Matt Daigle: Father, Artist Wins Logo Contest

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Ask Matt Daigle what he does, and he immediately answers, “I’m a stay-at-home dad to my one-year-old son Hayden.” He’s also a freelance cartoonist, illustrator and graphic designer, but it’s his role as a father that he’s most proud of.

So it isn’t a surprise that Daigle’s design won a breastfeeding symbol contest for Mothering, a natural family living magazine. The magazine’s website reports, “The purpose of an international symbol for breastfeeding is to increase public awareness of breastfeeding, to provide an alternative to the use of a baby bottle image to designate baby friendly areas in public, and to mark breastfeeding friendly facilities.” Daigle’s entry beat out 500 other entries, and is now the international symbol for breastfeeding. The public domain symbol will be used on signage in various places, such as the airport, to let parents know that they may breastfeed at these locations.

“I submitted an entry in July after a friend told me of the contest. The contest ended in August, then the top 12 finalists were chosen in October,” Daigle, who is deaf, says. Preliminary voting took place during the subsequent weeks, and in early November, Daigle learned he was among the top three. Website voters and breastfeeding organizations from around the world voted on the three logos. “On Nov. 13, I was notified that I had won the contest. It was a tremendous honor,” he says.

“There’s a new culture. Here in America, there often are no provisions for mothers with babies, and we need to provide that accessibility. We’re becoming more modern, more understanding of health issues, families, values and so on. I think it’s a really important icon that Mothering brought up. They’ll be promoting it to airports, and there’s already been a lot of interest from different places. It’s an exciting step for both me professionally, and for families everywhere,” Daigle says. “It’s also cool because if the symbol is indeed adopted worldwide, then you can go places and see a sign with the symbol I designed, and know that a deaf guy did that. It’s such a kick for me.”

Having grown up with a stay-at-home mother, Daigle knew firsthand the impact of a stay-at-home parent upon a child. “About three months after Hayden had been in day care, we realized we wanted to have him spend his first years at home. I wanted to give Hayden personal attention and have that bond with him.” He adds, “Even though I worked at a nonprofit agency, the agency was large enough that it had a corporate feel. That was fine, but I made the bold decision of quitting my job in January to stay home with Hayden, which wasn’t what the company wanted to hear. But it all worked out wonderfully for us.”

Daigle planned to focus solely on taking care of his new child, but people began contacting him to do small projects. Even though he still works part-time as a designer now, he says it’s challenging at times. “You have to be flexible. Like last night, I was going to do a project, but had to postpone it because of Hayden,” Daigle explains. “It’s really nice, because most of the people I work with are very flexible, which is very different from a corporate environment. There are pros and cons to that. I like deadlines, because they help me finish projects rather than putting them off, but at the same time, it’s a challenge with a child around.”

Although Daigle works mostly with graphic design, his passion lies in cartoons and illustration. “I grew up in a world of comics. Being an Army brat, I moved a lot as a child, so my parents often bought me comics, and my inspiration comes from that.” In fact, Daigle was so good at drawing that he was chosen as one of the top three cartoonists for high school newspapers in Texas. He continues, “But that kind of faded away when I was in college. I had no role models back then, so I didn’t really think illustration was a big deal until I developed my skills further. Then I thought, ‘Wait a minute, I was meant to be a cartoonist.’ So I’ve continued perfecting my skills in that.” He draws mostly cartoons related to Deaf culture but also draws about a variety of topics.

“It’s my goal to become a professional cartoonist, and I also really want to create a book filled with my cartoons, but it’s tough. I have to find sponsors, I have to find the market, and I have to prioritize,” he adds. “I network with many cartoonists who are hearing, and they have been fantastic resources. There’s also only one newspaper, SIGNews, that publishes deaf-related cartoons such as mine, so the market is very limited. I’m trying to branch out to mainstream publications.”

Daigle has straightforward advice for others wanting to become illustrators or designers. “Network. You have to network. You can’t be isolated, because it’s about who you know. That’s how I got where I am – through word of mouth, and my portfolio. And you have to grab opportunities. If I didn’t network, I wouldn’t have entered the breastfeeding logo contest. The contest is a great way for me to prove that I’m different from other graphic designers in that I have my own niche and experience. So networking is key.” He also adds that staying updated with technology is key for graphic designers, something he admits is difficult sometimes as a stay-at-home parent. “But I do what I can,” he smiles.

“What I like in my career is the creative flow. There are so many different ideas that never stop coming. There are a variety of projects, like the contest, and I do different work every day. That’s what I like, the mental stimulation. I also get to learn fun things while I’m working.”

Daigle’s websites are at and .

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