Ryan Swanson

What I love about graphic design is that it’s an art form that everyone can use. I'm a trained artist turned self-taught designer with eight years of experience in print and web design. I split my time among freelancing, teaching and making wonderful things in my Chicago apartment. When it involves X-acto knives, pixels or tape, you can count me in.

Something New

Against nature
It won’t ever get old, but it will run out
The Division Of Labor In Society
The Rules of Attraction
The Form of Things Unknown
Beheaded, just like her father…
Basic Instinct
Dead of Night, Black As Rain
  • visually


  • in order to work


  • What I Do

  • I think with my hands


  • to stay fresh


  • till it's awesome


  • to meet your needs and goals


  • problems into visual solutions


  • skill with style



ny ny tx tx tn tn ct ct ga ga il il
  • Scaracyse, Ny
  • Born May 20th, 1980
  • In addition to three brothers, I had two imaginary friends
  • Tyler, Tx
  • Nothing really happened here and we moved after 18 months
  • Memphis, TN
  • Developed a fondness for coloring and the Crayon boxes with built-in sharpeners
  • Went on school field trips to Graceland
  • Bethel, Ct
  • My mom took me to my first art exhibition, and I was amazed by Duane Hanson’s sculptures
  • Drew a lot of pastel portraits of celebrities from magazines
  • Atlanta, Ga
  • I dyed my hair a lot—because I was creatively angsty in high school.
  • Loved my first Graphic Design internship at Planet Studio
  • Graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design
  • Chicago, Il
  • Came to Chicago for a MFA degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago
  • Currently live and work in Edgewater, a neighborhood on the north side of Chicago
Adjunct Instructor, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago
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I teach graphic design and web design to a wide variety of students in the continuing studies department.
trophy1 trophy2 trophy3 trophy4 trophy6 trophy7 Teacher of the Year, Westwood College
Photoshop Advanced Visual Communication Found object jQuery Redesign Salsa Digital Layout Web Design I, Logo Design Curriculum development Signage Mural Design Wordpress development Sculpture ModX, Color theorist Joomla Front end mobile Retouching Brochure HTML Expert with an Xacto knife Editorial layout Brand and Identity Development Painting flash Drawing CSS expert Concept development Student advising Indesign Exhibition catalog design Dreamweaver Web Design III Illustrator Image Editing Book Design Graphic Design Studio Website design Digital Layout Content strategy Collage maker Custom Theme design for Wordpress Intro to Graphic Design Portfolio Review Responsive Design


What other people say...

Ryan designed and produced a brand new Edgewater Chamber brochure for us. From start to finish, he made the process very simple and used his design expertise to produce a first-class piece. I highly recommend Ryan if you're looking for quality design work from a professional who's a pleasure to work with.

—Jay Delaney, President Edgewater Chamber of Commerce

We hired Ryan to redesign our marketing brochures. Because of Ryan's research, the design was a perfect match for our audience and made a huge difference in our direct mail campaigns. His work was clean, detailed and efficient. Ryan is one of the most creative designers I have ever worked with.

—Amanda Schreiner, Producer NCSBN

Working with Ryan Swanson was an amazing creative experience. He presented us with fresh, innovative designs for our website. Ryan made himself available to us after the project was completed to be a support system for any problems or questions we had. We will definitely be using him again for design needs.

—Jenny Lamb, Owner, Lil Buds Theater Company

Ryan’s exhibition catalog design for the Contemporary Arts Council was more than just a typical publication; functioning as an artist's book, it was smart, visual, engaging and a true extension of the exhibition itself. Working with Ryan was the most rewarding, personalized experience I've had working with a designer.

—Jessica Cochran, Curator

Ryan is not only a talented designer and artist, he is a gifted educator. I can't say enough of how impressed I was with this teacher!

—student evaluation, Web Design I, SAIC