Meet Adam Lehman — Brand Design Lead at MainStreet
Please introduce yourself, what do you do at MainStreet, and what were you doing before this?
Howdy! My name is Adam Lehman, and I lead Brand Design at MainStreet. I spend my days helping the business strategically scale our brand into any and all touchpoints — from marketing collateral and advertisements, environmental designs, internal and external communications, web and digital activations, and of course, swag. Before MainStreet I was a designer at a number of agencies in New York including 8.5, VSA Partners, and DesignBridge. Prior to coming to New York for agency work I was with IBM at their design HQ in Austin, TX where I got to work with the IBM Studios global team and help launch IBM’s internal design magazine, All Things X.
Where have you lived and which place has been your favorite so far?
I was born in Westland, Michigan → moved to Palm Coast, Florida at the age of 11 → moved to Austin, Texas after college → and have been in New York for a little over 5 years now. New York is hands down the best place I have ever lived but Austin has the best tacos, which is a pretty big trade off.
What led you to being a Designer?
I always knew I wanted to do something creative. When I was in the first grade I broke my leg right before summer break and I spent the summer obsessively drawing. I think I drew hundreds of sneakers that summer, inevitably leading to my affinity for a well designed shoe. In high school I took a graphic design class which was basically Photoshop 101, and I was hooked. But Design (with a capital D) wasn’t solidified in me until I was a Junior in college. I was driving home one evening from taking photos at an event when I was hit by a drunk driver on the highway. The car was absolutely totaled, but I walked away under my own two feet with nothing but a concussion, a black eye, and some bruises to show for it. I chalk that fortunate moment up to Nils Bohlin, a Swedish designer who invented the three-point seatbelt — without a doubt, that saved my life that night. Ever since that moment I’ve viewed design as a tool to do good in the world and to solve real problems. I have never designed anything as impactful as the seatbelt, but with each project I try to leave a little bit of good behind with it.
Why did you choose to join MainStreet?
Easy answer: the people and the mission. The people here are brilliant — never be the smartest in the room and you will learn more than you are capable of. And the mission — I romanticize helping small, scrappy businesses. The world is built on the ideas of those willing to put their dreams on the line, and I respect the hell out of that.
Do you have any pets and if so can we see pictures?
I unfortunately do not have any pets but if I did I would have two big ol’ huskies and I would take them hiking with me every morning.
Pen or Pencil?
Micron .3 — if you know you know.
Aside from Design, what else are you interested in?
I’m a photographer by weekend and night, I love to shoot street, landscapes, and spirits. I almost went the photography route instead of design so it’s something that’s been with me for years. My sister, father, great grandmother, and great great grandfather are also photographers or were heavily interested in photography so it’s in my blood. I love to travel, to hike, and to experience other cultures, foods, and people. You can learn so much by sitting alone in a bar in another country. Biking is becoming a new hobby of mine. I love mechanical things and cars, but having a car in New York doesn’t make a lot of sense and a bike is the most wonderful way to explore New York.
What’s one meal you can’t stop thinking about?
I recently ate at Quintonil in Mexico City and HOLY SHIT. I dream of that meal.
What is your favorite of the 5 senses? Why?
Smell — it’s linked to my strongest memories.
What’s one fact about you that tends to surprise others?
I was born deaf. Surgery was performed on me when I was born and I had tubes in my ears until I was 3.
A movie and/or tv series you’d recommend without hesitation to anyone?
The Watchmen series on HBO, Mr. Robot, and True Detective Season 1. Watchmen is a jaw dropping display of storytelling capabilities and a blending of reality and sci-fi. Mr. Robot is as charming as it is haunting, and Rami Malek is a joy to watch on screen. True Detective Season 1 is dark but a true masterpiece — there is a one-take shot in that series that is so complex and insane that I have watched it hundreds of times.
Favorite thing about working at MainStreet?
The team. I work with some of the best designers and problem solvers in the world right now and I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything.
At MainStreet, we aim to save startup founders and small business owners time, money, and peace of mind. Our Design team is a multi-disciplinary group of product designers, researchers, and brand designers.