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Creative professional, designer, author. Lover of chocolate, coffee, laughter, and football. Teaching and inspiring through design.
A puzzle piece separated from the rest of the puzzle
A puzzle piece separated from the rest of the puzzle
Image by anncapictures from Pixabay

You know how it is. You spend days, weeks, months — maybe even years — working on a project. You put the work in. You send the email, make the presentation, upload the file or press the submit button. Your expectation is praise and acceptance. You are waiting for the crescendo of applause as you take a bow for a job well done. But the reality isn’t always as glorious. Instead, you receive criticism, dislike, change requests — maybe even what you deem as disrespectful feedback. This isn’t what you expected at all, and now, you’ve failed. …

Dominoes toppling each other
Dominoes toppling each other

Do you think Carolyn Davidson, creator of the Nike logo, had any idea that her design would become an iconic cultural symbol, worldwide?

As a recent college graduate, she was offered a job by Phil Knight, founder of Nike (then called Blue Ribbon Sports, Inc.). His company needed a symbol to represent “movement” for an upcoming shoe line and Carolyn provided them five concepts drawn on a napkin. One of those concepts happened to be the infamous “swoosh”. She was paid $35 for her concept (this was in the 1970s) and after a bit of refinement, it was used as…

I just wanna make stuff!

I don’t consider myself a creative genius by any means, but I am pretty proud of some of the things I’ve created over the years. I even manage to impress myself every once in a while. From client projects to my own creative initiatives in the forms of books, products, tees, and teachings — I believe I’ve executed some projects that were worth a bit of hype (at least for a moment in time). But that seems to be my problem, a lack of marketing chops that allow me to further promote an important creative work, whether it be to…

Show that your work is about more than just aesthetics.

Illustration of paper, pencil, calculator, phone, and magnifying glass
Illustration of paper, pencil, calculator, phone, and magnifying glass
Work Vectors by Vecteezy

We’ve all heard the statement “quality over quantity”, which usually rings true in most cases. But quantifying has its advantages, too. Take a look at these two statements below and determine which one stands out more:

“That was a good conference.”


“I was blown away by some dynamic speakers who helped me craft five creative action steps to book my next six-figure deal!”

The second description sounds a lot more appealing, right? That’s because the second statement quantified the type of action steps needed to produce specific results. …

Delivering excellence versus overdelivering.

Client in a car receiving an anonymous bag from the designer in a drive-thru window
Client in a car receiving an anonymous bag from the designer in a drive-thru window

I could already taste it. The enticing smell of those savory and perfectly seasoned fries was faintly calling me from a distance. I pulled into the drive-thru and ordered large fries from my fave southern fast-food spot. All I needed were those hot, crispy-soft fries to hold me over for the next couple of hours. I’m greeted by the friendly cashier who not only hands me the bag of steaming hot and unhealthy goodness but also offers me something else.

— “Would you like this root beer? We accidentally made an extra one.”

— “Um, okay sure.”

I took it…

It all started with a voicemail notification. I had just woken up from a nap on a Friday evening. I checked the voicemail to hear my recruiter on the other end: “Shannel, I regret to inform you that you have been released from your position, effective today. Let me know a good time to meet up if you want to get your stuff.” Groggy and confused, I played the message over again to make sure I heard it correctly. I was being laid off from a contract design job at a major corporation that I was doing well at, so…

Ever sent a quote or proposal to a potential client, immediately followed by worry that you priced it too high? (even though you probably didn’t — you actually might’ve undercut yourself a bit). A day or two goes by and you don’t hear back, so now you start to get nervous…

The first thing you consider is following up with a lower price. But here’s a tactic to consider—STAND FIRM.

If it hasn’t been a considerably long wait, the client could be getting approvals from team members, rallying the troops on your behalf, or drafting up an agreement for you…

My answer: both.

An range of emotions through emoji faces
An range of emotions through emoji faces

Design is a unique mix of visual problem solving, art, and communication. When we design freely, it’s common to infuse our unique style, personality, and passion into our work. Creating can be an emotional and personal experience. How we channel these emotions can either elevate that experience or lead to a project’s detriment, depending on how we control these emotions.


It’s always a great feeling to look forward to a creative project. You’re blooming with ideas, you feel confident about your abilities to execute and you’re hopeful for a good outcome. Maybe you’re excited to work on something you really…

A few months ago, the George Floyd killing awakened a sleeping giant called corporate America to step up, speak out and acknowledge the racial divide and social injustices this country has endeavored (I say this with a mix of hope and skepticism). For many, it came with shock and unbelief, and for others, like me, it was just another grim reminder of an ever-present divide not nationally realized until a pandemic and a knee on a neck opened people’s eyes. With boldness (and reluctance for some) companies declared that Black lives mattered and pledged to do better to acknowledge social…

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

Potential Client: “I need X, Y, and Z done in two weeks, but I can only afford [insert unfavorable amount here]”

Designer: “Well, I usually charge X-amount for a project like that, and it usually takes 3–4 weeks…”

Potential Client: “So can you do it or not?”

Designer: “Um, yeah sure— I think we can make that work” (while screaming obscenities on the inside)

I think most of us designers have had at least one experience where we’ve accepted a job or client out of desperation. It’s inevitable that life will throw curveballs that push us to do what we…

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