Written by Francie King

“Keep pushing, keep digging. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake as it makes you better.” That’s the sage advice from Lincoln Design Co. Art Director and Designer Dustin Noden. After years of work, he still aims for growth, his passion palpable. His creativity comes from movement and the outdoors, so he prioritizes time to disconnect from technology for his mind to wander. Lincoln teammate, Senior Illustrator Damasso Sanchez adds more words of wisdom: “If you have a pen, use it to bring something to life. Give your work character. If you have to explain what you drew with words, it’s not good enough. Include the message in the piece.”

Lincoln Design Co's office in Portland, OR.

Brothers in Art; Near or Apart

Lincoln Design Co. is a California born and bred brand and creative agency now based in Portland, OR. Their San Diego feel is laid-back but their strong work speaks to their ability to connect with customers, clients and each other. Action sports, fashion, lifestyle, outdoor and entertainment are their specialties. Their clients range from Nike to Hasbro; Harley Davidson to Tony Hawk. Owner and Founder Dan Janssen says, “What sets us apart is our own unique style and look, we have an authentic edge that comes from growing up and living the Southern California lifestyle.”

The do-it-yourself energy of the city of Roses has been motivating and the rugged beauty of the Pacific Northwest invigorating to the team since their move north two years ago. “Here in Oregon you have motor-cross, skating, snowboarding and other extreme sports, right in your backyard. We’re happy to be close to nature,” Dan says. Lincoln’s services and capabilities span from brand identity illustration, apparel and graphics. This can manifest in work from a skateboard graphic to a packaging to a brand guidelines book.

Varied interests and a small team allow them to pivot quickly and initiate opportunities that mirror personal interests. “When we create partnerships, we want to work with people or companies who we click with on a personal level,” says Dan. The collaboration with Wacom came about organically, over a beer at a Portland Design Week open house. It turned into a recent event, video and photoshoot showcasing Lincoln’s talents and industry.

“We couldn’t do our job without our Wacom products,” says Dan. “We use them all day every day to create our work and streamline processes.” Progress checks are crucial to a remote workforce like Lincoln’s (they keep an office in San Diego to maintain their skate community connection), and the Bamboo smartpads allow the Lincoln team to work together in real time, no matter where they are. After the sketch is complete, they move it to Adobe Illustrator, and continue honing their work on an Intuos tablet.

The Perfect combination of Analog and Digital

“We have a heads down approach to the day,” says Dan, explaining their early morning starts. “We check in when we arrive, and then get to work. With the Bamboo smartpads, we can sketch something and have it saved on the cloud for the team to review simultaneously. We’re all visual people so being able to collaborate live cuts down on emails.” This is important for the remote team. Continues Damasso, “It’s nice with the Bamboo Folio to slowly develop your ideas, while not at a computer, getting whatever is your mind directly on paper. It keeps things moving.”

Tools are important to Lincoln’s work only if they streamline the process and complement the composition. Dustin appreciates that with the Bamboo Slate, you don’t need Bluetooth or Internet to get to work. Simply turn on your smartpad and go. “I love that you can see each stroke later to really drill down on your work,” says Dustin. To him, the Bamboo Slate is useful because, with it, “You literally can’t make a mistake because it’s just a sketch. The tactile feel is natural and the perfect combination of analog and digital.”


Damasso says, “Communication is the most important thing between the team, as it’s important to match the intensity of the office while working from home. “Lincoln has a super great vibe. The chemistry is there. Although we come from different backgrounds, there are many similarities that bind us. Whatever each person has to offer builds value, and makes the company that much stronger. We truly complement each other,” says Damasso. The family-like atmosphere of Lincoln Design is what Dustin appreciates the most. “It’s a seamless workplace. We spend holidays together. We tease each other with no fear. We’re friends with a natural comradery. This is what separates us from other studios.” To Dustin, Lincoln Design Co is a routine. “It’s my life, and how I live it. It’s a seamless lifestyle of critiquing all that you do, with the ultimate goal to be better each day than you were before.”