From Elijah Wood to John Mayer: What’s Behind Artist’s Favorite Headphones

From Elijah Wood to John Mayer: What’s Behind Artist’s Favorite Headphones


My name is Jonathan Grado, I am VP of Marketing
at Grado Labs and I graduated Quinnipiac in 2013. Grado Labs is my family company that started in 1953. Since 1953 we’ve manufactured phonograph needle. In the late 80s, early 90s, we diversified
and got into the headphone business. Growing up, I never wanted to go into the family business and
it wasn’t anything against what my family did, it was just I didn’t grow up with
other people who did this kind of thing. The first time I went to Quinnipiac, the campus just
blew me away and that was what really grabbed my attention. And then I went to a program overview
of Graphic and Interactive Design and really saw what I could be able to do at the end
of my four years there and I realized that’s what I want to do. In Graphic and Interactive Design we’re
basically learning the processes and methods to create compelling, innovative visual experiences. Sophomore year, I had to go to a portfolio and resume review. And at the time I had done different design things here and there, and my big resume filler was working at an amusement park. Great customer service experience, but not really what
they were looking for on a resume as far as design goes. I called my dad and I was like,
“Can I just put social media director for Grado on the resume?” And my dad was like, “Well, do you actually do it?” And I was like, “No”, and he said, “Okay well do it,
or don’t put it on there.” So the next day I made our Twitter and our Facebook,
I just started falling in love with that, and it snowballed from there. As part of our capstone, we have a
formal exit review with external reviewers from all over New England that come in
and they review the students’ portfolios. I don’t know if I would’ve been able to go through with it
if I didn’t see all the professors that I had had throughout the four years sitting there. They wanted to be there to see what their students had accomplished. The students walk out having talked about their work,
shown their work and some jobs actually come out of the experience. Professor Hastings helped me see myself not just as a designer
but as a brand, as a one person company. Creativity and industry is a powerful combination that means
that you can create pretty much anything you put your mind to, and that was Jonathan. Something I focused on is giving Grado a voice. It’s really taking the business to the next generation
and putting a young face to the business, making it seem young and hip again. At Grado, not only does the sound matter, but the heritage of
the company and the experience, all the little things here over the past 64 years
add up to what we do today. It’s just like with design all those little aspects it
comes together to paint that big picture, and all those little things matter,
and that’s what I learned at Quinnipiac.

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