Powerful Design: Byrne’s Collaborative Journey to Empower Artists

Powerful Design: Byrne’s Collaborative Journey to Empower Artists

Powerful design encompasses the freedom to express oneself and create something unique and personalized. When it comes to customization and self-expression, partnering with talented artists is a no-brainer for us.

Let’s introduce some of the skilled individuals we have worked with over the last several years and how they’re collaboration with us has helped to build our Powerful Design initiative.

Marumiyan, 2005

Fukuoka, Japan 

His artistic style is elaborate and generous—work that’s filled with floral elements, intense energy and bright colors. It draws on aspects of traditional Japanese culture and 1960s Art Nouveau posters. His bold style really appealed to Byrne when we selected him to create our first artist finish back in 2005. The final design has been reproduced on a number of Byrne products and print materials over the years and jumpstarted our ongoing tradition of partnering with artists to inspire creativity in everything we do.

Evgeny Kiselev, 2005

St. Petersburg, Russian Federation

“The work of Evgeny Kiselev spans across various mediums and illustration techniques. Yet the conceptual nature and complexity of his work never changes, it remains as always mesmerizing and leaves a feeling of being engulfed in a sort of dark hole of enlightenment, spiraling towards incredible yet inexplicable beauty.”

We gravitated to his energetic—friendly but fearless—artistic approach when we asked him to create our second artist finish.

Dan Marceau, 2016

Detroit, Michigan

When we commissioned this up-and-coming artist in 2016, we invited him over to Byrne, gave hime the tour and filled him in a bit on who we are. Then, we asked him to create a piece of art for us that represented a community. An ecosystem. He ended up inventing a whole undersea world, drawing on our founder’s history in the marine and boating industry. Each character speaks to some aspect of our work life here at Byrne and the things we value—from the stingray’s flexibility to the turtle’s generational diversity. We loved the idea that there’s special meaning throughout…swimming just below the surface.

Erica Lang, 2017

Grand Rapids, Michigan

When we asked her to create Byrne’s graphic inspiration for 2017, we invited her over for a visit here at the company first to see what we do. After her visit, she told us what struck her about Byrne was a strong sense of interconnectedness. This person helping that person. A shared ecosystem. It reminded her of a story she had heard about trees “communicating” with each other through a common fungal network. These connections allow the trees to support each other—and make the forest stronger as a whole. In her woodcut, roots intertwine like cords, charging and strengthening the whole system. A large sun sits above—the ultimate power button. For Erica, it was all about that connection and the support that comes from and energized community.


Nick Nortier, 2019

Grand Rapids, Michigan

We asked him to create a piece of art depicting him impressions of Byrne and it all came back to…gears. They’re everywhere. Turning across Byrne departments. Moving individuals as one. All perfectly interconnected. Nick wanted to visually underscore the idea that when we succeed, or when we fail, we do so together. And that really spoke to us. Here, his fantastic flying world—our company—generates its own power, sailing untethered toward the next adventure. In the end, you might say that Nick’s illustration captured some essential truths for Byrne. Work through every gear you have, work together, and do your best to keep those wheels turning.

Nina Lu, 2021

Grand Rapids, Michigan

For 2021, Byrne’s artist is muralist and illustrator Nina Lu. A Chinese born, Grand Rapids raised visual artist, Nina is currently a student at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. As a Michigan girl, she has always had a passion for natural spaces. In fact, her curiosity about how humans, nature and technology connect is part of what first caught Byrne’s attention. Nina is a young artist but wise beyond her years. She’s creative and connected to the wonder of the world around her. At Grand Rapids’ 2021 ArtPrize, Byrne’s Vesta charging stations were located in 27 outdoor spaces throughout downtown – with each unit covered in a custom design from Nina illustrating what the “power of connection” meant to her. For Byrne, it was the perfect opportunity to showcase Nina’s talent and expose her to a wider audience. You can read more about our partnership with Nina for ArtPrize here.

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