Below, you'll find a collection of tributes people wrote about Brian Suter after learning of his tragic death last weekend. So many friends. So many memories. We hope he can read them now.
Brian was an enigma.
I've spent the past several days and last several hours trying to write a fitting piece for this complex gem of a human. I've laid awake at night for the past 5 days, stories racing through my head. The stories are inappropriate. And I am numb.
Brian moved to Colorado after his junior year of college to intern with Moxie Sozo. After graduating, he moved here permanently. We were his first real job. He worked hard. He stumbled and got up. Stumbled again. He got up again. If you knew him, you know what I mean. Brian, through some unknown hurt in his heart or kink in his DNA, was an immensely complicated being. Flawed, deeply human, and quite possibly the most effervescent beautiful kind generous soul-touching person I have ever met.
I am out of words. Behind my eyeballs are huge pools of tears just waiting to come out. Brian loved the world and the world loved Brian.
"The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones that are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones that never yawn or say a common place thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue center light pop and everyone says awwww!" – Jack Kerouac.
Thank you Brian for making this world a brighter, more colorful place. You mattered and you made a difference. We loved you. You will be missed.
– Leif Steiner
Brian was an individual in the truest sense of the word. He had an amazing sense of self from a very young age and never had an ego. He had a way of lifting you up from a bad day and giving you the biggest bear hug even with his small frame. His laughter was pure and his happiness infectious. I hope he is dancing in heaven, or playing air guitar. May he forever rest in peace with as much joy as he brought to everyone he came in contact with.
– Elizabeth Claps
I knew Brian before I ever met him. Having heard story after story about his ridiculousness, crazy antics, hilarious quirks and unimaginable adventures, by the time I actually had the pleasure of hanging out with him I was amazed by how genuinely wonderful he was. It's rare when you meet someone with so much confidence, talent, and kindness. I wish there would have been more opportunities to know him better. I feel incredibly lucky to have known him as well as I did. I think we all did.
– Becky O.
There are very few people in this world who can change your mood with a bad pun. And today, there is one fewer.
Brian was the kind of guy who would always make himself the butt of the joke just to help dissolve the tension in a room. He was the type of art director who would never put a project away until it was up to his excruciating standards. And he was the sort of creative partner who would continue calling with new ideas until the wee hours of the morning.
Brian always said that he worked in advertising because it’s a magical profession where you can be a grownup without giving up poop jokes. And, as our late-night security and cleaning staff will attest to, it’s a profession Brian wholeheartedly loved. I am truly lucky to have gotten to work with such an incredible art director and gotten to know such an incredible guy.
But I should go now, the sky is calling.
They must have run out of sunshine.
((That’s right b, you’re finally getting /copywriter cred. XOXO, k))
– Karen Morris
The first time I saw Brian at the VAB design studio at Penn State, I was a senior who just pulled one of many all nighters and was heading out the door to catch a nap and a shower before class. I probably hadn't seen him since I graduated high school, I didn't even know he was at PSU, let alone applying for the design program. The first word out of my mouth to him was "Spanky???" — the "beloved" nickname his brother and the rest of our friends called him in high school. The look on both of our faces must have been priceless, especially considering how haggard I must have looked and how bright eyed and bushy tailed he was knocking on the door. He was always eager to ask for advice, always fine tuning, striving for perfection. His ambition and drive to get into the program was apparent to me from the start and I couldn't have been happier for him when he was accepted. His kind of personality, the kind that was laid back and could always make you laugh was exactly what that program needed. We kept in touch after I graduated and he was going through the paces of Applied Communications, Packaging, Practicom and the like. He would often send me stuff he was working on I was always impressed with the quality and care that he took in his work. His projects had this sophisticated edginess that was truly his. It was never a surprise to me that he had such great success in his career at such a young age.
Brian, you will truly be missed. I'm so glad to have known you for all these years and to have seen the awesome designer you had become. You never let the pressures of this field change you. The world has lost a wonderful soul, designer, and all around great guy. I know it will take me a long time to really accept you are gone.
With a heavy heart I say, there is no apple + z in life. Miss you kiddo.
– Kelly (Eng) Montanio
Brian is a dear friend. I first met him in Design school at Penn State and we leap-frogged design career paths out here to Colorado 5 years ago. We became design jokester counterparts at Moxie Sozo where we not only expanded our passion for design but discovered our love for Stein cheers-ing, and hilariously horrible German accent banter.
From our passion for design and love of the outdoors we became good friends. We rocked out to Hot Chip and Ratatat on I-70, cruised down the slopes (sideways, of course!) and high-stepped local Boulder trails.
For those who know him well, his years of Halloween dressed as "Quail-man" and "David The Nome" were easily my favorites! He is our Co-Master chef at "Friends-giving" and cooks the best damn turkey I've ever had! He was our listening ear, music connoisseur, PSU cheering, Cat-loving, One-of-a-kind Brain, err... I mean Brian.
