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How to Get Your First Big Logo Gig

Updated: Nov 12, 2021

First off, let me say a thank you to you for clicking on this post. I hope that in our short time together, I can give you some insight on how to get your foot in the door when it comes to the design world.

If you’re here as a graphic designer in pursuit, welcome to one of the most competitive games of your life. Do not be dismayed however, it’s not completely impossible to get your art out there.

I’m not sure if I stumbled into the graphic world by accident or if it truly was because I took a chance. One of my professors and dear supporters, Lynn Thomson, at Western Illinois University reached out to me in the Fall of 2019 and told me about a Logo Competition that was happening for the Macomb Arts Center. They were looking to rebrand and decided to have a contest for a new logo design. I’ll be honest, at that point, I was still very much a painter who enjoyed graphic design on the side. I had created a few mediocre logos and designs by that time. I reviewed his email and pondered on it for a while. I sat down and sketched up a few ideas for the art center. I reviewed a few tried and true designs such as The MoMA, The Whitney, and The MET. There seemed to be an importance on color and symmetry, so I decided to mimic that.

Here's a snapshot of the place I spent most of my time creating in college. If you are still in school, it is worth it to invest in your schools resources and see if they offer private studio spaces.
Undergrad Studio circa 2019

I submitted two designs, one more traditional and one a bit more modern. Months passed and I figured the design had been chosen. I did not reach out to see and decided it was probably for the best. That was when I received the call that my logo had been chosen, but they’d like to make some modifications. To say I was dumbfounded is an understatement.

I met with the President of the Arts Center, Nancy Crossman, and we discussed the logo, it’s relation to the center, and its relationship to the building. I had never thought about the sign of a building holding a relationship with the building itself, and that was a great learning experience for me. We worked together on the formatting, getting the colors right, and then preparing the logo to be created into the sign it is now on their building.

The Wyne Dry Goods Building is home to the Macomb Arts Center. The new logo needed to tie in with the font and design of the building. Macomb is known for its historical downtown and we wanted to preserve it the best we could.

When they began the construction and the first half went up, I was awestruck. Something I had made was going up on a building for everyone to see. That was one of the first pivotal moments for me as an artist and it would’ve never even happened if it weren’t for the connections I had made and the chances I had taken.

Look up competitions online and submit whenever you can, even if there’s a minimal fee. Get your art up on Red Bubble or Society6. Just get it out there!

Wherever you are in your journey right now, know this; life is about human connection and life is about pursuing every opportunity that presents itself to you. Make connections with those around you and I don’t mean just in the ways of “networking”. That is a masculine term, an artificial act. People are not stepping stones that get you from point A to point B. Take the time to listen to what a person is telling you. Macomb will always be a dear place in my heart and I often think back on all of the amazing people I met in my time there and the pieces of them that I carry with me now.

Stop telling yourself you’re not there yet. Stop telling yourself you’re not qualified enough. The plan doesn’t need to be perfect before you start. If I had told myself “You have no clue how to make a logo for something like this” then I wouldn’t be where I am now. Instead, I sat down, learned as fast as I could, and churned out a decent product. Forget the planning, action is the important part. Action is the movement that leads you to the ebb and flow of your destiny. You do not need permission to start working toward your dreams.

You don’t need training, you don’t need special classes, and you certainly don’t need to pay that $20 subscription to make a worthy piece of art. Do what you can with what you have and just get. it. out. there.

If you have any questions about my work or how I got here, feel free to reach out to me via my website.

Go find your inner goddess, she’s waiting for you.

PS: Special thank you to my friend Tucker for capturing the head photo here and for always supporting me as a creator.

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