Art director enjoys job diversity at local shop

Ryan Robertson stands at his desk at the Liberty Signarama location at 1005 Middlebrook Drive. He has been with owners Mark and Lisa Freidel since the start of the business, almost three years ago.

LIBERTY — Art Director Ryan Robertson has been with Mark and Lisa Freidel since the couple opened the Signarama location in Liberty, 1005 Middlebrook Drive Suite B, almost three years ago. The Liberty High School graduate earned his graphic design degree from Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, but wanted to return to his roots.

“I feel lucky to have found this,” he said. “I drive around Liberty and the metro area and point out the signs I have either designed or helped design. In some ways, I’ve had a hand in shaping the look of the city. I’ve put my own thumbprint on the area.”

What would surprise people most to learn about your job?

“Every day is generally something new to do,” he said. “It might be a vehicle wrap or a storefront sign. We do so many different products and projects. I never know what might arise. That might be the surprise to overcome. It’s also about understanding that these products are investments for the companies. It’s something that will be part of the company for years to come.”

What do you like best about your position or this field in particular?

“There’s a sense of freedom here,” Robertson said. “My co-workers are great to work with and we believe in moving forward with our collective creativity. I’ve been able to make logos for storefronts that owners have liked. That means a lot.”

Would 10-year-old you be surprised that you are in this field or position?

“Probably not,” he said. “I have always been drawing, doodling and coloring. However, in college, I finished those general education courses, but I wasn’t sure what I should do. My grandmother said that all my coloring and drawing could be something. I then took a graphic design course because of the prompt from my grandmother and I now have a career.”

What’s the most common question you get asked about what you do?

“The most common question I get here is what type of file format do I need for someone’s art,” Robertson said. “The second is what do I specifically do. I try to explain car wraps, storefront signs, window vinyls, yard signs and banners.”

What advice would you give someone who is starting a job similar to yours?

“There’s really nothing about sign making in school,” Robertson said. “The key is to learn the basics and look at marketing. Then jump in with both feet. That’s what I did. I also got to shadow others at a couple other Signarama locations. I’m glad to be where I’m at, creating marketing pieces, campaign items, original logos and more for the smallest entrepreneurs to larger businesses.”

What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

“I think it’s juggling the customer’s expectations with timelines,” he said. “It’s always a bit baffling to me when a business or individual doesn’t have access to their own art. I may have to rebuild it or give it a good effort. However, I’m not always a miracle worker. It’s easier if I have an art file with good resolution.”

Southeast Editor Kellie Houx can be reached at or 389-6630.

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