We thought it was time for a little introduction! Meet Adam Johnson, the creator and artist behind Camp Mug Supply Company. Seldom revealing the face behind the brand (and still pretty light with the portraits) this is an inside look at the designer responsible for celebrating the simpler things, one mug at a time.
You can find Adam adventuring all over the Pacific Northwest, finding inspiration for his next design, drinking coffee at See See Motor Co, at Mt Hood during the winter, or lately in his driveway working on his newest project: restoring a 1983 Volkswagon Westfalia with his wife, Paige. Here's a little insight into Adam and why he started CMSCo.
1. Can you give us a little backstory of how you got into design, and what made you start CMSCo?
I have been drawing and painting for a long time. I ended up going to art school in college and that pushed me headfirst into the world of design. I got really into sign painting and hand-painted letters for a while (and I am still fascinated with it) and at the same time studying graphic design mostly working on the computer. I have always carried around a sketchbook full of ideas and I love having close proximity to it at all times. When it comes to the mugs, it was sort of a culmination of all this.
I guess for starters, the little known fact of this brand is that it started as a passion project on the side of my regular 9-5 design job. I painted a mug for myself and used it at work for a long time. After a while, I started having people come up and say they wanted one. So I painted a few here and there for friends. Eventually after sitting on the idea of it all for too long, my super supportive and amazing wife said, "I'm tired of hearing you talk about this idea. Either do it or stop telling me all about your ideas for mugs." Maybe that comes across harsh, but honestly, it was one of the best critiques I could have heard at the moment and she really helped me push past that mental block of just another creative idea swirling around.
2. What made you decide to hand-paint all of the mugs?
Hand-painting them started mostly as a way to get off the computer and back to working with my hands again. It also combined my interests with brushed letters and hand-painted signs.
3. We love how all of the mugs are outdoor/adventure-themed. What made you go with that theme for CMSCo?
These mugs have a long-standing relationship with the great outdoors. There was just something magical about using a timeless product like a camp mug as the canvas for fun designs.
My love for the outdoors, coffee, and simple design just paired perfectly with the essence of the mugs and I think It caters to a lot of people. Regardless of your level of expertise or sense of adventure, it inspires more.
4. About how long does the process take to paint and ship out an order?
On average, about a week (...if I don't have a backlog of orders) I am averaging a couple of mugs per week at this point. Sometimes this more, sometimes less.
5. Do you have any new designs that you're working on?
I want to explore the idea of sets, pairs of mugs or 4 piece sets. I also want to push into more series that have an abstract art approach. More geometric stuff most likely.
6. What do you love most about CMSCo? The connections you make? The art?
It really comes down to the people I have had the opportunity to meet and the relationships I've developed over just a few years of doing this.
I've always wanted the brand to have a strong connection with people. At the end of the day, the creative conversations and brilliant people I have been able to connect with has completely validated that this is more than just about selling mugs. It's about having a relationship with my audience and supporting a culture of similar thinkers, makers, and doers. People that resonate with simple, well-considered products.
7. Where do you see CMSCo going in 2020?
I would love the opportunity to land some shelf space in a few retail shops. Naturally, this will likely start in the Pacific Northwest since that's where the brand is based. There are a couple of special collaborations I am working on though at the moment and I'm excited to bring those to market later this year. You'll just have to wait and see as that gets closer to those launching. I've dropped a few hints but that's it for now.
8. Anything else you'd like to add?
Really, this whole thing wouldn't be possible without the people that buy a mug, shoot us a message on Instagram, or tell a friend about the brand. So to everyone reading this and taking the time to be a part of Camp Mug Supply Co. I say a very heartfelt thank you! You are the ones keeping the flames of this little idea stoked! Many more adventures are ahead of us all!
To view our latest mugs, click here!
Pictured above are some really great humans that came out to support the first and to date, only (hopefully more in the future) Camp Mug Supply Co. Pop-Up Shop back when we were still slinging mugs from Baltimore, Maryland. To these people and all the rest that have supported this mission along the way, thanks for all of it!