A Small Town That Created a Creative

Every day, I enjoy starting my morning off with a hot cup of joe, with more creamer than actual coffee, and hitting the “play” button on my Spotify app. I like to set up my little Anker Soundcore and listen to one of my favorite podcasts, The Jillian Michaels Show. Jillian is funny as heck, but also tends to tie those “knee-slapping” conversations into something that really makes you ponder your life.

As I was tuning in to her show one morning, Jillian said something along the lines of, “The person you are today is like an illustration of your childhood.” After letting the statement breathe, I paused and thought about how true that really was – that my career choice was like a little window into how I grew up.

A Small Town

I grew up in a small town. Really small. So small, in fact, that we didn’t even have a mall. At every start to a new school year, we had to make an hour-and-a-half trip south to Phoenix for school shopping.

Back then, I didn’t have my license yet, so I had the luxury of looking out the window during these drives. Every time we made one of these trips, I remember always thinking about how nice it was here in Phoenix. It looked so different. And I’m not talking about the obvious differences, like small-town-to-big-city different; I’m talking about the way it looked. For years, I couldn’t put a pin on it, and just wondered why it looked so much better and “cleaner” than where I was from. It wasn’t until much time later that I figured it out.

The Big Difference

I finally realized what the difference was – it was the storefront signage on the mall windows. The menus when we went out to eat. The billboards that lined the freeways. The logos on the business buildings. I realized that this was what great design looked like. And from then on, I always had it in the back of my head that I wanted to be a part of that one day. I wanted to be the one who got to look out the window, see a design and know I was a part of its creation, or better yet, that I was the creator for that specific design.

Fast forwarding to my current life, I now have my bachelor’s degree in graphic design from GCU. I am working at BIG YAM – an integrated marketing agency in Scottsdale – and am surrounded by some of the greatest designers I have ever had the opportunity to learn from. It’s one of the best things about working here! The learning never ends and it’s a company that consistently invests in each person here. Here are some of the things I’ve learned already that have helped me towards my goal of becoming a great designer.

The Shortcuts in Design

As a designer, it’s important to constantly stay on top of the trends and learn the shortcuts in the design programs. For example, even the simplest shortcuts such as key commands can save time, keeping you from having to toggle between the dropdown menus and remembering where that specific option was that you might be looking for. Forget that! I’ve learned to remember the key commands instead. These commands are merely one of the shortcut factors I have learned.

Speaking in broader terms, I have also come to learn a few quicker ways to get to a result. As a creative, it’s so important to never stop learning new things. And it is even more detrimental to stop being curious. Throughout my work weeks, I find myself coming across designs here and there that stir curiosity. I will then typically open the document and search through the design layers so I can see how the designer before me got that specific result. It’s so exciting to me.

Where Learning Never Dies

It’s interesting how something so small like noticing a good design over a bad design (like those in my hometown) could lead to my future career choice, a decision that consistently stretches me to be better than the day before. BIG YAM is a talented agency, but even better … a place where learning never dies. Check out some of the fruits of our learning with our recent design work.