The dream of the newly graduated graphic designer

dream, oh young designer

Every newly graduated graphic designer has the same dream.

Hip office space downtown. Glamorous agency life. Great benefits. Great pay. Designing band posters and coffee shop logos. Pool table and dart board room to keep creative minds moving. Free breakfast on the first Tuesday of the month. Your designs become famous and are splashed all over the city – maybe even the country.  Sounds fantastic? That’s what we all want and imagine, right?

Then reality hits.

You forgot to mention the micro-managing numbskull who sits in power above you, the pissy attitude of the relationship manager in the cubicle next door, the fact that you’ve made fifteen revisions to the most recent brochure artwork and haven’t been given an explanation as to why, the impossible deadlines watched meticulously by the project manager who shoves ridiculous expectations on the one who happens to have the last leg of the project before it needs to go out the door. Yeah, you forgot to mention those.

When I graduated college, I had dreams to be the hipster, artistic chick with a funky hair cut and unnaturally colored streak through her hair who nailed the agency job and developed this crazy, kick-ass portfolio of hair stylist and boutique logos and wine bottle packaging.

A graphic design opportunity presented itself to me to work in a corporate environment for a big financial company surrounded by grey cubicle walls, business casual dress attire, and lame (but free) coffee in the break room. Sounds boring. I took it. Little did I know, this would turn out to be one of the greatest jobs that I will ever have. And I already know this.

It comes down to the people, the managers, and then the work. No matter what job you have, you are in the “people business.” You will always work with people, computer geek or not. I work with some of the greatest people in the world. We laugh, a lot. As a team, we are trusted to work independently and meet deadlines, manage our time efficiently, and expected to produce great work. We develop concepts out of thin air and make the magic become a reality. Everything we do in the marketing department is driven by intention. It’s the key to our success and it’s the key to my growth.

If you’re currently employed, the questions to ask yourself: Do you like the projects you are given? Do you like the people you work with? Are you challenged and pushed to your creative limits daily? Do you believe in the company’s mission and values? Are you valued (at work and in life)? What have you learned since working there?

If you’re currently dreaming of the dream design job: What’s most important to you in a job? What values do you hold personally close to your heart? What do you want your role to be as a designer? What do you hope to gain from working with those surrounding you?

Just remember, the flashy agency down the street might not hold your dream in it’s sparkling little hands.

Do it wrong

do it wrong, inspirational, oh young designer

Make mistakes.

Screw up.

Do it wrong.

Do it wrong again.

But then fix it.

And smile.

Because you won’t make that mistake again. You’ll learn. And you’ll get better.

This is the real world. This is called experience. Absorb every moment. And move on. In fact, don’t stop making mistakes, messing up, or moving on. Ever.

Blog Tip #4: SEO on images

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Blog Tip #4 relates to optimizing your images for search engines. How do search engines like Google and Bing find your tiny little real estate of a blog in the sea of the world wide web? What do you need to do in order for your images to become search-worthy? I was clueless (let’s be honest) so here are the primary tips I came across:

Files Names:

Name your image files with your key words. If you are talking about wedding photography in a downtown vintage reception location, name your file, “wedding-photography-downtown-vintage-reception.jpg”. The more repetition from your blog title to your blog content to your image alt tags, keywords, and file names, the better your SEO chances of google bots tracking your blog post down and bumping it up in the rankings.

ALT Text:

When you upload an image to wordpress, there is a spot to insert ALT text keywords before pressing “insert into post.” USE THIS. Add your keywords relating to your image. This may be the most crucial step to making your images search-able. In the example used above, your ALT text would read: “wedding photography downtown vintage reception” Match your alt tag to your image file name, use keywords relating to your post, and it doesn’t hurt to through in the title of your blog either. Use model or serial numbers if you are selling or speaking to a specific product. This helps search engines pinpoint your topic.

Image Title:

Again, WordPress allows you to change the title of the image. WordPress automatically inserts it’s own image title based on the name of your file, however, you have the ability to expand the title of your image.


I am not currently doing this one, but Flickr is one of the best search-optimized photo sharing sites in the world. Uploading all your images to Flickr and linking back to your site, increases your chances for more exposure.


1. Put yourself in the “searcher’s” shoes. What would they google if they wanted to find examples of wedding photography in a downtown setting with a vintage twist? “Wedding photography vintage,” “vintage downtown photography,” and “vintage wedding” are just a few search terms they may type into a Google search bar.

2. Don’t over complicate your word choices. Using too many keywords makes your image hard to find because it makes it too specific. Using too few keywords makes your image hard to find because it makes it too broad. You need to use the right words and the right amount of words in order to be found in the right niche.

3. Keep file sizes small. The larger the file size, the longer it takes for your page to load and the more metadata a search engine needs to sift through in order to optimize your image. Don’t sacrifice image quality, but make sure your file size isn’t outrageously large. Nothing is more annoying than being super interested in a blog and waiting 30 seconds for a series of images to load.

Those are the basics.

If I forgot something, share in the comments!

Etsy Shop: “Treasury-ed”

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Hello friends! I have exciting news! My business card design has been put into a “Treasury” via Etsy’s curators. It sits in the “Textured Treasury.” I think it’s pretty fun that Etsy handpicks certain items and collects them into similar groups. I’m hoping it will get my name out there a little bit.

So far, my experience with opening a store on Etsy has been super interesting and far from what I had expected. I have received a lot of custom orders – people requesting changes or updates or personalization to designs I already have out there. I expected to just see a couple of purchases and downloads once in a while but I have actually communicated with quite a few different people, all with different ideas in mind. Etsy is a great way for any freelancer to get their name out there and although there is a lot of competition to the custom designs game, I have still received quite a few purchases and custom orders.