Animating his own adventure

Go to a movie or turn on your television and chances are you just might see the work of motion designer and Iowa State graduate John Likens, ’08 graphic design. We’re talking Iron Man 3. Marvel’s The Avengers. Scion. Skittles. VH1. NFL. MTV. This talented designer has worked on brands most creative people dream about -- and Likens has only been out of college for five years. His work has even been nominated for a Daytime Emmy®, which makes all those all-nighters he pulled in Iowa State’s design building totally worth it.

Ever since he was young, Likens has been drawn to animation. “When I was a kid, my dream was to be an animator at Walt Disney Animation Studios. Well, either that or a professional football player for the Dallas Cowboys. Whichever worked out first would be fine.” Once it became clear his pro football dream wasn’t going to pan out, he decided to focus his attention on his other passion -- design.

Cue Iowa State. “The opportunity to live and study abroad in Rome during my senior year was a major selling point for me to enroll at Iowa State,” he said. “Then when I got there, I realized what design actually was and became interested in pursuing a career in the design field.” It was at Iowa State that professors helped Likens realize his full potential. And now instead of playing for the NFL, he’s designing their motion graphics.

Likens came to Iowa State to follow his passion, which has led him on an amazing adventure in animation. And here’s the advice he gives students, “Find what it is that you're truly passionate about and ask yourself if you’re willing to work extremely hard to get to where you want to be.”

Then, as soon as you answer “yes” to that question, come join us at Iowa State. We have an adventure with your name drawn all over it.

Learn more about Likens’ work.