a one-to-one copy of what I did – which is totally fine, that’s part of the intended aspect – the idea mainly is to give people a good enough idea to take what they’re seeing and apply it to a project that they have in their own minds and want to create.”

At present, Crabtree is content both at ProSign and working four to five hours a day on side projects after he comes home. But ultimately, he believes he’ll start his own full-time business. “I plan on growing; that’s the direction I’m headed,” he said.

“Five years from now, I definitely think I will be at the point where I will be doing stuff on my own.”




Introducing the Sign Industry Podcast

The Sign Industry Podcast is a platform for every sign person out there — from the old-timers who bent neon and hand-lettered boats to those venturing into new technologies — we want to get their stories out for everyone to hear. Come join us and listen to stories, learn tricks or techniques, and get insights of what’s to come. We are the world’s second oldest profession. The folks who started the world’s oldest profession needed a sign.

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