A Bit About Me
I’m Toby, the Owner, President and Chief Bottle Washer of the Brandinghouse.
I’ve known that I wanted to be a commercial artist since the age of three. I’m sure that sounds a little far fetched, but it’s true. I grew up in the small mountain town of Lake City, CO, with printing presses just steps away from my living room and an art gallery just a few steps more. To say that being creative is in my blood isn’t just a metaphor. Both of my parents were artists. I have been drawing and painting since I was three years old. Taking life drawing classes at the age of ten and assisting with art classes by fifteen. My first paid logo design was in 1985.
My first job outside of working for my parents was for a printing company in Grand Junction, Colorado. I was doing camerawork, plating and typesetting as well as graphic design. It was a fully immersive experience that employed everything I’d learned working along side my father in the pressroom.
At 19, I took a job at the largest print shop in town. I started as counter sales, but within a year I was managing the company. I made it a priority to learn every step of the printing process. From design and pre-press, darkroom and plating, presswork and bindery. Each job I took in, I learned more and more about what it really took to get a piece printed. By the end of the seven years that I worked there, the store had become the number one store out of 1,500 in the franchise. I was the top sales person for the whole franchise as well.
As if managing the company wasn’t enough, I also started taking on freelance design work. I started my first company called Midnight By Design, mostly because I would take a design project on the counter, take it home and work up the designs that night and have proofs ready the next morning… Literally working through midnight to get everything done.
I left Grand Junction and moved to Fort Collins, CO. I worked at a full-color print house and learned the ins-and-outs of the larger presses. After a year, I decided to go full time with Midnight By Design. I stayed in Fort Collins for a couple of years, but clients back in Grand Junction compelled me to move back. It was there that I met my wife who was a brilliant writer. The two of us shut down Midnight By Design and we started the Brandinghouse. We ran the company together for nearly 16 years. We moved to Newport News, VA after the birth of our first child. After the birth of our second daughter, we realized how much we missed the mountains, so we moved to Asheville, NC.
Unfortunately, a divorce ended the partnership, but I’ve kept the company going. The Brandinghouse has had other partners and employees over the years, but I have found that keeping it small has allowed me to deliver the best possible experience to my clients.
Today, it’s just myself and my dog Barley. After all of these years, I still love what I do. It thrills me to help folks create a more cohesive brand, or a visual presence for their company. It’s what I live for. Throughout the years, I’ve done hundreds of logo designs, websites and helped to produce brands throughout the world. My love for design has also trickled down into both of my children, and I’m proud to say that they are both following in my footsteps and are incredible artists in their own right.