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August 6, 2013.
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A Closer Look Behind Montville’s Business Owners

This Week’s Bio: Duane Belotti - By Molly Smith  

Artists come in all shapes and forms. From sculptors to painters, dancers to singers, creative genius comes about in many different ways. For Duane Belotti, the merging of visual and performing arts seemed natural as a graphic designer and musician—it’s design that rocks.

Duane calls himself “a chameleon of sorts... a master of all trades.” Since he graduated from college, he has been working independently as a professional graphic designer. Additionally, Duane has worked on and off as a freelance artist for the past twenty-five years, and also has experience as an art director, staff artist, web designer, and marketing consultant. When it comes to design, Duane says, “It’s visual, appealing, eye- catching —it has to be something that draws people in. You have to know how to tell the client’s story.”

Duane’s story began from a young age; he was always interested in the visual aspect of design. He continued that vision at Ohio State University where he received a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design with a major in Visual Communications. During his schooling, the computer revolution totally changed the graphics industry. Spec types and stat machines were traded in for desktops and laptops, but Duane still applies traditional methods of design in his work, drawing out his designs by hand first before turning to technology. He considers the computer and software to be more tools in his skillset. “In doing good design, it’s not just having a good computer,” he explains. “You have to have the principles of good design in your head.”

In telling a client’s story, Duane says that the end goal is often the starting point. At a consultation, he meets with a company’s creative director, art director, product manager, owner, or general manager to understand the needs of the client. Duane then presents a couple of designs as a starting point. “Sometimes I’ll hit it out of the park on the first shot,” he says. For most clients, however, there is a lot of back and forth communication, feeding off of each other’s ideas to get to the finished product. “It’s about getting in the zone, getting the creative juices flowing,” he says. “It’s evolving—it’s part of the process.”

Duane explains that it is a slow process. Even for a simple website, it takes about four to six weeks from start to finish. During that time, trial and error is Duane’s main method of communicating with a design. However, not all errors are necessarily setbacks. His mentor calls them “lucky mistakes” that can often lead to a new idea. In the end, he says, “The finished product never looks like the original.” 

As for being an entrepreneur, this facet of Duane’s career deviates from the typical artist. He explains, “Most artists don’t want to be the people to sell or generate business.” However, Duane says that his easygoing personality, resourcefulness, and sense of humor have taken his business far. He hopes to expand his client base and have more “lucky” successes, all while creating good design. “When it comes to design,” Duane says, “the satisfaction comes from doing something that someone appreciates. A lot of design is part of you.”

Molly Smith can be reached at

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