Darrin Crescenzi and Erin Mintun prove those lines from the classic song “New York, New York” are true. Because they have made it.
Both are 2007 graduates of Oregon State’s graphic design program. Erin is a trend forecaster. She recently launched her own consulting business, researching global color and design trends for the fashion industry.
Darrin is a brand builder. As director of design/innovation at Interbrand, he focuses on making leading global brands more accessible through design. In 2013, when Fast Company released its list of the Top 100 Most Creative People in Business, Darrin came in at number 37. He made the list again in 2014.
While the couples’ work is similar, they say it’s different enough to keep things interesting. They enjoy a constant consultation with each other.
“I always like to get her eyes on a project before I show it to anybody else,” Darrin says.
The two met in a freshman design class. Friends at first, they eventually became a couple. Both won coveted internships at Nike against fierce competition, and those turned into full-time jobs after graduation. Erin was a color expert — helping figure out things like which color soccer fans in Italy might favor in coming years. And it was during his time at Nike where Darrin developed what’s probably his most recognizable work — a poster of the family crests from the television show “Game of Thrones.”
“The first time I came to New York, I fell in love with the city,” Erin says. “There’s an energy here, and it’s beautiful. As a creative, it sucks you in, and as soon as I got back to Oregon after my first trip, I kept thinking about how to get back to New York.”
Erin got there first in 2012, and Darrin followed a few months later. Although surrounded by equally ambitious creative professionals in the city, they found a surprisingly supportive environment.
“You might think that the design community in New York is competitive, but I find that because we’re all in it together, people help each other,” Erin says.
It’s not that different from what they had back in Corvallis. The pair remain close with their classmates, including some who have come to visit or moved to the city themselves. And since they’ve found it difficult to find a good cup of coffee in New York, friends and family ship them their favorite Oregon brands.
Both Darrin and Erin remain proud of the ethic of service and get-to-work attitude they found at Oregon State — characteristics embedded into their own work lives.
“There are many designers who are more talented than me, but it’s a service business,” Darrin says. “You have to maintain relationships, you have to be reliable, you have to convince people that you do what you do with their best interests in mind, and that you’re going to be there for them.”
“I used to think I was a lucky person,” Erin adds. “And then I met some lucky people, and I realized that what I have is not luck. It’s hard work and preparedness, and putting yourself in the right place at the right time.”
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