Hero Design Studio

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photos by:
March 5, 2011
  • 
  Mark and Beth (at the shop with their pooch Seri) founded Hero in 2003 as a design collective with work such as creating flyers for friends bands but it wasn't until a trip to South by Southwest in 2005 that they moved into high gear. "I was roaming through the halls and by accident stumbled onto Flatstock," Mark says. "On the flight home I pulled out my notebook that I keep in my bag but never use and jotted down a million ideas because I'd seen our future right in front of me. It was very real and something we needed to do."
    Mark and Beth (at the shop with their pooch Seri) founded Hero in 2003 as a design collective with work such as creating flyers for friends bands but it wasn't until a trip to South by Southwest in 2005 that they moved into high gear. "I was roaming through the halls and by accident stumbled onto Flatstock," Mark says. "On the flight home I pulled out my notebook that I keep in my bag but never use and jotted down a million ideas because I'd seen our future right in front of me. It was very real and something we needed to do."
  • 
  By 2005, Mark and Beth were printing their own posters and in 2006 they exhibited at Flatstock for the first time (and have returned every year since and will be there again this year). In September 2006, they opened their storefront.
    By 2005, Mark and Beth were printing their own posters and in 2006 they exhibited at Flatstock for the first time (and have returned every year since and will be there again this year). In September 2006, they opened their storefront.
  • 
  Mark and Beth followed Apple's model: inviting people into a physical space to experience the brand. "On a very micro level, that process worked for us," Mark says. The name was also inspired by Apple. "I'm not an institutional kind of guy," say Mark, who dropped out of design school when he shopped his portfolio around town and landed a logo and t-shirt gig for a local record store. "It'd be nice to have something hanging on the wall but all my heroes are dropouts, took life by the seat of their pants, and made things happen. That's been a motivation, all those wacky people who had more vision than common sense."
    Mark and Beth followed Apple's model: inviting people into a physical space to experience the brand. "On a very micro level, that process worked for us," Mark says. The name was also inspired by Apple. "I'm not an institutional kind of guy," say Mark, who dropped out of design school when he shopped his portfolio around town and landed a logo and t-shirt gig for a local record store. "It'd be nice to have something hanging on the wall but all my heroes are dropouts, took life by the seat of their pants, and made things happen. That's been a motivation, all those wacky people who had more vision than common sense."
  • 
  Hero's main products are prints (many of which are concert posters they've been hired to create) as well as totes and shirts.
    Hero's main products are prints (many of which are concert posters they've been hired to create) as well as totes and shirts.
  • 
  The real reason for having the space is the printing studio that occupies the back third of the 650-square-foot store. "We needed somewhere to house everything," Beth says. "We could either have gotten a studio and relied on online sales or gotten a studio in which we also did retail. We figured if the store didn't do well we could close off the front and keep the space for our workshop."
    The real reason for having the space is the printing studio that occupies the back third of the 650-square-foot store. "We needed somewhere to house everything," Beth says. "We could either have gotten a studio and relied on online sales or gotten a studio in which we also did retail. We figured if the store didn't do well we could close off the front and keep the space for our workshop."
  • 
  Though they're located in a Rust Belt city with ample available space, Mark and Beth treat their shop and studio like a Brooklyn space. "What we do is urban and hopefully seen as hip and big-city-ish so we do it in that environment," Mark says of squeezing into the tight quarters. Shown here are the piles of long-term inventory as well as paints, both of the traditional silk-screening as well as house varieties. "We do a lot of playing around," Mark says.
    Though they're located in a Rust Belt city with ample available space, Mark and Beth treat their shop and studio like a Brooklyn space. "What we do is urban and hopefully seen as hip and big-city-ish so we do it in that environment," Mark says of squeezing into the tight quarters. Shown here are the piles of long-term inventory as well as paints, both of the traditional silk-screening as well as house varieties. "We do a lot of playing around," Mark says.
  • 
  Hero's designs are also wearable. Mark and Beth don't yet screen the shirts themselves but have made that one of their next goals.
    Hero's designs are also wearable. Mark and Beth don't yet screen the shirts themselves but have made that one of their next goals.
  • 
  Many of the designs are Buffalo-centeric but ironically, it's not local residents purchases those prints. "It's ironic but it takes Buffalonians who have moved elsewhere and come back to visit to make this store in Buffalo viable," Mark says.
    Many of the designs are Buffalo-centeric but ironically, it's not local residents purchases those prints. "It's ironic but it takes Buffalonians who have moved elsewhere and come back to visit to make this store in Buffalo viable," Mark says.
  • 
  On March 1, Mark and Beth announced that they'll be shuttering their Allentown storefront—not because of a lack of business but because of the exact opposite, they're too busy with design projects to dedicate the time to maintaining a retail shop. Not to fret, however, they'll be using their extra time to attend more shows (like Flatstock and the Renegade Craft Fair) and expand their online shop at heroandsound.com/store as well as on Etsy.
    On March 1, Mark and Beth announced that they'll be shuttering their Allentown storefront—not because of a lack of business but because of the exact opposite, they're too busy with design projects to dedicate the time to maintaining a retail shop. Not to fret, however, they'll be using their extra time to attend more shows (like Flatstock and the Renegade Craft Fair) and expand their online shop at heroandsound.com/store as well as on Etsy.
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