A.J. Yorio came up with the name for his design agency, Lightning Horse Industries, on a bit of a lark. While in art school, Yorio had to complete a project that involved every discipline, including performance art. “I came up with a fictional British ‘80s metal hair band called Lightning Horse. Then, when I went out on my own, I had to put something on my LCC, so I just went with it.”
That was in 2015. Today, “Lightning Horse” could describe the manner in which his agency has taken off.
Yorio’s company offers graphic design, video production, and screen-printing services, and has worked with the likes of 50 West Brewing Company and FC Cincinnati. While LHI is mostly a one-man band run out of the basement of Yorio’s Mt. Washington home, business has grown to the point of needing the occasional freelancer.
“I’m not a huge evil corporation yet,” Yorio says facetiously. “Day-to-day, it’s myself and my printing partner Brady, but once or twice a month there’s large gigs that need all hands on deck.”
That includes a commercial shot in Portland, Maine, for Barber Foods, and designing and printing concert posters for a music management group in Nashville (which all happen to be available for purchase on LHI's website). And yet, Yorio still had ideas, creating one of his shop’s more popular designs, “Cincinnati Till I Die," which appears on t-shirts and dartboards.
Things weren’t always easy for Yorio, though. After high school, he didn’t get into design school. Then, after graduating with a degree in fine art, he couldn’t land the kind of design job he wanted. “If you’re a socially aware person, you think, ‘Is the common denominator me?’” Yorio says with a laugh. “I knew I could create the same -- if not better -- level of work already out there, so I decided to start Lightning Horse. I thought, if nothing else, it becomes a resume-builder.”
Thankfully, it became much more than that. “In design, a lot of things become popular for a short amount of time,” Yorio says. “At the moment, my boat has a lot of things on it that need to say afloat, so I’m just trying to make sure it does.”
We happen to think it’ll be smooth sailing from here on out for Yorio.
Check out Yorio’s website to learn more about his custom design services.