Tag Archives: black designers

Is the age of fifty and over the end of a design career?

Recently, I got a save the date card from Pratt announcing a reunion for my graduating class of 1989. Reality sank in—it’s been 25 years since I graduated college. Holy fuck!

Andrew Bass Through the Years

I remember being that ambitious, bright-eyed design graduate looking to make my way into the design world with such energy and drive. My dream was to be an art director working at a big company, traveling for photo shoots, mingling at company parties, building a network of creative allies and maybe one day run my own studio all while doing something that I loved. Looking at the calendar, I’m reminded its around 20 days away from my 47th birthday. I’ve realized that many of the things I dreamt about as that young graduate have came true. But I also realize that some have yet to see the day of light. There’s still much I want to do and learn as a creative but there is an undercurrent that I am beginning to feel—it’s the age concern.

I AM APPROACHING 50.

In the past decade, I have seen the industry shift to a younger mindset for design leadership in all creative disciplines and discarding experienced creatives (i.e. older) as stagnant, out-of-touch and irrelevant. This weighs on my mind more recently now as I see the pages drop off the calendar. Reading Commarts.com, I came across a link talking about this same idea (click here). Ask yourself, at your place of work how many creatives are employed with you that are over 50? So many places value youth as being the only innovators, the only ones interested in new technologies, the only ones willing to learn or try new directions. That’s so short sighted as we turn into a country that is dismissing a large segment of our population.

At the story link points out, unless you are a studio owner or high-position creative, you don’t see many mid-level creative over a certain age given the same latitude and tools as a younger creative. Thanks to my parents’ genetics, most folks have no clue about my age and guess it at 10 to 12 years younger. I keep up-to-date with the latest trends and tech not because I need to but because I can’t exist without it. I equate it to air—you can’t breathe without it. Now add to the mix, the issue of race and gender. Fuck all you naysayers; this is a stone-cold hard fact of our society. If you are older, white and male, you will have it tough. If you are older and non-white (male or female), it just got unbelievably difficult.

Don’t believe me, can you name at least three designers over 50 who are white? Now, name three who are non-white, male or female and over 50? Bet you it’s easier to name three older white designers without much trouble but hit a wall the other way round. (Look at the gallery and see if you know their names.)

Three white over 50 designersThree non-white over 50 designers

Tony Gable (gable206.com), Crystal McKenzie (cminyc.com) and Archie Boston (archbosgd.com) all happen to run their own shops and have distinguished themselves in the industry although they don’t receive the same recognition as their counterparts above. How often do you hear their names in lectures and publications compared to Milton Glaser, Paula Scher and Kit Hinrichs? Be honest.

So, what are the options if you don’t run your own studio or a high-level creative? Going into academics in one possible avenue. Freelancing might be on the table but poses this question, if one won’t hire you as an older full-time employee why would they hire you as a freelancer? Changing career paths when older might be a consideration but that present a new series of obstacles that might bring you back to the original age problem. Many of us will face this dilemma in the coming years and I hope the tide strengthens for the value of experience when we do cross that road. You would tend to think, creativity has no age limit but sadly, business seems to have an expiration date on age.

Adobe New Creative Is Spotlighting Fresh Creatives

In the morning, I have to do several things before I start my day. First, I must have my coffee. Second, I must have a good breakfast. Third, I must scan my design bookmarks.

It’s that third ritual in which I read about some new designers being spotlighted by Adobe in their campaign for Creative Cloud, New Creative. What intrigued me was the nice diversity of creatives they were showcasing. Blow me away in a very positive way. One such creative is Gavin Campbell. He’s an illustrator and graphic designer based in the UK—London to be specific. He works delves into a lot of lighting work that is just simply amazing.

He along with a few other designers are giving these talks about their work, careers and how Creative Cloud is a part of that. Pretty damn cool as I’ve been eyeing the campaign for a bit and like how they shine the various creative disciplines. Now I wish I could just buy a plane ticket and fly over to the UK, hang out for a few days and catch the presentations. Alas, that’s not going to happen anytime soon. However, Adobe has to be commended for the way they are trying to help all of us creatives bring our ideas to life. Most certainly, they have their faults as any every expanding company does. I myself have had issues with them from programs to price structures that made me smack my head wondering what were they thinking? But you can’t say they are not our greatest supporters. For that, Adobe stands above so many other companies in the creative industry and this series of profiles is another example of them setting the bar.

Thanks Adobe and looking forward to the next innovations you create and support.

Soulight On: Lisa Hunt

spotlightlogo_LHSoulFul Design is proud
to present the series
Soulight On: a showcase featuring designers of color across different creative fields. My purpose is to shine light on fellow creatives that we don’t see in the mainstream design trades. My goal is for you to be inspired, be informed, be creative.

Lisa Hunt, former Creative Director of Essence magazine, launched her own design consultancy, Lisa Hunt Creative, and product line, Parasol New York, in 2009. With over a decade of experience in art directing photography in the categories of food, home, celebrity, fashion, beauty, health, fitness, and travel her work is vibrant, polished and fuses her well-honed knowledge of industry trends in publishing and branding across multiple platforms including web, tablet and mobile.

