As a self-educated designer, my goal has always been to learn best practices and design trends. Early on, I adopted only Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop leaving out Indesign like an unwanted stepchild. It wasn't until a mentor that I admire came and turned my practice on its head. This modern day superhero's name is Matthew Dean, a design professor at Full Sail University.
Matt entrusted me a with white label client that needed a logo mark for their company. He subcontracted me and I couldn't have been more excited to prove my talents to him. Immediately, I went straight into Photoshop, which as a designer is an amateur move. I began designing a logo that I believed was going to really impress my mentor. When he received the first round of logo options, he noticed that the logo designs were all low in resolution. Me, not even thinking, I tried to do everything I could to stretch, resize, and reformat the design -- nothing helped.
Matt called me, concerned, and asked, "Hey man, what did you design these in?" Immediately, I felt my soul leave my body. I knew I had done something wrong, but my lack of skill in Illustrator and my lack of desire to learn designing vector left me resorting to a method that's a sure sign of "this designer has no clue what he's doing".
I told him that I designed the logos in Photoshop and he proceeded to curse me out immediately. But what was so cool about Matt was, when he finished, he proceeded to teach me basic design principles. He turned up so fast on me, but quickly and calmly followed up with, "We've wasted enough time, I'll finish out from here." Disappointed, I knew that I had much to learn. But instead of leaving me to die, Matt continued to teach me and show me the correct way to design. Over the years, he's even given me referrals and other projects to work with him.
This probably is an unorthodox Modern Day Superhero story. But, through discipline and structure, Matthew Dean has turned this amateur into a striving designer. Without him chastising me and working with me, I'd still be stuck trying to figure things out for myself.
Thank you, Matt, for being a great mentor.
This piece was inspired by Sleight, in theaters April 28th