Hartford Farmer Makes Giant Leap into Graphic Design
When Adam Prunty took up graphic design, it was no small step for a man whose family has farmed in Hartford for five generations. His giant leap of faith has been rewarded with a steady stream of clients and a chorus of accolades.
Adam describes himself as a “farmer, artist, and nerd” — in that order. He and his dad have farmed together his entire life, the descendants of southeastern South Dakota homesteaders. He began doing freelance illustration and design work on the side in high school and enrolled in a three-year Graphic Design & Marketing program at Southeastern Technical College in Sioux Falls. After completing the coursework, he took a job doing graphic design, video, and animation work for a company in town while simultaneously farming.
“After finishing school, I was able to start farming part-time with my father and grandpa,” he says. “A few years later, I had the privilege of helping take care of my grandparents’ land when he was ready to retire.”
“It’s a really good balance, I can use my creative talents on the design stuff and my other talents on the farm. Sometimes I combine both.”
– Adam Prunty
Balancing Farming & Graphic Design
Adam has mastered the art of balancing dual careers. He works on the farm by day raising corn, soybeans, and beef cattle, and focuses on his graphic design projects after the rest of his family has gone to bed.
“I’m a night owl, so I’m able to work in the evenings until late,” he says.
Graphic design takes up about 25% of Adam’s time. He typically has 2-3 projects going at any given time. That number tends to rise during the winter months, when there’s more down time on the farm. He dials back the design work during busy periods such as planting and harvest season.
“It’s a really good balance,” Adam says. “I can use my creative talents on the design stuff and my other talents on the farm. Sometimes I combine both.” That was evident in 2015, when Adam shot drone footage of his father, Dan, carving “Merry Christmas” in the snow with a tractor. The video went viral, garnering over three million views.
Adam’s family fully supports his side endeavor and pitches in as much as possible around the farm. Wife Amber is a radiation therapist at Avera Health in Sioux Falls, helping with the cattle when she can. His sister and brother-in-law also assist, and sons Paxton (9) and Kolter (4) are learning the ropes, too. They help with chores such as baling hay and keeping an eye on the 300-head herd of cattle. Adam is looking forward to his oldest boy doing more tractor work this summer.
“He’s tall enough to reach the pedals now!” he says with a laugh.
“A lot of small businesses don’t have the finances to hire an advertising agency, so I try to bridge that gap and give them the best design services I can.”
– Adam Prunty
Reaching for the Stars
When it came time to choose a name for his fledgling design company, Adam reached for the stars. Literally.
“I always had an interest in science,” he recounts. “Just as a hobby. I never went to school for anything scientific but loved studying and reading about science and space. Long-exposure astrophotography is a hobby, too.”
Thus, Giant Leap Design was born in 2010. Adam’s website perfectly captures the outer space theme with fun, colorful graphics that are out of this world. Client services include brand development, illustration, animation, and web design. When asked to choose a favorite, the graphic artist doesn’t hesitate.
“I’ve always gravitated toward illustration,” he says. “That’s my first passion, especially character designs and mascots. That’s half of what I do. The other half, I like to help small businesses develop their brand and identity. A lot of small businesses don’t have the finances to hire an advertising agency, so I try to bridge that gap and give them the best design services I can.”
Adam’s whimsical designs have won rave reviews from clients, and his unique story attracted the attention of Dakota Life, a long-running South Dakota Public Broadcasting series that focuses on the people, places, and things that make the state unique. He was featured in Season 23, Episode 3, which originally aired on November 4, 2020.
“I was very humbled,” Adam says. “I have enjoyed that show for a long time and am grateful to be a part of it.”
As far as the future goes, Adam doesn’t see it changing all that much — at least not in the near term. “Farming is my first love and illustration is right up there,” he says. He recognizes there’s a lot of opportunity out there, but if his sons are interested in carrying on the tradition, nothing would make him happier.
“It would be a dream true to work together and pass it on to the next generation,” he says.