Matt Owens

Designer and entrepreneur Matt Owens was born in Dallas and raised in College Station, Texas. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a BFA in graphic design from UT Austin. Matt then earned his MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art under design co-chairs Kathy and Michael McCoy. In New York City in the late 90s, Matt was art director for the digital agency Methodfive during its meteoric pre-acquisition rise. From 1997 to 2009, he self-published his experimental design quarterly,, which is in SFMoMA’s permanent collection. Matt established the small design studio One9ine, working with Warren Corbitt and Lee Misenheimer from 1999 to 2003 on projects for Sony, Nike, Madlib, and The Cooper Hewitt. Matt founded Athletics as a collective of like-minded creatives in 2004 with Jason Gnewikow. In 2011 Athletics became a formal creative agency with Matt serving as founding partner and one of its creative leads. Welcoming new partners Malcolm Buick and Jameson Proctor, the agency has created large-scale brand and design projects for Major League Soccer, IBM, Citrix, Google, Stripe, Square, and others.

As one of many side projects, Matt ran the small punk record label Buddy System Records with his twin brother Mark. From 1992 to 2003, they released over a dozen records with post-punk bands from Texas, Georgia, and Virginia. He also published Rat-A-Tat-Tat Birds: Photographs 1991 – 2003 by Jeff Winterberg. From 2003 to 2009, Matt and a few creative colleagues operated The Riviera, a small gallery in Brooklyn showing the work of Rick Froberg, Travis Millard, Michael Siben, Rich Jacobs, the Norwegian Black Metal photography of Peter Beste, and many others.


In 2013, Matt and the Athletics team, along with the Herb Lubalin Study Center at the Cooper Union, developed Image of the Studio, the largest exhibition and survey of graphic design studios in New York City. In 2023, Image of the Studio conducted a 10-year review for the AIGA Design Conference 2023 and built a new data designer tool. In his spare time, Matt can be found in his backyard shed-studio experimenting in Cinema 4D, painting, writing on Medium, doing illustrations under the name @kampeco on Instagram, and developing new ventures like the small brewery and public house Kingston Standard in Kingston, New York and the creative consultancy PreSeason. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife Amy and their child Hex.