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Advice for Designer’s Who Were Terminated

A lovely person asked via facebook: “Do you have any advice for designers who were terminated?

I tried to answer as best I could: Oh goodness, that’s a tough one! That really sucks! I guess it’s really the standard advice everyone gives; you’ve got to move on and realise it wasn’t working for one reason or another, and understand it’s not necessarily a personal thing. I think one of the hardest things about our profession is how subjective it is - there is hardly ever a wrong or right answer; it’s all very much what people like, which can prove tricky.

I’ve been in a shitty situation where I was fired by a client, and unfortunately it comes with the territory. As much as it sucks, especially when you’re young and starting out, you really do need to realise that it can be a blessing in disguise. You don’t ever want to work with someone who doesn’t want to work with you, so try to see the silver lining here, as hard as it can be.

Keep your head high, trust in yourself and your talent, and believe something better is around the corner. Keep working hard and being kind to people and I believe it will all work itself out eventually. Also, if you can keep your design mind sharp with side projects and small design-related tasks, it will enable you to continue working on your craft, and is always something great which future employers will love to see.

Hopefully that helps you out a little bit :)

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O’Reilly Strata Conference: Design Matters More Than Math

(an Oxford-style debate)

Interesting thoughts on design and math!

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"Speak intelligently about your work."

Lessons of a Young Designer: Sixty Four.

Learning to speak intelligently about your work will be a lifelong skill which will reap boundless rewards. Clients, managers, art directors and designers alike will find it easier to work with someone who can clearly verbally communicate their thoughts and ideas, and give it value at the same time.

Learning to speak about your work intelligently, and communicating iron-clad reasons behind all of your design decisions, will win you so many points. There is nothing more off-putting than working with someone who explains their work by saying, “Um yeah, well, I like red… so, yeah.” Take the time to rehearse before the presentation and you will come out a winner!


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Random Words of Kindness: Official NEW Blog!!

I have now officially expanded #randomwordsofkindness onto it’s own blog - you can follow it here!

I’ve been reblogging the past work I’ve done for it, and will keep adding to it over the weekend. This is the final header design based on this WIP sketch. What do you think? Are you excited by this side project?

Website | Tumblr | Twitter | Facebook | Society6

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Felt With The Heart || Kim Panella

This is amazingly, wonderfully beautiful. <3

(via goodtypography)

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Random Words of Kindness: WIP header sketch

I’ve been feeling like I want to expand this out onto its own blog, complete with its own logotype header. What do you think?

Website | Tumblr | Twitter | Facebook | Society6

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Random Words of Kindness #8: Light Up My Life

Here is the final print from this WIP sketch! A huge sorry to all my amazing followers for the lack of content lately — I haven’t disappeared, I’m just working on a huge project which is taking up a lot of my time! I promise I will post more as soon as I can!

Thanks to your likes and reblogs of the WIP, I’ve found someone to surprise with this gorgeous finished print! I can’t wait to put a huge smile on their face!

This print is now available at my Society6 shop for those who want one of their own!

Website | Tumblr | Twitter | Facebook | Society6

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Comic Sans for Cancer @ The Proud Archivist

Not only is this a great blog post about the Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition currently in London, but it features the one and only photo of my ‘beautiful’ poster design!! Hooray! It’s the first time I’ve seen a photo of it being displayed!

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"Always believe in yourself."

Lessons of a Young Designer: Sixty Two.

Because if you don’t believe in yourself, who will?


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Sneaky peak #typography progress shot! Pretty happy with this guy! #design #illustration #excited

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How do I become a full time illustrator?



A young, aspiring illustrator recently asked me how to become a full time freelancer. The answer is murky at best and provides no quick route to a stable career, but I’d like to think I learned a thing or two over the last fifteen-ish years that’s worth repeating.

I was lucky in that I started a blog before most folks were actively doing so. I posted a ton of work for at least five years before I got noticed from folks like Nike. It’s a numbers game. The more you put out into the ether, the better chance that the right people will see it.

Make a lot of work. Post it everywhere. Ev-er-y-where. Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook, Google+, Youtube, Twitter, Reddit, group blogs, art forums, sites whose content needs align with your work’s subject matter, and your own site.

If shotgunning the work into the world is half the battle, networking is the second. You’ll get notice eventually if you keep pumping out work, but develop a peer group in the meantime. These co-illustrators are more likely to get you your first gigs than anything else. You can’t go wrong with meeting, knowing, and being nice to a lot of people. Much of the time my success feels like a karmic reprieve for not being a dick.

Do the work. Make so much work that it’s persuasive as a body and speaks FOR you. Accept failures. Hell, accelerate the rate at which you fail. It’s the quickest route to learning what you need to do. And pretty soon you’ll have a base of fans or peers, or, if you’re lucky, both, that are open to what you’re creating.

That’s worth more than a big client or two. None of the work I’ve done for big clients has ever gotten me big clients. I didn’t even bother to put it into my portfolio when I was actively soliciting freelance clients half of the time. The esoteric, personal, honest stuff always has.

Be honest in your work. Make a shit-ton of it. Be nice to people.

That’s it.

This advice is so spot on. This is true and good and if you want to be an illustrator or designer or musician or painter or whatever, then read this multiple times and put it into practice everyday.

This is some of the most succinct and honest freelance career advice I’ve read to date. I couldn’t agree more; the more work you make, the more you increase your chances of getting noticed.

Here is another piece of advice: do the work you want to get paid to do. If you’re not already doing what you want to do and you want to be an illustrator, illustrate every day; if you want to be a letterer, draw letters every day, and if you want to be a writer, blog every day. Just keep creating honest work and you will get there!

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Another sneaky #typography progress shot! This one is a different project altogether! So much going on, but it’s all so exciting! #design #lettering #goodtype

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Comic Sans for Cancer poster design.

**Hooray! I can finally post this because the Comic Sans for Cancer Exhibition is currently on in London!! See website link below for details.**

This is the finished piece from this WIP sketch. I’m pretty happy with this poster, considering I only had about a week to work on it. The colour scheme is inspired by the colours of a sunset - which is, to me, one of the most beautiful things in the world. And for those who’ve been through, or known someone who has been through cancer, you’ll understand just how meaningful each sunset becomes. <3

Comic Sans for Cancer website.

Website | Tumblr | Twitter | Facebook | Shop

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Sneaky peak progress shot of the late night #lettering session! #typography #design #goodtype