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Issue Date: April 2012

Sign Here, Please

Graphic designer Adam Taseff celebrates our streets with his District Collection posters.
Kelsey Misbrener

Adam Taseff found a way for Clevelanders to flaunt city pride without painting the family van orange and brown.

He picked streets in five neighborhoods and one suburb — downtown, Little Italy, Ohio City, Tremont, Coventry and Lakewood — and designed bold but simple subway-style posters that serve as the ultimate living room accessory for locals.

"The streets that make the posters are based on their past, present and future within the district," Taseff says. For example, his downtown poster includes Old River Road as a nod to the bustling railroads of the 1800s and East Ninth Street because The Avengers filmed there last summer. "It's major streets people know, and also those little streets that have that bar on it that everybody recognizes."

A business organization and development graduate from the University of Toledo, Taseff came up with the concept that grew into the District Collection as a way to remember Toledo after he moved to Lakewood. He began experimenting with Photoshop and eventually started his own design company, Arterx. Although his one-man firm still provides consultation and Web services for small businesses, Taseff also is giving more attention to his District Collection line of prints.

"Everybody knows a street corner," he says. "You grew up on some street, or you went to school here, or you got engaged here."

Taseff is expanding his idea to other cities, too, but you won't find him making posters touting New York City or Chicago. His goal is to celebrate the underdog, so he's created posters for such places as Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Louisville.

"All of these cities are kind of loved, kind of like a Cleveland, but kind of forgotten," Taseff explains.

After choosing each city, he carefully selects one locally owned store at which to sell his posters. In Cleveland, the District Collection is only available at Room Service ($22.99 unframed, $50 framed) on West 25th Street. His method of one-store selling seems to be working out just fine. Taseff's posters are already in demand in Cleveland, and he says he's shipping out posters to others cities as fast as he can make them.

"We're just going to keep going," he says, "across the country, hopefully."

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