College for Creative Studies: Product Design


Jason Mayden

Nike, Inc.

Design Director-Brand Jordan, Nike

Jason Mayden's obsession with all things Nike began at the age of 12. What started as letters and phone calls to the company during his youth, led to an internship while in college and a lead designer position for Brand Jordan when he graduated.

“Everything in my portfolio-the fonts, layout, even the scale of it—all tied together,” Mayden explained. “Instead of focusing on a sketch, I approach designing a product the way I would approach creating a comic book. I create a life around it and put it into a context.”

As a senior designer, Mayden oversees the design of current and future innovation footwear platforms—cushioning, traction, upper design, footwear construction, detail execution, material finish and material selection—for the Chris Paul footwear line. He also assists the design director by mentoring Jordan Brand design interns and new design hires.

Mayden is hailed by Nike as one of the creative and technical masterminds behind many of the Brand Jordan sneakers. He helped design, develop and market footwear, product and brand initiatives for Jordan Brand signature athletes Derek Jeter and Chris Paul as well as work on the AIR JORDAN XVII Mule and the Nike Air Monarch footwear program.

"The Air Monarch sold several million pairs globally, yet whenever I see someone wearing a pair, I still get as excited as I did the first time," he said.

While talent and perseverance have played a major role in Mayden's success at Nike, the designer recognizes the many ways his CCS education has also benefited his career.

"CCS gave me a thick skin. A number of instructors helped me become a diligent, focused designer."

"They instilled in me a relentless pursuit to find the best solution. 'Good enough' was not acceptable. I had to be better than that."

Active in community outreach, Mayden has led self-sponsored design workshops and participated on the Jordan Fundamentals grant selection panel. He is Jordan Brand’s lead designer for Doernbecher Freestyle, a community project with Nike and Doernbecher Children’s Hospital that gives children with serious illnesses the opportunity to design a Nike sneaker. Students of the FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) consider Mayden both a “friend and mentor.”

“My career has been a blessing. Along the way, I’ve seen a lot of designers clouted by PR and accolades—things we do to improve our self esteem,” said Mayden. “But we have a corporate, ethical and global responsibility for our products. Our consumers are very loyal. The quality of work and production must be meaningful to them. Designing for other designers’ approval is selfish. Designs should inspire the world.”