We will forever miss his laugh, his warm greetings, silly moods and ability to make us smile. He was loved by many and will truly be missed.
– Laura Kottlowski
Brian was the heartbeat of the creative department. He played music for everyone to hear and told jokes so awful they were hilarious. He was great to work with as you knew the creative would be stellar. But he was also great to work with because he brought incredible energy to everything. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that advertising is supposed to be fun. But when Brian was around, you never forgot.
When he had a day off, the agency didn’t feel right. Too quiet. Too calm. Something was missing. But then the next day, he would be back and the agency came to life again. I can’t believe he’s not coming back. I miss him. We miss him.
Hey Brian, the good guy store called. They’re running out of you.
– Dave Fymbo, Karsh Hagan
I moved to Boulder to start a new chapter in my life a few years ago. To build upon my design skills, as well as to grow as a person. I came to Colorado knowing no one. I figured it was going to take some time to settle in, but little did I know, I was going to meet some of my closest friends. People that would inspire me more than I ever realized. Amongst them was Brian Suter. I met him along with a few other amazing people the first night I moved to Boulder. On Halloween night on Pearl Street. He helped me feel welcome and also was a part of one of the most fun nights I have ever had. That night made my transition to Colorado so much more fun and made my new chapter in my life something to look forward to. And to Brian, I thank you.
Not only did he welcome me with no judgement and full of friendly laughter, but he also, along with his girlfriend at the time, helped to continue make my transition smooth. For the next 2 years they opened their doors to their orphaned friends that had no where to go on Thanksgiving (me included). I was always used to being around my parents for the holidays (whom I dearly missed). But thanks to him, his girlfriend, and all my other designer friends, I felt like I truly had a family in Colorado. He helped me feel warm and welcomed. And I will always be forever grateful.
In addition to all of this, I have so many memories that I keep close to me in which I include Brian: Ski trips, Penn State games at Pat's, and a little bar hopping here and there. I was also blessed to be able to work by his side at Karsh for a very brief time. He was so talented. And although it was quick, it was so much fun to have the opportunity to work with him. He will always hold a special place in my heart. I hope your pain has subsided and your soul is at peace. Love you Brian and thank you for all that you have done for me.
"Although it's difficult today to see beyond the sorrow, May looking back in memory help comfort me tomorrow."
Rest in Peace, Brian.
– Love, Chelsea Koornick
I met Brian when I was in high school. From the moment I saw him, I knew there was something very special about him. He shared his love for music and art with me often, and every time I listen to Phish or Jack Johnson, I'll be thinking of him. We lost touch a few years back, and I wish I could have reached out sooner. I'm absolutely floored by this news, and hope his spirit will be ever-present in this world.
– Sara Monacelli
Two weeks ago, Brian and I were at the Bicycle Cafe, kicking back with a couple of beers, catching up. I remembered I was feeling inspired that day while working on my stuff, and seeing him only boosted my spirits even more. We promised each other that we would start a new tradition since he lived right around the corner and I was there all the time, plugging away on the weekends. Only two days before his death, I caught a glimpse of him in one of our office's conference rooms while I was passing by. If I had known that was to be my last time seeing him, I would have barged into that meeting and given him a giant hug.
At the office, everywhere I turn, I'm reminded of him. Maybe it's because American Crew IS, at its heart, all of Brian's rad work. We had been friends for a couple years through Moxie Sozo before I had the privilege of taking his designs and creating new projects inspired by his own visions. Designers never like handing their work over to the client who then has their in-house team run with it. I know. I've been there. I can only hope that he felt better about it, knowing that I would be the one touching his stuff. Brian, I've never told you this, but I hope you were proud of the stuff we came out with for Crew.
There are so many things I wished I had told him. Like how running into each other at the CBB offices always made my day that much brighter. Like how much I admired him, not just on a professional level, but on a personal level too. He was always, always full of energy and passion, drawing people in around him. So many reasons to love him. So many reasons to miss him.
Brian, next time I'm at the Bicycle Cafe, I'm drinking a beer for ya. You'll always keep me company when I'm there, and you'll always inspire me when I'm at the office.
Cheers my friend.
– Anh Phan
I met Brian the first 2 days of freshman year at Penn State and we instantly became friends. We ended up rooming together for 3 years at college; there were a lot of high times, a lot of low times and everything in between during those years, but through it all he was always a good friend.
He was one of the funniest, most caring people I ever had the pleasure of knowing; he had one of the most infectious laughs of anyone I've ever known. It didn't matter how bad of a day you were having; you would walk in the door and just hearing the kid laugh would put you in a better mood.
He was such a ball of energy! Brian lived his life between the balls of his feet and the back of his heels; always rockin'...
I hope you found peace, my friend. You will be missed; I love you, man.
