For the past few months our inbox has been exploding with design content from Matt Houston that we couldn’t keep our eyes pff of. We had a chance to sit down with the new designer to find out more about his past, how Trenches helped inspire his career and his future with the LA Rams!
How did you get into design?
MH: I first got into design in high school making “signatures” on Footballs Future message boards. Have always been self-taught for the most part. Unfortunately, I didn’t really stick with it and didn’t do much design while in college at UMiami. I would design a piece here or there but take months off in between. Eventually, towards the end of college, I took a couple magazine/newspaper design and layout classes as part of my Comm major and sort of rediscovered the passion to an extent. After graduating I took an internship with the company where I ended up working for nearly four years focusing on digital marketing, social as well as serving as the in-house graphic designer. There was a sports component to the company but not a professional one. About this time last year is when I decided to get back into some of the sports design that I used to love. My initial plan was to just create 8 pieces to get printed to hang in my new apartment but about halfway through I sort of fell back in love with it and decided to create the accounts and just go from there. It’s been a crazy ride since then and I’ve totally pivoted my career path to pursue sports design.
How did you land your internship with the LA Rams?
MH: Cory Befort actually reached out to me about a potential opening with the team. I popped on a few calls with him and some other guys on the creative team and we ended up working out a position that should be awesome. I’m born and raised in DC, so I figured it would be a fun time to explore a totally new place and learn from what was already one of my favorite creative teams in the industry. I can’t wait to get going in August.
What’s been the most rewarding part of follow @Trenches_?
MH: Trenches has not only helped paved the way for me to land certain freelance gigs and gain exposure/followers that have helped essentially change my entire career, but perhaps what is most rewarding to me is the people it has connected me to, and allowed me to discover. I really had no idea how big of a community was out there, as I started almost exclusively with soccer design and was so locked in to that side of the community. It has been awesome to sort of blend the two worlds together. I am fascinated by it really, the soccer design community is so immensley talented, yet in terms of the professional teams it seems there is so much more that could be done, and the teams are not capitalizing on the insane talent that is out there, whereas the American sports teams are making design such an important piece to their brands. Hopefully some big soccer clubs start to pick up on it and we see similar caliber design and focus overseas.
What advice would you give a designer trying to break into the sports industry?
MH: My biggest piece of advice is always that hard work pays off. I created my accounts one year ago and have accomplished already more than I could have poissibly dreamed of, with pieces being used by the Premier League, college sports teams, professional athletes and more. None of it would be possible if I didn’t bust my ass night in and night out coming home from already working a day at my full-time gig. Keep working, stick to it, reach out to people for help and advice and don’t get discouraged. Stay positive and focus on creating pieces that you are proud of, even if they don’t get the “recognition” you are hoping for. That’s always been my main focus.
What’s on your design playlist?
MH: I pretty much exclusively listen to EDM sets while I design. I love plugging on a 1-2 hour set and just letting it ride. Axwell, Sebastian Ingrosso, Don Diablo, Nicky Romero and Avicii are usually my go tos!