There are many different labels I’ve put on myself over the years. Graphic designer, RISD graduate, YouTuber, artist, nerdfighter, just to name a few. Well, I certainly am all of those things, but hopefully by the end of these paragraphs you will get a more complete sense of who I am, beyond just a person who really likes ampersands.
In 2011-2012, I spent a year working as a visual designer for YouTube. I worked on various creator/curator tools on the site, including Video Manager, Dashboard, Upload, Annotations Editor, and Video Editor. I worked there for just over a year, but even though the perks were great and it was my first job out of college, I wasn’t happy working at such a large company. Check out this video for the full explanation why I decided to leave.
Besides working at YouTube, I’ve also been making YouTube videos since early 2008. My channel has evolved over the years, but these days my videos mostly focus on graphic design and crafting. I currently have over 100,000 subscribers and over 6 million total views. I also have a second channel, where I upload more casual vlogs and other videos that don’t fit on my main channel.
Since the beginning of 2014, I have been working with HGTV on a channel called HGTV Handmade. I put up DIY videos on the channel every Sunday, and I am also the community manager, so I put together the Throwback Thursday videos and do most of the graphic design on the channel. I have been obsessed with HGTV since high school, and through the channel, I was able to meet and interview one of my biggest design heroes, David Bromstad.
Besides making videos on YouTube, I also do freelance graphic design work. I graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2011 with a major in graphic design, and while I was there, I did internships at charity: water and Point Five Design. Some notable freelance clients have included New York Times bestselling author John Green, young adult author Robyn Schneider, and YouTuber Hank Green.
Thanks so much for checking out my website, and please feel free to contact me at the links below if you have any further questions!
(You have a much higher chance of getting a reply if you use proper spelling and grammar!)
If you have further questions that aren’t answered below, feel free to ask me on Tumblr or contact me at any of the links above.
How are you so young?
I started school two years early, which meant I went to college at 16 and graduated at 20. I began working for YouTube a few months after graduating while I was still 20, and as of 2014, I am 23 years old.
How much do you charge for freelance work?
I can’t answer that until I know more about the project you’re proposing. Check out the video I made about How to Hire a Freelance Designer and then send me an email at email@example.com with all the details about your project for a quote. Please note that since I am so busy with YouTube videos these days, I am very selective on what design projects I take on.
What programs do you design in?
I use the Adobe CS6 suite, mostly Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. I work on a Macbook Pro.
What do you film and edit your videos with?
I film on a Canon T3i and edit in Adobe Premiere.
Why did you start making YouTube videos?
Back in 2007, I was a part of the Harry Potter fandom, and several of my friends that I knew through the fandom such as Lauren Fairweather and Kristina Horner were vlogging, so I decided I wanted to try it too. I had also watched the entire first year of videos from the Vlogbrothers in two weeks in January 2008, and I wanted to be a part of the nerdfighter community as well. My channel has evolved a lot over the years, but I’m so happy that what started out as a hobby in college has turned into my full-time job.
Who are your favorite YouTubers?
I can’t possibly include all of my favorites, but a few channels I really love include:
The Vlogbrothers, Hannah Hart, Gunnarolla, George Watsky, Hayley G Hoover, Charlieissocoollike, Elmify, and the Uncultured Project.
What is your favorite font?
When it comes to text fonts, I love Gotham, because it’s practically impossible for it to look bad. My favorite decorative fonts change all the time as I keep finding new ones!
How can I meet you in person?
I go to tons of YouTube events all year long. I’ve been to every VidCon, Playlist Live, and Buffer Festival, and I always announce what events I will be at on Twitter. If you see me walking around the events, please come say hi!
FAQs for School Projects
I get often get asked to be interviewed for school projects about graphic designers, and since I can’t always reply individually, I thought I’d put together this list of common questions. Please check first if your questions are answered here, but feel free to contact me with any additional questions.
How did you get started in graphic design?
I went to a high school that had a big emphasis on design and I learned how to use Photoshop freshman year of high school. I was hooked and made things with it practically every day after school. I decided to study it further in college, where I got a full, formal design education.
Do you have to go to college to be a graphic designer?
It’s not as strictly necessary as it would be if you were trying to be a doctor, but I think a formal design education is definitely worth your time. I was lucky that I was accepted and able to attend one of the best design schools in the country, but if money, location, or time are a barrier to you, I would definitely recommend taking classes at a local community college or online school at the very least. Learning alongside other aspiring designers is a huge asset, since you can all push yourselves to get better together through critiques and group projects, and you’ll end up with a community of fellow designers once you graduate.
What are the best and worst parts of being a graphic designer?
While I’m not doing quite as much design work every day as I used to, the best part of being a self-employed designer and YouTuber is having as much creative freedom as I want in everything I make. I get to choose what design projects to take on, and I work directly with the client rather than working in-house with a boss breathing down my neck.
On the other hand, some people like working in a structured company, since you don’t have to deal with any administrative tasks, which is my least favorite part of the job. Managing my own expenses and taxes and boring stuff like that gives me a headache, but the trade-off is that I get to be my own boss and have full control over everything I make.
Where do you get your design inspiration and who are your favorite artists?
I love browsing Pinterest and Behance to get inspired by whatever the most popular posts of the day are. I also follow a lot of art and design blogs on Tumblr, so I’m constantly reblogging things there that I want to be able to look back on. In terms of specific artists, I get a lot of design inspiration from Nubby Twiglet and Jessica Hische. If you want more tips on where to get inspiration, I made a video all about that topic here.
What does a typical day in your life look like?
I usually get up around 8 or 9am, and then spend the day working on various projects until about 10pm. I keep very organized and describe my system in this video. Every day is different, so I might be filming videos, editing videos, working on a freelance project, working on a personal project, or (more often) a combination of all of those. I am also constantly on Twitter and Tumblr all day long to keep up with what all my other YouTube friends are doing.
Do I need to know how to draw to be a graphic designer?
No! I am terrible at drawing, and those 8 hour drawing classes freshman year of college were the worst. As a designer, you should be able to sketch out ideas well enough to get them out of your head and onto paper in case clients want to see what you’re thinking, but you don’t have to be a master illustrator. Illustration is a whole separate field, and if you end up working on an illustration-heavy project, you can always hire a freelance illustrator to do what they specialize in.
What is your biggest design pet peeve?
I hate when people don’t leave enough white space around various elements of their designs, or leave way too much. Finding balance in everything you design is definitely part of what makes it an art form. Also Comic Sans.
What tips do you have for someone just starting out with graphic design?
Practice every single day! Give yourself mock projects to work on, and show them to your art teachers for feedback. Be okay with the fact that you’re probably not going to be amazing right away, but if you keep at it, you’ll develop your own style and start to love everything you make.