Working on portfolio...discovering design
So, as some of you may know my main design work has been up until this point almost exclusively within finance. Financial marketing and subsequently the "design" (though, to me saying "design" and "finance" in the same sentence is always a bit disruptive, but in a really good way which I will explain in a second) that it entails has been most of my bread and butter.
On one hand, it's been the work that was fairly consistent and bringing a dynamic stream of revenue. On the other hand, because there are so many [often legal] boundaries to what a finance person can or cannot include within their marketing, even beyond the understandable strict legal wording of biographies and such, it is very difficult to work inside the box of finance which is, due mainly in part to the SEC (Securites and Exchange Commission), very small. It was always tough finding a design or making a logo or marketing material that looked nice and classic but not boring. When developing work in such a manner, I was constantly at odds with myself as a designer. When people, namely paying clients, are utilizing your God given talent it's a constant tug of war between pleasing them with a solid product and stirring them in the right direction, even if they may not be totally convinced, making something we both feel good with. A good designer is at their very heart a marketing consultant, because without this core understanding of visual impact and target audiences, the designer will quickly fall into the abyss of "pixel pusher" or the ever dreaded "fine artist". It is my goal to see my work alive and well and exposed not to the elite few but the masses, for the joy of seeing the fruit of one's labor is really at the heart of being an American. So with that, I try to work with the client...but still stubbornly protect my ability to make them happy in the long term, not the short term. A client with immediate gratification is simply getting exactly what they want, which means the designer has just been pushing pixels for them.
With finance, a breed of people I came across quite often while at university (The Mccintire School of Business I passed by at lunch every day for 4 years being the top undergrad business school in the country) so I kind of knew how they operated. That said, we are completely different breeds of people. When I started doing financial design I didn't know where to turn except to think back to the old, classic Southern styles and traditions I learned from being a student at the University of Virginia (a school known for its bow-ties and seersucker suits). I thought of simple elegance, muted but pastelled colors and subtle and refrained lines. For one piece, I even used the University of Virginia logo itself as a reference point of which to develop my piece. I figured UVA's traditions maintained themselves in much similar ways as finance, with conservative and classic guidelines that remained because they had done so for hundreds of years. So, basically, instead of studying Lou Reed album covers, I went back to my alma mater to begin to teach myself how to make something I know was safe, attractive and could make both of us happy.