Hometown Heroes: Juan And Sam Solorzano Of Brothers Design CO.
Introducing the Hometown Heroes Collective (!). We originally launched our Hometown Heroes program to highlight local creatives, designers and makers all over the country. Now, we’re stepping things up in partnership with Nest, a nonprofit organization focused on supporting craftspeople to generate workforce inclusivity. Together, we’ll continually select U.S.-based makers to get in on extra-special benefits. So let’s get to know a couple members of our first Collective class: Juan and Sam Solorzano, *the* brothers behind Brothers Design Co.
Illustrations, album covers, patches for your jean jacket—Nashville-based brothers Juan and Sam Solorzano do it all. No matter the project, they consistently create work that feels totally classic yet distinctively theirs. We visited them in Nashville and chatted about their day-to-day, sources of inspiration, in-studio essentials and more.
Tell us a bit about how Brothers Design Co. started.
Sam: The first project we ever worked on came about rather randomly. Juan wrote and recorded the guitar parts for our friend Joseph LeMay’s record, Seventeen Acres. Juan also shot all the photos for the album on film and then brought me on board to work on the design. It was a very smooth and enjoyable process so we decided to start a company and jokingly named it Brothers. The name ended up sticking.
It seems like you make a great team—how do you each like working together?
Sam: We don’t work together every day since Juan is also a touring musician. But when we do collaborate, it’s always super chill and easy, like working with your best friend who never gives you any trouble. We have the same taste and end goals. He also helps me think of ideas I wouldn’t have otherwise.
Juan: Our different skill sets help us create visuals that are more unique than if it were just one of us working on a project. And being related aside, we’re very similar people so it’s never been a struggle to work together.
What do you like to have on-hand while you’re working on a project?
Juan: Good tunes, tea, coffee, Pinterest boards with too many pins and our dog Miles.
Speaking of too many pins, where do you guys tend to look for inspiration?
Sam: We strive for all of our designs and illustrations to have a timeless, simple feel. A lot of our inspiration comes from old Vogue covers, tarot cards, vintage Japanese matchbooks, 1940s tattoo flash art and antique book covers.
Any advice for people interested in starting a creative business of their own?
Sam: Practice patience and create work for yourself. It’s helpful to have good people skills. Know your market and be consistent with your aesthetic and goals. If you stick with something long enough people start to notice. Lastly, try not give into your fears and don't let the haters get you down.
Juan: Agreed. It’s important to cultivate what makes your work stand out. Also, knowing your worth is important. Younger artists are always willing to work for nothing just to get themselves out there—but they end up getting stuck as the person that works on the cheap. If you make good work, the clientele will come and will be happy to pay for the unique thing that you bring to the table.