My friends and I had just moved to Colorado for the summer back in ’06 and we were so broke that we couldn’t afford to put food in our fridge. [Enter Brian Suter into my life] Within an hour or two of his arrival our fridge was packed to the rim. Maybe it wasn’t filled with the healthiest of foods, more like a liquid diet of sorts, but Brian made sure our summer was off to a great start!
More than just laughs Brian had heart and perseverance. Back in the fall of ’07, he decided to host a Thanksgiving feast for all of us misfits who couldn’t be with our families for the holiday. He was so proud to prepare his very first turkey, in which he had let marinate overnight in a lovely beer dressing. And yes, it was delicious.
The thing about Brian was that he had such an effervescent personality people just flocked to be around him. The guy could make any story interesting and was never short on a joke. His laughter could fill a room and still echoes in my ears today. A personality like that of Brian Suter never dies. A person like Brian Suter is never forgotten. He lives on in my memories and in the thousands of memories held by other people he touched throughout his lifetime.
Love you, Brian. I anticipate suitable typography and a fridge full of beverages in Heaven by the time I get there.
– Jenn Caplan
Brian came in to interview for the art director job around 5:00 pm 3 years ago.
We were putting out some sort of fire drill and were too busy to stop and interview Brian properly. We apologized and asked him if he wanted to come back and he said, "No, that's cool. I'll just hang out." He ended up hanging out for about 4 hours and helping a ton. Of course we hired him.
It's hard to put into words just how much fun Brian was.
He always wanted to have fun. He had some of the worst jokes ever. And had no problem telling poop and pee jokes in front of the fanciest clients.
When we would be working our asses off and verging on getting too stressed out, Brian and I had a running group of questions we would ask each other:
Who would you eat? What animal would you fight? And, do you think these are the best years of our life?
The third question was meant to poke fun at our current overworked situation. But often we would just smile and think, yeah. This is actually fun as hell and these are probably the best years of our life.
I'll never forget the 3 years I got to sit 3 feet away from Brian and bug the shit out of him relentlessly.
"Psst. Psst. Hey Brian? Hey. Brian?
Hey. Brian? Brian? Brian. Brian. Brian?
Brian? Brian? Are you there?"
"What Sean ?! What !"
Laugh. Smile. Flip me off. Tell me to fuck off. Close the gap. Put your ear phones back on. Go back to work.
"Are you there?"
– Sean Topping
Today, was a normal day. A birthday of a beloved account person, and work was going well for once. Well, as good as can be as the usual 5pm deadlines and such. In the midst of all this, someone nonchalantly says out loud, "Anyone read the Egotist today? The guy from the award show last week died. Brian...Suter?"
This hit me. It hit me hard. And suddenly. I was coasting along with work when these words reached my ears and I literally stopped, mouse still in my right hand, left hand frozen in mid-air. I turned to my coworker sitting next to me, and confided that I knew him personally.
I knew Brian, albeit not well. We were not drinking buddies yet, as those plans were still in the planning stages — which really meant we were so busy that we just never thought anything of it. There was always time for meeting up for beers. We met a few times, I worked with him one day, and otherwise, we were simply Facebook friends.
But death, is never easy to swallow. Death hit me deeply, and devastatingly years ago. Counting the years now, it has been almost 9 years since my father passed away while I was still in high school as a junior. He never saw me graduate with a diploma. Seeing an ambulance on my usual route back home today after work, I saw an ambulance with its lights on but no sirens. This is the same way my father was transported to the hospital, no rush, no sirens, just lights. And at one point, the lights turned off. Since then, I have equated this to meaning that the patient in this vehicle has no hope for recovering.
It's been years, but the pain is still there. And though I thought such a personal and close death has made me cold to death, hearing of someone I knew brought it all rushing back.
It does not matter that I did not know Brian well, to write this. He was not part of my daily life. But it has affected me. It affects everyone that knew him. It will nearly kill those who were dear to him. We all take death differently, almost absent when it's someone we have no relation or connection to. But death has hit us all personally, as we lost not a great creative, but a great person to this community and this city. Brian was a great person which is apparent from only a few meetings. Such energy, with such a vibrant personality. And talk about killer style. And dare I use this word, spunk. He was close to my age, with so much talent — so much positive future in his hands.
Pain of a loved one changes what death is, and any relevant death brings it all back. For those who are close, his direct family and his otherwise 'family' it's a raw kind of pain. Take all the movies that made you cry, imagine all of them combined into one movie that makes you cry. Now imagine this pain, at least a hundred fold. The raw kind of pain, that hits you mentally and emotionally, but physically, that shakes your very mind and soul. This is only a glimpse into the pain that death brings to close ones. And this is the kind of pain that you never get over.
We must all take a moment to reflect, and appreciate what we have around us. Brian Suter will be missed.He has a quote on his page, "Those who think they are crazy enough to change the world, are the ones who do." And he certainly has. Revel in what he has created. Celebrate his memory.
– Brian Son