Meet Your Board:
Director of Communications | August 2015 – present
Director of Finance | November 2014 – August 2015
Why did you join AIGA?
Initially, I joined as a way to connect with people and get more involved. As an aspiring graphic design student, AIGA offered an inroad to the community and a way to get to know the people who make it up.
It sounds a little self-serving, and initially it might have been. It didn’t take long before the value became its own motivation, however. The people I met became the people I looked up to and loved spending time with. From amazing events to a real connection with a phenomenal community, AIGA became my creative second lung.
What inspires you?
The stories people share about the creative things they’re doing. Sometimes it’s not even directly relevant to design, development, etc. Sometimes it’s a story from BarCamp about somebody’s dream interpretation techniques or a crazy idea they decided to follow through on. Sometimes it’s somebody in a field I don’t even work in sharing their personal advice, struggles and triumphs.
People inspire me, and their stories motivate me.
How do you AIGA?
I know that if AIGA is having an event, it’s something I want to be a part of. Everything from the smallest Nerdbraska where only a few people show up (and we end up having a great conversation anyway) to huge events like BarCamp and Show that bring in hundreds of people. Either way, I know I’m going to make connections and have conversations that aren’t possible anywhere else. There’s a buzz when you’re in a room with that many creative people. It’s like the air is electrified. AIGA Nebraska events leave me feeling awake, refreshed, and overwhelmingly grateful to be a part of the amazing community I live my creative life in.
What do you like to do in your free time?
Drink good beer; play Nintendo; play around with web design, particularly on CodePen; blog and work on my own website; watch Netflix with my wife and dog.
What’s the biggest struggle you overcame becoming a professional?
I knew going into school that I was partially colorblind. I kept it a secret for a long time because I was afraid it would become a hindrance to becoming employed or even to other designers taking me seriously.
Funnily enough, it turned out that my color vision deficiency doesn’t matter all that much in the modern world; colors are almost always formulas and numeric values. But more importantly, it gives me a literally unique point of view. I’m more likely to keep things like contrast and non-chromatic variety in mind than other designers, and to be aware of the struggles that other people with vision issues might experience—something that most designers don’t think of. Now I wear my color vision deficiency with a sense of pride. I have an app on my phone that shows people how I see things and they’re always amazed.
What advice do you have for emerging creatives?
Try your best to work for/with people and companies you respect and care about, doing work that’s meaningful to you. You probably won’t be able to do this much early on, but it’s absolutely essential to pursue as your career develops. Design isn’t for wealth-seekers or people who just want to work 8–5 Monday through Friday. If you don’t find a personal meaning in your work, there’s not much else in this field that will make it worthwhile for you.
Also, don’t have pride or an ego; it’s toxic in the professional world. And don’t say “no” to coding until you understand it well enough to be fully aware of what you’re saying no to. Too many emerging designers shun code because it seems scary or like something they don’t want to do, but a fundamental understanding is crucial to being a valuable member of your team.
Choose a color.