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Meet Your Board: Dani Donovan

Written by
AIGA Nebraska
March 4, 2016

Meet Your Board:

Dani Donovan
Director of Membership | January 2016 – present
Director of Social Media | December 2013 – January 2016 

Why did you join AIGA?

I joined AIGA while I was a student at UNK. I’ve wanted to be a designer since I was in middle school, so I remember researching which schools had won AIGA awards for student work when determining which universities to look at. At the time, I didn’t realize how big of an impact this organization would really have on my life. After college, I decided to stay on and become a member because I was interested in networking and becoming a part of the Omaha design community. I was ambitious and wanted to form those connections in hopes of landing a sweet job (and some cool new friends).

What inspires you?

Real people telling their real stories. No BS. There is no person today who’s successful and got there without help from others, or without failure. Openness and honesty between people is an inspiring thing, and makes you realize that you can achieve greatness as well.

Every professional started as an amateur. It’s important to remember that, especially anyone who’s like me who looks at amazing professionals and gets frustrated that they’re “not as good” or “will never be that good.”

Those people went through all the same rough patches I’m going through. That’s inspiring to me. That keeps me going. To have someone tell you “Everyone sucks when they start, even me– you’ll get better if you keep practicing. Don’t quit now,” is one of the most inspiring, relatable things a person can say to someone who’s creative and hard on themselves. You just gotta work through it.

How do you AIGA?

AIGA is a part of who I am now. Being a part of this organization can speak volumes about what that person is like and what they believe in. I believe in people. Connecting people. Meeting people. Learning from people. Celebrating people.

I’ve made connections and friendships serving on the board. I’ve met new designers and made tons of developer friends through NERDbraska. I’ve learned so much through taking calligraphy, pottery and letterpress workshops. I’ve celebrated designers by attending Show, and knowing how proud taking home an award can make you feel.

Connect, meet, learn, celebrate… It may be cheesy, but if I had to sum up what AIGA Nebraska was about, it does the trick.

What do you like to do in your free time?

…what free time?

Just kidding. I’ve been doing a lot of just-for-fun illustration and animation classes on Skillshare (30% off for AIGA members, yo). I’m a reigning fantasy football champ who’s in 3 leagues, and I watch a lot of football (Go Broncos!). I perform stand-up comedy. I tried 50 new restaurants in Omaha last year and I’m attempting to do it again. I play guitar and love going to concerts. I play a ton of board games.

What questions do you get asked a lot?

“Have you eaten pizza for literally every meal this week? Do you eat anything that’s not pizza?” – Roommate

“Why do you stay up so late? You know that messes with your body’s clock, right?” – Mom

“Seriously, why won’t you talk to me? Are you screening my calls?” – Drunk Ex-Boyfriend, voicemail

What advice do you have for emerging creatives?

Make stuff for yourself just because you want to. Make something you want to hang in your room. Make something as a present for someone else. Make something you think would look cool in your portfolio. Something fun. Not for work, not for freelance work, not something you think you could sell online. When you make something for money, you’re guided by your client and what THEY want. Make something for YOU.

The act of making something you love for the joy of creating, and learning, and bettering yourself– that’s where the passion is. That’s how you keep yourself motivated when you are stressed and busy and you find yourself frustrated. Find the thing you can get lost in for 10 hours. Remember why you started. Make time in your busy schedule to do it. Don’t forget about it or let it get lost in the noisy shuffle of life. It’ll happen if you’re not careful.

Choose a color.


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