Graphic art can be a copycat industry. With over 13 years of design experience, I have found small businesses run the risk of looking dated very quickly when they want a style or logo color to match what is “HOT” for the moment. Last year’s shade of green will be the bell bottoms of the design industry two years from now. So, to ensure my clients stand apart from competitors, I usually recommend NOT following the latest trends.
Remember, graphic design can be very tricky. Sometimes, I may spend hours upon hours trying to figure out a clever approach for a branding project I am working on. I tend to dwell on and over think the minor things, how thick of a font we should use, what the color is conveying – everything. When I feel stuck, I have found that walking away from my computer or sketch pad allows me the freedom to develop my thoughts properly.
Once you’ve been doing this for a while, you start to look at everything through the lens of a designer. You begin to realize that design work is actually everywhere. I have found that grocery stores are actually a great place to become completely immersed in design. From hip, micro brew labels to cereal boxes, everything on display is a potential new inspiration. After hours of being consumed with details I feel a clarity and relief when the “right one” is doodled on the paper in front of me. This process of being consumed, seeking inspiration and dwelling on the details really helps me conceptualize a brand. Every element in a piece designed by me has been thought out and selected to convey a specific message.
Since I was a child, I have loved to draw. Growing up, most boys my age wanted toy trucks to play with, but I always asked my parents for a sketch pad so I could draw the latest cartoon animation I found SO fascinating. See, I grew up in a military family, so we moved around a lot. Being the new kid wasn’t always easy for me, so I used my ability to draw as a way to introduce myself to others. It usually worked, and during class down time, I was often the only kid allowed to draw on the chalkboard.
My ability to draw is actually what I believe separates me from other graphic design artists in this business. I start each project with a sketch pad. I really pour myself into each project. I want my clients to know that while I may only be on their branding project for a couple of weeks or months, I genuinely care about their business.
The success of our collaboration is important to me, and I treat each business as if it were my own company. I really love working for small business owners, for I believe small business is the backbone of this great nation. There’s nothing under the sun that I won’t try, and I strive to a fault to give each client I work with that one of a kind graphic design experience. Nothing excites me more than seeing pictures of my logos on softball shirts, store front signs and around town. It’s exciting to see the life the brand takes on after it leaves our studio.
Written by Josh Plueger || Graphic Design Maverick