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Penn State Class is Inspiration for Company Name

Art 270 is a full service graphic design company founded by Carl Mill, “soccer-playing, Army ROTC, artist,” and his wife Dianne Zotter-Mill, both Penn State graduates! Currently he serves in the role of carl300Company President and art director. His position includes graphic design, client relations, estimating and running the business side of art270. Combining the best graphic design, copywriting, photography and illustration talent, art270 has worked on diverse communication projects including annual reports, coffee-table quality history books, brochures, complete identity and branding systems, magazines, websites, wayfinding systems and corporate communications. They’ve specialized in timely news publications in as many as 27 languages, both in print and electronic documents. Clients have included the University of Pennsylvania, W. R. Grace & Co., Drexel University, ITT, Curtis Institute of Music, GlaxoSmithKline, Sunbeam, AmeriSourceBergen, Florida Power and Light, South Jersey Gas, Mitchell & Ness, Reading Terminal Market and many, many others including more than a dozen non-profits.

Art 270 is an interesting name for a company so I’m sure you are wondering where that name came from. Carl says, “The long answer is that the company was once called “Artworks” and when we went to incorporate back in 1985 we found that the name was already registered by a little company in Pittsburg. We wanted

another name beginning in A so we would be listed first in the phone book (Yes the phone book. There were no cell phones or Internet back then) so we started to write down everything we could think of from AAAAA Design to Aardvark to Art-R-Us. We had a neat flying A logo that we wanted to keep using. Friends from Penn State pointed out to me that the address of our (then) current studio was 270, as was the address of the house where I lived during college, and the house that I was born in was 272 (270-too). When my wife and I went to Reno Nevada and won 270 dollars in a slot machine that summer it sealed the name. Oh, did I mention I met my wife and business partner in art270 at Penn State.”

dianne300Penn State was a big part of Carl’s and Art 270’s life. Carl was a member of the soccer team for two seasons under late coach Jim McGettigan and was also a member of Army ROTC. Reid Smith and Sue Strohm, long-time members of the art270 staff, are also Ogontz alumni. There have also been several other Penn Staters on the art270 staff: Steve Kuttruff ’89, Patti Czarnecki ’89 and Nicole Lombardo Ganz “99 as well as several interns from the graphic design program. Carl’s dad also went to Ogontz in 1951 and 1952.

As you can see, Penn State has given Carl, and many others, great opportunities after they graduated. He was fortunate enough to intern at a Philadelphia design studio during his junior year of college. This led to a graphic design job during Spring break and a summer job his senior year and after completing his Master’s degree at Penn State. His training in the PSU design program under the direction of Lanny Sommese and Bill Kinser made it possible for him to have a job right out of college and his graduate degree in graphic design opened doors to a college teaching position which he went on to do for 10 years. He says, “At Penn State I learned how to think out of the box, try new things and question everything. He advises those in college to take business classes while at PSU. He explains, “Business skills and writing skills are paramount to success in the graphic design field. The field is ever-changing so get ready for an interesting ride.” My education gave me the confidence to start my own business so I could call the shots. Thirty years later art270 is still going strong.”

Carl will always remember his time at Penn State Abington/ Ogontz. He tells stories of his first trip to state college in the State Championship in 1977, playing on the frozen and snowy turf field or a trip to Fort Eustis Virginia in the Army ROTC. He says, “On one trip we were stuck in a snow storm and had to spend several extra days away from campus before we could fly home again. I actually learned to ski in Army ROTC at (then) Doe Mountain. I remember embarrassing our Green Beret captain by falling off the lift and knocking him into the snow with me. Just imagine 20 lousy skiers in military fatigues trying to follow our captain down the hill at Doe. We didn’t make the Army proud that day.”

Any Penn Stater knows that you take that Penn State Pride and all you learned in your time there with you wherever you go. Penn State inspires you to do great things and this case even inspires the name of your company!

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