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The Mastermind Behind Ink Spot’s Graphic Designs

By Talbert Toole
Lifestyles Editor

From Double Decker Arts Festival to businesses in Oxford and beyond, Cat Daddy’s and Ink Spot have created graphic design concepts for a plethora of customers or nearly 30 years.

Ink Spot, the parent company, was founded in 1990 by Chris Riddell. The company works as the operating house for both itself and Cat Daddy’s—the apparel store located on the Square.

The company works in a two-step process with an artist who manages the creative department while Riddell oversees the production aspect.

Ally Cunningham fills her sketchbook with pages and pages of illustrations and designs which then turn into a tangible product.

Cunningham works as the mastermind behind multiple community designs such as Big Bad Breakfast (City Grocery Restaurant Group), Proud Larry’s and Ace Atkins (author).

Originally from Oxford, Cummingham attended the University of Mississippi where she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Ole Miss, a prestigious and rigorous program that requires prospective students to present a competitive portfolio after completing 18 hours of studio art classes.

Cunningham said she chose to concentrate on graphic design it was “essentially the most difficult area in art.”

“It was the only area of art that I wasn’t natural in or had a background in already,” she said.

While Cunningham worked endlessly to complete her BFA, she began to intern for Rindell at Ink Spot. Upon completing her degree, she took on a fulltime position as the company’s only designer.

As Cunningham flipped through her sketchbook, she revealed multiple stage process she goes through when designing a concept.

She first begins by sketching out a thought which eventually turns into a design. The majority of her time is spent using the Adobe program Photoshop.

“Everything I make, I have to keep in mind that it’s not just for digital purposes,” Cunningham said. “It’s not just going to come out of the printer.”

Cunningham has to take into account the fabrics, colors and who might possibly be wearing the T-shirt, among other things, she said.

She said she has to print out multiple layers of her design, to scale, in order to see how everything matches up before she sends it to print.

Although the process seems grueling, Cunningham said she designs at least four to six designs each day.

“Each design is a reflection of me,” she said.

For more information on Ink Spot and Cat Daddy’s, visit their Facebook page.

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