Today we’re really excited to share a brand new feature with you guys. We’re starting a Community Spotlight series, to recognise top members of the Design Cuts community.
We’re continually amazed by the talent in our community, and we wanted to share some of these outstanding creative individuals with you.
Today’s first community spotlight is Brandi Fitzgerald
Brandi has been with us from right at the beginning, and her support and kind feedback really motivated us in the early days. She has consistently been using products from our deals to produce incredible works, ranging from canvas prints, to pillow case designs, promotional goods and much more! She’s a shining example of a hard-working designer who has turned her passion from a hobby into a thriving business.
These lovely designs (below) feature backgrounds, textures and flourishes from multiple Design Cuts deals.
Chatting With Brandi
We wanted you guys to get to know Brandi better, and hope that her story inspires your own creative work.
DESIGN CUTS: How did you get started in the creative field? I know your background is in corporate finance, so that’s quite a jump!
BRANDI: Let me be honest with you, Design Cuts community, everything in my life possesses it’s own sort of creativity and I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was in elementary school. I grew up in Florida and we had an olive tree in our front yard with really awesome, thick leaves. Somehow, a friend and I realized that if we wrote our names backwards on one side of the leaf, it would read darker on the otherside and we quickly made a sign and set up a sales table in the driveway. We made $.50.
Fast forward a couple of decades, I met the love of my life, quit my corporate job and decided to shape my love of photography into a career. I took my first paid photography job in 2010 and opened my Etsy Shop in 2011. I’d like to say the rest is history, but you and I both know that being in the creative field and being self employed is always a work in progress, not history in the dust.
Do I miss my cubicle, um, absolutely not. I work in my PJ’s most days!
DESIGN CUTS: How do you find your design inspiration?
BRANDI: I tend to find design inspiration in the wants that other people express. In colors, in shapes and other visual arts. It is a running joke between my friends that I am apt to find art in most anything…I’ve yet to be inspired by a dirty public restroom but I’ll keep looking.
DESIGN CUTS: You’ve worked with some notable clients, including Bed Bath and Beyond, TJ Maxx and HomeGoods and Marshall’s to name a few. Could you give some insight as to how you were able to move into working successfully as a creative?
BRANDI: I have been successful, thus far, in my creative business because I have worked hard to turn my ambition into thousands of designs. I am very active in the Etsy community and because I am prolific in my design abilities I have a little bit of something to offer every one. In the spring of 2012 a licensing and publishing agency reached out to me after seeing my work on Etsy and they now represent my work to thousands of retailers all over the world. Regardless of all that, I am confident that the reason for my success is that I am not afraid to fail.
A reference to my favorite quote would be appropriate for any artist out there aspiring to make a name for themselves
“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take a while. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”
(Quote by By Ira Glass)
DESIGN CUTS: If you had to share your top 5 design tips for the Design Cuts community, what would they be?
1. Design a lot.
2. Check your fear at the door. Not everyone is going to like everything you make and that is okay.
3. Find a niche without pigeon holing yourself into that style of design being your only honed skill.
4. Watermark your images. I know this is often a taboo subject with designers and people viewing your work. In this day and age with social media being the visual powerhouse it is, if just one person sees and likes your work – you want them to be able to find you.
5. Take advantage of EVERY single Design Cuts deal – you never know when you’re going to need it! (Note from the DC Team: I promise we didn’t tell Brandi to say that!)
Where to Find Brandi on the Web
Thanks so much to Brandi for chatting with us today! We definitely recommend checking out her design work. You can find her at her various online hangouts: