Thank you for reading my story of how I got into design.. This is definitely not a ‘How to get into design’ article, it’s just chronicling my personal story as someone on my Snapchat asked that I share this. (follow me at ‘TimBDesign’ on SnapChat and suggest articles!)
I was a creative kid, and I saw my mom showing my brothers how to draw human face and make sure it was proportional. I saw my brother Jon creating well-done landscape paintings, and abstract paintings for a contest at a local contest. My brother Matt was in a punk rock band, and I got to hang out at his shows and see the kind of reactions the enthusiastic demonstration of creativity gets you. Even for a teenage rock band, it meant sweet pretty girls would come around and I couldn’t help but appreciate I got some of the run-off of attention. I was already seeing what it would be like being a roadie for a band. In the mean-time, bands need logo‘s, drawings for album covers, art and websites.
Watching all the attention creativity got those around me
At first I observed my brother Matt doing this work, and then I joined in. Creating websites for the various musical ventures my friends were part of, taking a shot at their logos. I also had been doing my own little websites including one called ‘Timmy B’s Clean Jokes.’ and a couple other one’s creating them at my bus-stop after school which was the local library in Plymouth, Minnesota. So design – and more specifically web design started to be my playground. ‘You mean you can create the internet?!’ and somehow back in 1998 or whatever I was able to get a couple domain names for free and had my own dot com’s at 11 and 12. This kind of tom-foolery escalated into getting Photoshop and knocking out backgrounds out of photos and so-on. My childhood knack for making little construction paper books had taken on a new life in the ability to merge and modify images, adding text and helping out with design things my family and friends needed.
A negative spirit towards design as a career
As I noted that this was something people appreciated, another element arose – a negative spirit, which was that these skills didn’t mean much and likely wouldn’t evolve into a career. I followed an urge to create in another way… music, and played my heart out at some shows and made a ruckus like the punk-rockers I saw on T.V. It was all fun and games, but in the end a wild goose chase. Because I wanted fame and attention, and although the music got me some attention from people in my immediate vicinity, my particular brand of musical ambition was marked by partying and troublemaking that was often fun well it lasted, but often left an anxious knot in the pit of my stomach.
Creating a ruckus in Texas
I troubled my way out of a couple different life paths, awoke in a house with a classic/hard rock band in Dallas, Texas and found myself still involved with the branding, album cover making and social media presence of my musical endeavors. I don’t mean to belittle the time I spent creating music, losing and finding myself over and over, and during this time I read classic literature, books on psychology, sociology and the occult, and I met a ton of interesting people and expanded my ideas of what it means to be a human. No, I wouldn’t trade it for an early start in career-oriented design.
Cleaning up my act, and aligning my creative energy with ambition
But as I found the party life causing havoc, and started a new venture back up in Minnesota I realized I really needed to finish school in 2011. I cleaned up my act, and got into school (maybe something to do with art?) The realization that I needed a real career path to be self-sustaining brought me to web design and I made headway. The characteristic that surprised me was that creative energy is often synonymous with ambition when the two are aligned with a singleness of purpose.
I worked service industry jobs for a while during school – transitioned to web design, and did everything I possibly could to connect with people who ran design shops, went to events, and got a couple internships. After what seemed like 10 years (my technical college time was around 3 for a 2 year degree,) I emerged with a position partly gained by work I had done through school and connections to those people. All throughout I have to say I ‘faked it til I made it’, let’s be honest.. and then hustled my ass off to fulfill the expectation that I had created. I always knew I would fulfill, and that’s why I felt ok selling myself as someone who could get the job done. Whether it was my first freelance gig, or the positions I was interviewing for at the end of college.
Doing things quickly and allowing myself to fail in public
Today, I recognize that I have something special. A propensity to learn and a hungry mindset regarding innovation, marketing, and creativity. This hunger has drawn me into learn how to do front-end development, marketing and visual design in a combination, most people don’t have the time for. Doing things quickly and allowing myself to fail have been two guiding forces that help me get better and iterate in public.
I’m 62 Days into writing an article every day – for the purposes of methodically improving my writing and clarity of thought around areas related to my career, and creating this little history has been refreshing. You’re invited to continue following along as I share marketing and web design strategies and perhaps some more personal stories on my blog at timbdesign.com/blog.