An Open Letter: Become The Designer That You Want To Be

Every week I get emails from other designers and students asking me for some design and career advice. I really enjoy doing it, but often times the conversations have a tone of hopelessness. It’s clear. Many designers feel like they may never become the designer they want to be. Worse yet, some feel like they will never be able to attract the right companies or clients. As a result, the fear of not utilizing their talents to their fullest potential becomes real to them.

This type of thinking has weighed on me for years, because the truth is they could not be more wrong. How do I know? Because I’ve lived it. I've been on both sides of the table. I know what employers expect from designers and what it really takes to become a successful designer in the industry. Being a designer takes a ton of hard work. It’s not easy. But hard work doesn’t mean impossible. I too struggled on my journey from a student to the professional I am today, but that’s what learning and growing is all about. It's important to learn from both the ups and the downs. That's exactly what this blog is all about. You will follow my journey on how I became the professional I am today and what I have learned in the process.

Are you ready to reach your goals as a designer?

This is the blog that I wish I read before I graduated college. This blog will cover lessons and even some regrets that I've learned from my own experiences since I graduated nearly a decade ago. I’ll be sharing with you how to promote yourself to employers, win clients, sell your work, make a living, protect what matters most to you and so much more. My number one goal is to provide you with a guide, so that you can work towards having the design career you have always wanted.

I’m not saying that this is the only place that you can learn these lessons. There’s a ton of great resources that are available to you both online and in person. From designers and entrepreneurs who are probably much smarter and more successful then I am. However, the difference is that I’m going to be providing you with an honest, unfiltered first hand perspective of what it really takes to succeed in the industry. I don’t have a curriculum or formula for this, I’m just going to share my journey and experiences from my time as a student as well as the professional I am today. I may not have an answer to everyone's situation, but I’m confident I can provide you all with enough value that you too wish you had started reading this much sooner.

Some background and where we need to begin.

To ensure that you have a clear understanding of who I am, and where these lessons come from, I want to share my background with you. I promise, I’m not here to gloat, I’m here to share. After this post, I’ll only bring my past up if I need to reference something to help drive a point home.

So with that said, here's my story:

My professional career started in 2006 as an intern for an advertising agency in Columbus, Ohio. After graduating from the Columbus College of Art & Design in 2007, I was hired as a Graphic Designer for the award winning global retail design firm, FITCH. After my stent there, I co-founded a six figure web design studio called Greenline Creative, with my wife Julie. Since creating Greenline Creative, I’ve spoken at colleges, been hired as a User Experience Designer for a start-up in San Francisco, launched a global online songwriting community called Frettie, won “Logo of the Day” and have been recognized by Web Designer Magazine as “A rising star in Web Design”.

During my short career, I’ve been privileged to help brands such as Target, Walmart, Dick’s Sporting Goods, NFL and Select Comfort reach their goals. For the last six years, I’ve taken what I’ve learned from working with those Brands and have shared it with hundreds of small to mid-sized businesses from all over the world.

Today however, things are pretty simple. I like to spend my time giving back by helping fellow designers and entrepreneurs reach their goals by pointing them in the right direction from the start.

So what will you learn?

Today was just a simple introduction, but starting next week, I'm going to share with you lessons that I've learned in my career that will help you with the following:

  • Get hired at a company that you actually want to work for.
  • Make real money as a designer.
  • Build a brand that people actually connect with.
  • How to enjoy how wonderful the design industry is.
  • How to get the most out of yourself.

That is just the tip of the iceburg. Everything that I will be sharing with you will help you become the designer that you want to be. I’m always learning, so each post will be full of relevant and valuable insight. I plan to keep these lessons short and to the point. However, please forgive me in advance if some posts run a tad long from time to time. I can be wordy, but this is going to be a fun journey together! I promise.

So what’s next?

This has been along time coming, and I'm excited to share these lessons with you all for Free! Every Thursday, I will release a new post right here on my blog. If you want to get the post emailed to you as soon as it's published, you can sign-up to join the mailing list below.

I want to be sure that I’m truly helping you. If you have a topic that you want to learn more about, please let me know by asking me on Twitter.

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I have stories, lessons, and opinions of my own too. Read my blog.

Follow my journey and read my perspectives on design, branding, employee, and customer experience.
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