My name is Cory Cooke and I’m an Art Director and Graphic Designer from Orange County, California. I am the fifth generation of design industry professionals, dating back to my Great Great Grandfather who was a black and white photo Hand-Colorist. As far back as I can remember I’ve had a passion for art and design. As an only child growing up, I would spend hours trying to replicate frames from comic strips (mainly Bill Watterson’s “Calvin n’ Hobbes”). By twelve, I began to dabble in digital art with the infamous drawing program MS Paint. Even with its limited function, I squeezed as much creativity as I could out of it. When I was fifteen, everything changed when I got my first taste of the Adobe Creative Suite. Over the course of a summer interning at my grandfather’s print proofing shop (something that the industry has long past and forgotten), I learned the ins and outs of professional design software.
After that summer was done, my grandfather sent me home with one of their older Macs loaded up with Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. I spent the next few years honing my new skills by dissecting the world of design around me. It wasn’t too long after that I began to take work designing logos, stickers, and tees for local bands, as well as event program covers for my high school. In 2004, I achieved my Associates of Arts degree in Film/Video from Orange Coast College. Then, in 2008, I earned my Associates of Science degree from Westwood College’s School for Design and Multimedia, where I graduated top of my class.
Out of college, I began designing young women’s apparel graphics for Hybrid Apparel (Hybrid Tees, then), where I quickly worked my way from an entry level assistant to a junior level graphic artist. During this time at Hybrid, I mostly designed women’s and Girls tee graphics, but I also helped create the department’s file organization flow and cataloging, designed packaging for gift with purchase programs, and was sent to trade shows as a representative for an brand collaboration launch. For over five years I was apart of a crack design team that aided in the tremendous growth of the then family owned tee shirt company. During my time at the company I saw Hybrid grow into a global powerhouse in the apparel world.
Through Hybrid, I became a volunteer and board member of a wonderful non-profit organization called Black Book Sessions. The organization strived to be a creative light, helping future artist from underserved communities stay supported and encouraged. We held regular art contest for a variety of ages, mentored at high schools, and organized fundraising events that helped send talented kids to art school.
October of 2013 began the journeyman phase of my career, and over the course of the next three years I broadened my knowledge and ability beyond women’s tees. I designed for multiple categories including Men’s, Youth, and specialty fashion markets. Now, as a senior artist, I gained a better understanding and application, beyond just creating art, of the larger production process. From design to final product, I coordinated with other departments to prepare print separations for production, plot and print all over patterns, and increased my understanding of fabric content and print techniques.
In 2016, I rejoined Hybrid Apparel in their Disney/Resorts division, where I put my newly expanded acumen to work. From 2019-2023, I worked in the role of Art Manager/Director where I developed standard operating procedures, improved file handling and organizational systems, created various lifestyle and core programs for Disney Parks in all age categories, and designed specialty packaging, all while managing the day to day of my team of artists.
Aside from apparel design, my other passions include music and podcasting. I’ve been playing and writing music in bands from age eleven, and almost immediately began merging music and design. That passion still rings true in me today. From 2013-2018 I worked as a Creative Director for a small music production company called Archstone Productions and their subsidiary record label Arcadian Records. In 2018 I co-founded RiffLaff, a hobbyist podcast and media platform, where I develop, write, and host podcasts. I also act as RiffLaff’s Creative Director designing for the brand and all visual content including show art work and branding, audio grams, animations, and have began to dabble in motion graphics.
Feel free to check out my portfolio, and thanks for stopping by!