Her passion and special interest in ceramics, home textiles, furnishings and tabletop led her to create a line of home accessories, greeting cards and art prints for her company Parasol New York.

A former adjunct professor at New York University and a Pratt Institute alumnus, she currently resides in Brooklyn.

1. How did you first become interested in graphic design?

My mother was very instrumental in my interest in art and encouraged my creativity from an early age. She was a true creative spirit herself as she was always drawing, painting, knitting, crocheting, decorating and gardening. She passed away very suddenly two years ago but her creative spirit lives on in my sisters and me. During my preteen years, my love for reading magazines and music sparked my interest in type, color, and photography. By high school, everything from album covers, book covers, fashion and packaging were things I found myself drawn to and became a bit obsessed with. As a junior, I took a commercial art class at a technical school—where they also taught farm machine repair—for two hours a day twice a week. We learned everything about color theory, composition and typography. That class and its teacher really paved the way for my career in graphic design.

Even after my experience in the art class, I didn’t understand that it was possible to make a living as a graphic designer. I applied to and was accepted to liberal arts colleges. My decision was to study journalism as a way to work in magazines. For financial reasons, I had to delay my enrollment in American University and worked for a year to save money. It was during that year that a friend told me about different art colleges and encouraged me to apply. I used my high school portfolio. Continue reading Soulight On: Lisa Hunt

Soulight On: Dave McClinton

spotlightlogo_DMSoulFul Design is proud
to present the series
Soulight On: a showcase featuring designers of color across different creative fields. My purpose is to shine light on fellow creatives that we don’t see in the mainstream design trades. My goal is for you to be inspired, be informed, be creative.

Designer and artist Dave McClinton launched his one-man design concern in 2004. Technically, though he had been taking on clients since his school days at Texas State University from a small sign shop to an alternative newspaper for tech start-ups and then out on his own. In the 20 years Dave has been working as a graphic designer, he has never lost his love of the work. “I still get excited about every project during the initial discussions,” he says. Early on, he was taught the 2 of 3 principle—fast, cheap, good… pick any two. “My heart is bigger than my wallet as I often help folks out regardless. It’s very hard to walk away from a creative opportunity,” Dave states.

He currently runs his design business while juggling a designer T-shirt line, Drivn Apparel, an advocacy newspaper, TODO Austin, and his own personal artwork. Late nights are a regular occurrence. After the phone stops ringing, emails calm down and those ‘real quick’ requests are over, the night offers peace to actually design something. Dave’s work has been published in Print‘s Regional Design Annual, Typography and Enclosures, the 4th book in the Master Library series, Shapes and Symbols, the 3rd book in the new Master Library series and Logo Lounge Volume 7.

1. How did you first become interested in graphic design?

As a kid, I was always interested in art. I’d scour over posters, magazines, illustrated books, and in particular, album covers. I didn’t know what the job titles of the people creating them were but I knew I wanted to be a part of it. During my senior year of high school, the first three hours of everyday was a class called ‘commercial art’. This is sort of old school, as the profession had just started being referred to as graphic design. This is when I first thought that I could make a living being creative. Continue reading Soulight On: Dave McClinton

Soulight On: Terrence Moline

soulight_terrenceSoulFul Design is proud
to present the series
Soulight On: a showcase featuring designers of color across different creative fields. My purpose is to shine light on fellow creatives that we don’t see in the mainstream design trades. My goal is for you to be inspired, be informed, be creative.

Terrence Moline has 15 years of experience as an illustrator and graphic designer. He received formal training in illustrative design and screen-printing at Loyola University of New Orleans, completed in 1998. Terrence has developed branding programs for the non-profit, food and beverage, and entertainment industries.

His client roster includes: New Orleans Multicultural Tourism Network, AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center, the Louis Armstrong Airport, The University of Texas at Austin, Goodwill Industries of Central Texas and Alliance Abroad Group.

1. How did you first become interested in graphic design?
My interest in design is rooted in a love for illustration and was sparked in elementary school when a teacher continually featured my doodles. Less lauded art were the illustrations I added to most of my creative writing assignments. My passion for art and copy evolved in high school when I was recruited to join the yearbook staff and my classmates started paying me to paint Disney characters on denim wears as well as when my cousin hired me to design night club flyers.

I only made the connection that this practice of organizing images and copy was called graphic design after changing my major from music to design at Loyola University in New Orleans. I made the decision to shift programs following the suggestion of a former high school classmate who majored in graphic design.

2. Often times, families of color look at the creative arts as a white thing that we should get a good job like a doctor, lawyer, government worker, etc. What did your family think about your choice of career? Do or did they support it?
My parents’ only wish for me was that I would be able to survive and take care of my family and myself. They weren’t too concerned with my career trajectory as long as it was legal. I think it took a while for my family to understand my line of work, but they’re on board now and very supportive. Continue reading Soulight On: Terrence Moline