Interviewed By An Upcoming Graphic Designer

Monday, August 18th, 2008

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I was contacted by an up and coming Graphic Designer, Luke Cosgrove, to get interviewed about what it is that I do. I thought he asked particularly good questions and it does share quite a bit of background information about me. What a great fit for this blog.

LC Is this what you wanted to be “when you grew up”? If not, how old where you when you decided to pursue this career?

When I was younger, my career selections for what I wanted to be when I grew up were based on some iffier motives such as salary instead of better motives, such as actually enjoying what it is that I wanted to do. I was 17 when I came to the decision that I wanted to be a Graphic Designer.

LC What did you do before you were into graphic design (hobbies/interests/jobs)?

I did a lot of work on my computer in my spare time. I designed websites, did 3D modelling and put together graphics. Didn’t dabble all that much in competitive sports, but played them quite a bit casually. Previous to jumping into the Graphic Design field, I was a camp counsellor; it certainly teaches you a lot about interpersonal skills. If you can communicate with children, irrational clients aren’t that much far off. :)

LC What steps did you go through to get where you are today?  (schooling, grasped opportunities etc..)

I’ve gotten to where I’m at now by applying myself when in the Graphic Design program at our local college. Applying myself goes above and beyond meeting the assignment’s basic requirements, but instead, making an effort to do the best you can. I surrounded myself with people who were ready to criticize my work, and that made improved me and that specific project. Maintaining deadlines with clients, pumping out good work and establishing strong client relationships are essential to excelling in the field of Graphic Design. All of these build your reputation. In the service industry, this is crucial.

LC  Did you work for other people before you owned your own design company?  If so, for how long?

I do a lot of freelance and have worked at an full-service advertising agency. Technically, I’m always working for someone. :) I’ve been doing freelance for approximately 4 years and have been working in an ad agency environment for one and a half.

LC  Have you always been an artist of sorts?

Always. But it wasn’t until I was older that I decided that this core talent could be applied to my career focus.

LC  Did you have mentors that helped you get where you are today?  If so, do they still help you?

Yes on both accounts. I have many strong mentors in my life that help me develop my talent, get me out of some jams and give me sound business and career advice. I would not be where I am right now without them and I certainly won’t be where I will be in 5 years without them.

LC  What does you current job entail ( a day at the office)?  How many hours a day/week do you work on average?

I work 40 hours a week at an advertising agency, and approximately, 20 additional hours freelance. The projects I work on are different, but similar, but I do about the same at both. That would include: website design, web development, electronic production (movies, web banners), Flash, etc. The graphic design program where I studied gave us a good taste of a variety of fields including illustration and print. It was my preference to take the more web-oriented route because it has always been my passion.

LC Do you love what you are doing  and why?

Absolutely. It was a hobby to start off with and I certainly can’t refuse to be paid for something I enjoy. I love what I’m doing because the projects are always different, every day, there’s an opportunity to expand your skillset, work for a client without boundaries, work in a new medium or work with new people. Your job always changes and it’s always refreshing.

LC  Is this what you plan to do until you retire  or do you have bigger future plans?

I plan on always keeping my fingers in the Graphic Design pie because I have a feeling it’ll always be a passion. I can’t imagine myself not being fascinated by the creativity of others in commercial art.

LC Do you ever get stressed out? What do you do to cope with the stress?

Stressful events pop up every now and then. Usually I’d take a walk or lie down and sort through what’s giving me issues. In my experiences, it’s not best to handle stress while staring at your inbox and the soothing glow from your computer screens. :)

LC What steps do you take to balance your life? ie: excercise, love/relationships, work, fun

Ultimately, as work starts to pile up, it’ll start being a balancing exercise to maintain everything at levels you would like them to be. It’s key to establish how much weight you place on each aspect of your life before problems arise so you don’t end up with broken promises or disappointed people in any of those aspects.

LC Do you try and practice the 7 habits?

I’m not quite what the 7 habits are, but I’m sure they’ve popped up in previous answers. :)

LC Do your hobbies relate to your job?

Between freelance and working at an ad agency, the time I do have left for hobbies are not graphic design related. (Apart from the people you do the hobbies with of course, you do make a lot of friends along the way.)

LC  What makes you happy in life? Is this helping make you happy in life?

That’s certainly a loaded question, but I’ll keep it relevant to the topic at hand so you don’t end up with an essay on my childhood dreams, interpersonal relationships and favorite types of food. :) Being content with what I do for a living is right up there on a list of goals to consider my life a happy one.

LC  Is there anything you would do over again if you had the chance to better where you are at this point in your life?

Luke, I’m not one to live with regrets. I’m afraid I don’t even have an answer to this question. Everything I’ve been through, good and bad, has helped, in some way or another, to get me to where I am.

LC  Do you have any advice for me as I’m coming up?  Anything to look out for?  Ways to better myself for success?

When people are trying to avoid paying their bills or use you for your services, standing your ground is more important than your reputation. Your reputation only matters with good, honest, loyal people. Don’t work for free, if someone asks you to work for free, tell them to come dry wall your basement for free and see how they react.
Love what you do, make an effort to improve.

Thanks a lot, Luke. It was fun. 

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