We always like to introduce our new members of staff. However, this one is a bit different. Danny, our new Graphic and Web Designer, has written his own piece, published on his personal LinkedIn page. So, hear about Danny from the horses mouth below. Welcome Danny!
Today I start my dream job. It’s doing something I have always dreamed of doing, but took me 30 years to take the leap into the world of creative design.
As a kid I was always sketching, drawing, creating and I thought in my naïve early teenage years that I would one day go to Japan and animate cartoons for what is known as Anime or end up designing cars or games consoles for a living.
Until around 10 years ago when a lot of my belongings went missing or were thrown out in transit of relocation somehow, I had books and books of sketches. You could fill a small car with how many sketch books I filled over the space of 3-5 years.
As I grew older (or ‘grew up’) I started to discover my entrepreneurial spirit. I had a tattoo shop in Birmingham at one stage, but around the time the UK started the eco-friendly revolution I thought there would be mileage in a design and print shop dedicated to business stationary and branding using sustainable resources; water-based refillable inks and paper only certified by the rainforest alliance and the FSC. So off I went to build and present my business plan to the Princes Trust where I was later offered funding to start the business.
Turns out this didn’t end up happening and I was fortunate (or so I thought at the time) to get a job. It meant I could move out of my girlfriends (now my wife) mums house. It was great money, great location and had great prospects.
It was in insurance.
I know, not the most creative of industries. But despite what people may think I ended up really enjoying the work and as most people do you follow the path you’ve been given with the cards you’ve been dealt and 10 years later – after 4 house moves, 3 relocations, a handful of businesses, a huge work contract and a mental meltdown – I found myself questioning my entire professional life.
Why didn’t I take a course in design or get an apprenticeship? Why did I start so many businesses without financial backup or a game plan? Do I want to stay where the money is or sacrifice everything for happiness?
What do I do now?
I love design. I love technology. I love solving real business problems and even world problems because I believe design plays a huge part in that.
So why did it take so long?
Like many ambitious creatives we are filled with fear from our academic years of how difficult it is to enter industries that are filled with talent but have very little demand. Like acting, singing, design, fashion; I was always told that unless you are ‘one in a million who can break through the rest, you’ll never make a career out of it’.
We hear stories of amazing and creative people of every generation who were told they weren’t good enough but who persevered anyway. These are the people who won.
So how did you do it?
I have ‘dabbled’ in design during the last 10 or 11 years but it was purely passion projects or volunteered at other jobs – personal stuff. Although I would find any old excuse to have a play with Photoshop.
So I decided to start designing again. I had no formal qualifications so had to self-teach and found a course on offer through Creative Bloq (creativebloq.com) to learn Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign which I think cost me about £20.
I started to watch some YouTube videos and saw that a kid in University signed up to a 30 logo’s in 30 Days Challenge and it just so happened that on that day – 16th February 2018, I turned 30 years old so I HAD to do it. I don’t believe in ‘signs’, but this was definitely something…like a ‘sign’? (LOL).
Note: If you want to give it a go, you can sign up at thirtylogos.com
I gave myself one hour each day and I would design one logo every day for 30 days; I would record my process and then post the video and finished logo on Facebook and Instagram for all to see.
There was no real agenda to what I was doing at the time, but the results were incredible.
You wouldn’t believe what happened next…
So I post my little logo: Day 1 – Space, Day 2 – The Grind then on day 3 something funny happened. I was contacted by 2 people who I haven’t spoken to in some time telling me how great these logos were and one of them even gave me work. Like, REAL work!
I convinced myself it was beginners luck, a novelty you could say, but within a week I found myself dealing with enquiries from 9 people! NINE!
I was getting contacted by people I had never met – someone must be talking, I thought. Baffled by the rate of people getting in touch with an unqualified, uneducated guy who not long ago had a mental meltdown and decided to just ‘design stuff again’ I went on with my challenge.
Day 18 was not only a good day for design (Sushi related) but I found my inbox with a total of 16 enquiries for design work. I was so humbled and grateful that people would give me a chance purely based on logos I designed in a hour, in my spare time.
It wasn’t until day 21 when I decided to apply for a job as a designer. I was heading for junior positions because I knew the competition were talented grads who were hungry and ready to be moulded into a culture.
Eagerly anticipating what comes next I found myself sitting with a recruitment agency in Cheltenham having to explain my not-so-ideal resume for a job I was commercially overqualified for but had no experience or education relating to the position.
I am unemployable.
But it was something I really wanted and the following day I went for an interview as a Graphic & Web Designer for a web and print agency in Gloucester.
Day 27 – The Interview
My first thought was – I cannot believe I’m here. Let’s face it; my CV doesn’t look good, I was self-employed for a while and I had nothing to show but my 30 logo challenge and a few personal projects.
I sat the interview and knew immediately that this job was made for me. I never thought I’d feel like that because in the past I’ve been really attached to running a business, being the boss and having the freedom it gives you to be accountable to only yourself.
It didn’t feel like that. It felt collaborative, objective driven and it was a position I felt I could offer a lot of value in and that I would be looked after in return. The company have big growth plans so I also felt longevity in what I wanted to achieve.
I left feeling excited. I did my best, prepared well and held my own.
Is someone really going to give me a chance?
As I walked out I was told there was another interview after me and they’ll get back to me, but within an hour I got a call back!
They offered me the job.
What the actual…!
So, I embark on my design career. 30 years in the making. Just shows that there is always time to follow your dreams, it’s never too late to try and if you work hard and do good stuff – magic WILL happen.
“Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”.
As long as I am doing what I love, I feel so grateful to wake up every day and create cool stuff.
P.S: From now on please direct your enquiries to Danny@colourconnection.co.uk
P.S.S: Special shout out to Victoria from Truly Tailored Recruitment who saw past all of the negatives and spent as long as she needed to ‘interview coach’ me when I registered in a non-fluffy, non-judgemental and straight-up kind of way. I hadn’t been to an interview in years and she was soon to blow the cobwebs off and offer help and support in me getting the job I wanted.