Designer / Art Director, Co-Founder of Mo' Money Mo' Progress
WHAT STEPS DID YOU TAKE TO GET TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW?
My path to where I am now has been a winding one. As a kid I loved making things and told everyone I was going to be a "rainbow painter” when I grew up. That's essentially what I do now, but it took me a little while to get here. I didn't study design in undergrad and started my career in marketing and operations at tech companies. I transitioned to design about four years ago, when I was given the blessing-in-disguise of being laid off by a turbulent start-up I worked for in Berlin. Since then, I have spent most of my time doing branding and web design in both freelance and full-time capacities.
FOR OTHER PEOPLE IN YOUR FIELD, WHAT DO THEY USUALLY LACK?
I can't understate the importance of being able to communicate and sell one's design ideas well. It's the hardest part about being a designer, but ultimately this is a trade where our success is dependent upon pleasing the people paying us for our work (whether that's clients, or in-house work for a brand). It's something I'm still working on myself, but it's been helpful for me to really pay attention to how the people with more experience than me handle communications and learn from them.
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?
This project was born of a desire to mobilize progressives to take action. After the election, My partner Laura Zax and I knew we weren't alone in asking ourselves what we could do to protect the parts of our society we value most. So we decided to merge her background in philanthropy with mine in graphic design to create this platform.
Our first initiative is a holiday gift guide that makes it easy for people to donate in lieu of (or in addition to) giving gifts this year. The organizations we've featured are ones you may not have heard of, but they're all doing critical work -- whether at the grassroots, within the legal system, or at the level of policy and advocacy. And they all need our support now more than ever.
WHAT'S YOUR STYLE/PERSPECTIVE/TASTE? DO YOU HAVE A PROJECT THAT REPRESENTS THIS?
WE ARE ALL SLASHIES WITH MULTIPLE SKILLS, WHICH ONE DO YOU WISH YOU COULD DO MORE OFTEN?
I wish I could focus more on web design. With my background in operations, I'm one of those rare breeds of creative that really enjoys structure and organization in addition to creative freedom. Web design is one outlet where I get to use those skills.
WHAT IS FRUSTRATING YOU RIGHT NOW?
One big challenge with Mo' Money Mo' Progress has been time constraints. Laura and I both work full-time, so this has been a classic nights-and-weekends labor of love.
But, the very biggest challenge has been getting people to donate. People have been so willing and eager to share the site -- it's been viewed by thousands of people in under two weeks -- but that has translated to fewer donations than we had anticipated, especially given the overwhelming positive response we receive at every turn. It's just plain hard to get people to give away their money.
IF YOU COULD HIRE SOMEONE FOR $20/HR, WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE THEM DO TO MAKE YOUR DAY EASIER?
I would hire someone to help us manage the Mo' Money Mo' Progress social media accounts and with general marketing.
LET'S BRING OUT THE TIME MACHINE. WHAT DO YOU WISH YOU COULD HAVE TOLD YOURSELF, WHEN, AND WHY?
I would say to study design in undergrad, but I really value many of the experiences I had before I became a designer and feel that my diverse experience has helped me in my work as a creative, but it would have been fun to have been able to spend four years in design school.
IF YOU COULD TALK TO AN EXPERT TO GAIN MORE INSIGHT ON SOMETHING, WHAT WOULD IT BE ABOUT?
WHAT KIND OF OPPORTUNITIES/PROJECTS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?
Creative web design projects, branding, art direction.
DESCRIBE YOUR IDEAL JOB/CLIENT/COLLABORATION.
An ideal collaborator would be someone who is generally positive and fun to work with, values my perspective and experience as a designer, and is open to trying unexpected solutions.
WHAT IS YOUR HOURLY RATE, RETAINER, OR SALARY RANGE?
Ask a white man in your industry what they think you should charge, and reevaluate your rate based on that (equal pay for equal work!). I did that early in my freelance career and am thankful.
HOW SHOULD SOMEONE APPROACH YOU ABOUT WORKING TOGETHER?
Email, budget, scope, timeline
HOW DO YOU STAY CREATIVE?
Hang out with my friends. They keep me sane.
This member profile was originally published in December 2016.