How did you get into design? Was there a defining point in your life? And, if so, how did it shape you as a designer?
I actually got into graphic design through video games. I was really into them when I was younger, and I’d go to these forums and see all of these cool animated signatures people had and I really wanted one, so I decided to make it myself. So from there I just played around and created horrible flyers and any other artwork for friends and family. As much fun as I was having with it I still just looked at it as another way to have fun. I was always into art and computers, but I didn’t think twice about making it an actual career.
The actual defining point in my life for wanting to pursue design full-time was in my sophomore year in college...in a coding class! Before design I was a computer science major — and I just remember typing out all of this code and lowkey being bored out of my mind. I just knew I couldn’t do this for my entire life and be happy. So when I went home, I told my parents I wanted to pursue design and they were all for it. From there it’s been a constant snowball effect of getting more and more involved and entangled in design. Even though I didn’t continue my comp-sci major, I think it really put things in perspective for how I look at design. For me, it’s a constant reminder that I’m blessed to be able to do what I love everyday. I think a lot of people take that for granted and it’s really a privilege and advantage I really try not to forget.
Not only are you a designer but you also do a lot of lettering, too. How do the disciplines compare? If you could choose between them, which would you do for the rest of your career?
I know this question isn’t supposed to be tough but for some reason it is, so don’t take my answer as the “end all, be all.” They’re both very rewarding and require a lot of attention to detail. Of course there are some rules that can be broken with those on any discipline, but you still need to know those rules to break them. I’ve always seen design as being about problem solving, then form/aesthetics though. You can take the same approach for lettering, but I look at it as a part of that design process, not something comparable to it. More so like a genre than sub-genre. If a design solution calls for lettering then I’ll letter but if not, I’ll go with what I think is a stronger solution. Lettering has strengthened my design outlook because it allows for a lot more options to have to solve those problems in a unique and custom way. I’m fully aware that this may just be because I was a graphic designer before I was a letterer, haha. I do know some artists who are only letterers though, and they use the same approach as a designer would but only letter and have tremendous success in that niche market. I'm glad we're in a time where someone can do both, but I think if I hadddddd to, I’d choose design. As much as I love lettering and the endless amounts of styles and combinations you can use, I just think there’s so much more overall you can do in design.
Finally, what tips would you give to creatives looking to get started in advertising and design?
If you’re going to do it, really do it. Fully commit to it and push yourself to be better each day. Take chances, be teachable, go after things you don’t think you can do and prove yourself wrong! There are so many other creatives in these fields that do it completely out of love and passion and you can see it in their work; it pushes them to get better. Like any other profession, you have to be serious about it to be taken seriously, or else you’ll just be average and meh. Who wants that for their entire life?