Title: Graphic Designer, Author
Number of Years in design: 5
Past Companies: 1. Beardwood&Co. 2. Landor
Education: BFA in Graphic Design
Western Michigan University (2017)
Cass Tech (2013)
Member since: February 2018
Who has been the most influential person in your career?
Honestly, the most influential person in my career is God. There are too many great people that I consider major influences, only some of them close mentors. But God is that creator who’s influenced everything about me. His body of work is the most marvelous portfolio ever. Like with anyone, you have to understand them to understand their work.
I believe I know Him well enough to know I aspire to be as creative, smart, and altruistic as He is everyday.
What is your favorite thing about design?
It’s definitely the fact that I can actually bring ideas to life, especially ideas and stories that belong to other people. Creation for others has always been more important to me than creation for myself. Design is my way of helping people, and contributing to the improvement of the world and the human experience. And to know that I was behind the making of those experiences and impacts is something I consider so honorable, profound, and just amazing—much like the creations themselves.
What is the most memorable moment of your career?
So far, the most memorable moment of my career is probably getting all these emails from people all over the country (some overseas) about how great my Detroit Rise Flag project is. I’m fortunate to have gotten the coverage I have for the flag, and I credit those publishers as the catalysts for this feedback. This momentum that’s happening right now is definitely one for the books. I can’t thank you all enough.
What advice would you give to someone just getting started in the design world?
Find out the design philosophy you believe in most. Find out who you are as a designer. Know how to talk about your work. Be passionate about talking about your work. It’s YOUR WORK. Treat your client’s work as your own. Do for them what you would for yourself. We’re all still learning how to be better designers, so don’t stop learning and designing. Ever. Be a critical thinker. Be empathetic. Be brave. But above all, the most important thing to do is to be yourself.
What is your favorite thing about AIGA Detroit?
The network. The events. I’m just now getting acclimated with our design community and I am so happy that I can finally find people and their work and studios simply because AIGA Detroit provides that platform.
What inspires you as a designer?
Short answer: Creation. Long answer: Creators and their creations: God, the work of other designers, artists, writers, so on and so forth. I want to digest it all because (1) it’s amazing and (2) I can learn from it all. It gives me a path to now gure out how to make my work unique and just better.
What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a designer and how have you handled them?
So far, creating design outside of my preferred genre. I’m primarily into branding and creating visual systems. I was once tasked to design a poster for a play. I’m not that into theatre and I don’t know many plays, even the popular ones. But, I’m pretty good at envisioning what something should look like, regardless of the context. So, after refining one of my first sketches that was selected by the client because it was nearly spot on to, if not exactly, what they were thinking, I completed that mission with no sweat.
What are you excited to learn or work on next?
Funny, as much as I sort of suck at designing for younger audiences, I’m currently designing an educational board game that would introduce graphic design to youth, particularly youth of color ages 12 and older. I’ve always planned to be a design educator, imagining that those days would come maybe 20 years later. But, the opportunities are knocking on my door now. This is my latest challenge. And boy will it be dope when I’m done.