Man With The Golden Touch

From creating album covers to producing commercial ads,a St. Louis designer's skills are in demand

Darrick Lee Warfield is honing his natural talents into a leading creative service company within the urban music industry. Goldfinger C.S., a three-employee, Atlanta-based firm with revenues of $300,000 in 2003 and a projected gross of $500,000 in 2004, provides a long list of innovative design services, including album covers, Websites, logos, and advertisements. Now in its fourth year, Goldfinger — named for Warfield’s infatuation with the classic James Bond film — has completed projects for, among others, McDonald’s, HBO, and Coca-Cola and conceptualized designs for entertainers such as Usher, TLC, and Toni Braxton.

Warfield’s talent was recognized early on. He won a national design competition for the American Can Co. while still in high school. The St. Louis native went on to attend Washington University’s School of Art. Two years after graduation, he landed a position as head designer for Tommy Boy Records’ clothing line. Working for the New York-based label allowed Warfield, who is known to his clients simply as D.L., to take on freelance projects with Bad Boy Records and Uptown Records.

After building a solid reputation in the industry and making several contacts, Warfield later accepted a job as creative director of LaFace Records, where he worked with the Grammy Award-winning group Outkast and was voted employee of the year by L.A. Reid. “That was like my Heisman,” says Warfield, 35.

When L.A. Reid joined Arista Records in 2000, Warfield was left with a tough decision. At the time, the married father of two young children was reluctant to uproot his family and move back to New York City to join the Arista staff. “When I was in college, I’d set a personal goal that by the time I was 30, I wanted to [work for myself],” he recalls of the transition from employee to employer. “That sale really helped my dreams come to fruition.”

Pulling $5,000 from his personal savings, Warfield purchased a computer and an array of software — mostly Adobe products, QuarkXpress, and Dreamweaver. “[Software] and courage were all I needed,” he insists when questioned about the outrageously low starting costs. “You can’t put a price on that. Courage is as important as your computer and your software.”

Warfield, who charges between $6,500 and $15,000 for a complete album package, prefers to work on the creative side, leaving the deal negotiations and bookkeeping to his wife, Lisa, an accountant by trade. Knowing that the books are balanced properly, Warfield says, leaves him more time to focus on expanding his business. This year, he’s already signed on to design a sports beverage novelty product called Baby Ballers, which is being manufactured in Hong Kong.

“At the end of the day, my goal as an artist and a businessman is to have my clients and their audience be impressed with the final project,” he says humbly. “I think of every product I put out as a marketing tool to get more clients.”

Goldfinger C.S.; 684 Antone St., Studio 109; Atlanta, GA 30318; 404-352-1952; www.goldfingercreative.com

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