Freelance Art Director / Designer
Echo Park Los Angeles, CA
WHAT DO YOU DO?
I’m a freelance art director and designer, with a specialty in branding. I work with businesses from the ground up to create a cohesive brand identity, whether it’s an individual at the beginning stages of their dream or an established business needing to revamp their brand image. Services usually include a logo design, brand guidelines, website, stationary, photography, and marketing materials.
WHAT STEPS DID YOU TAKE TO GET WHERE YOU ARE NOW?
I moved from my home island of Maui, HI to Los Angeles to earn my BFA in Communication Arts from Otis College of Art and Design. Despite initially finding LA a bit unappealing, I stuck around and landed my first job at a creative studio in Venice Beach called Sauce Creative Group. After a couple years of working within the surf/skate/snow industry, I realized a full-time desk job wasn’t for me. I began freelancing for a wide variety of businesses, including surfboard makers, coffee roasters, animal activists, and creatives, as well as short term in-house stints at Arbor Collective, NBCUniversal, UCLA, and Disney Publishing. I’ve found that keeping my own schedule, maintaining small to corporate client relationships, and having a variety of projects has kept things a lot more interesting, inspiring, and balanced for my lifestyle.
FOR OTHER PEOPLE IN YOUR FIELD, WHAT DO THEY USUALLY LACK?
Risk-taking and flexibility. I’ve seen some designers get stuck - whether it’s within a certain aesthetic, a certain job, or even a certain city. As creatives we can have so much fluidity to move around and try new things - a lot of times, all we need is a laptop and some drawing tools. I try to take on jobs that are at times outside of my comfort range or personal interests, and have been pleasantly surprised by the results.
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?
I've been working on branding a beauty supply store, some book designs for Disney Publishing, web design for a consultant firm for non-profits, and a child psychologist's website in Hawaii. Often times, I'm juggling many projects at once and need to switch gears into an entirely different aesthetic and headspace.
WE ARE ALL SLASHIES WITH MULTIPLE SKILLS, WHICH ONE DO YOU WISH YOU COULD DO MORE OFTEN?
I would like to focus more on holistic projects, where I’m able to create and influence every piece of visual information for my clients - especially in regards to photography. So often stock photography is needed, which can work, but often feels contrived or generic.
WHAT IS FRUSTRATING YOU RIGHT NOW?
Client management can be extremely time-consuming, and sometimes keep me away from the creative part of my job. I would love to streamline this process more somehow.
WHAT TASK KEEPS LANDING AT THE BOTTOM OF THE TO DO LIST?
I have several personal projects that keep landing at the bottom of my list, in particular a photography book project chronicling a year-long van road trip taken across North and Central America.
IF YOU COULD HIRE SOMEONE FOR $20/HOUR, WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE THEM DO TO MAKE YOUR DAY EASIER?
I would have them do file prep and start brainstorming designs in the beginning stages, so that I could work from a larger pool of ideas and jump immediately into refinement and variety.
LET'S BRING OUT THE TIME MACHINE. WHAT DO YOU WISH YOU COULD HAVE TOLD YOURSELF, WHEN, AND WHY?
I would tell my 22 year-old, about to graduate from art school self, to enroll in some business classes, or to work alongside a mentor who would teach me the crucial business side of design (which I basically knew NOTHING about upon graduating and entering the working world.)
IF YOU COULD TALK TO AN EXPERT TO GAIN MORE INSIGHT ON SOMETHING, WHAT WOULD IT BE ABOUT?
I would want to talk to someone about career growth after passing the 10-year mark of being in the same industry, on how to expand, continually be inspired, and evolve.
WHAT KIND OF OPPORTUNITIES/PROJECTS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?
I'm looking for branding and web design projects with entrepreneurs, creatives, and small businesses.
WHAT IS YOUR IDEAL CLIENT?
First off, it's important that we communicate well and can work together to realize the vision for the product, website, or company. The ideal collaboration is one where we are on the same page with expectations, scheduling, budget, and aesthetics.
WHAT IS YOUR RATE?
I prefer to prepare quotes after speaking to the client, so I have a clear understanding of the project scope.
HOW SHOULD SOMEONE APPROACH YOU ABOUT WORKING TOGETHER?
A brief project description over email is great, from there we can set up a phone meeting.
HOW DO YOU STAY CREATIVE?
Go outside, get some fresh air, and switch it up!
This member profile was originally published in February 2016.