Though the name sounds strange, the story behind the moniker The Bubble Process should be familiar to anyone who’s gone away to college: Kent State alumni Sean Higgins and Nicholas “Rez” Rezabek both lived on Kent’s campus at Koonce Hall. Because all the essentials for survival were located there, they really didn’t have to leave for anything. They were basically living in a bubble. Now, the concept has returned in the name of a collaborative design studio run by both artists. The twist? It’s done across a distance of nearly 500 miles. After graduating from Kent, the two had gone their separate ways, with Higgins in Cleveland and Rezabek in New York. Then, in 2006, they decided to go into the design business together despite the geographical difference. “It has been a great time figuring out schedules, what works best for the both of us and so on. It can be a challenge, but the rewards are worth every penny,” said Rezabek. “Even though our work starts and ends on paper, we have definitely taken full advantage of technology so we can work together easily,” said Higgins. Though some might view the distance as a hindrance, the two actually credit the arrangement for being the source of their success. “We have a blast working this way,” said Rezabek. “We are far enough apart to not get on each other’s nerves, but close enough to stay in the loop.” The flourishing partnership has led to The Bubble Process becoming well established in Northeast Ohio. The team has received a number of awards for their work, including an AIGA design award in 2009 and 2011 and four different awards at the Cleveland ADDY competition this past year. Still, illustration and design wasn’t their first career choice, especially for Higgins. “I was really into music in high school and realized how much I liked the art that surrounded music, so I figured design was an okay place to start,” he said. “I actually kind of hated illustration at first. For some reason I had in my head that everything had to be perfectly drawn/drafted, and that really didn’t mesh with my personality. I was pretty lucky to have some great professors who got me to look past that and embrace my comforts as an artist and use those to develop my style.” For those reasons, the studio’s work focuses on concert posters and band T-shirts, in addition to a line of Cleveland-centered prints and apparel. The studio specializes in gritty, almost hand-drawn effects and abstracted shapes to convey the feel of a city and the sound of music. Higgins had a particularly golden opportunity to embrace his love of music and design when the studio worked with the Akron Art Museum on the Who Shot Rock exhibition last year. “Working with musicians is always an honor, but the opportunity to work with celebrated photography and music on such an important level was amazing,” said Higgins. “We approached the project in the same way we create our concert posters, creating something that speaks to both the event and a live music experience.” The studio partners seek out events that cater to their blend of interests. They made an appearance last month at Cleveland’s Bazaar Bizarre with part of their Cleveland-themed line, and the studio is also an annual vendor at Flatstock, a combination poster convention and music festival hosted by the American Poster Institute. They also participate in Made in the 216, a convention that hosts musicians and artists who have based their work in the Cleveland area. “It’s great to participate in events in Cleveland that support local art and crafts and really be able to meet and talk to people about our work,” said Higgins. Interested in The Bubble Process? Their portfolio of designs, along with posters and apparel available for purchase, can be viewed online at www.TheBubbleProcess.com.