A week or so ago, I was interviewed by CANVAS REBEL, an online website that highlights creatives and entrepreneurs and I thought there were some great questions asked and wanted to share it with you.
Here it is in its entirety:
Hi CHRISTOS, thanks for joining us today. How did you learn to do what you do? Knowing what you know now, what could you have done to speed up your learning process? What skills do you think were most essential? What obstacles stood in the way of learning more?
When you follow your passion in life, you will always find a way of making a living out of it. I went to college to study journalism and I ended up starting my own design agency. Design was always my passion. It was something I gravitated to. I always enjoyed drawing or designing little things when I was young. I just never knew that I could go to school for that and so I pursued a journalism degree which in my eyes was a more “logical” profession. I never practiced journalism professionaly after school, but at least I was schooled on how to communicate ideas and thoughts. I used that skill in marketing my first company but I still dabbled in design on the side. Things truly changed when I got paid for my first design project. I believe it was a logo for a client – I was hooked. That was it. I loved the creative process. The research. All of it. I fell in love with typography and the rest is history. In hindsight, I feel I could have sped my learning process attending design school, but I have no regrets. I went to a liberal arts school that gave me some creative outlets such as photography and watercolor painting etc. I think there is something to be said about being innately curious that will make you successful in any creative field. And working at it makes you better. I am essentially self taught in the field of design but growing up around an architect father, design was instilled in me at an early age, so the leap was not that huge. I taught myself how to use all the industry standard software and fueled by my aesthetics and just got to work.
CHRISTOS, before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?
As long as I can remember, since middle school and onward, all the way through college, I always found math, physics, economics and any other “mundane” class to be, well, mundane. As soon as I entered an art class, or a photography class later in college, or a humanities class or an art history class, it felt so much more engrossing. Learning about the chiaroscuro in a Rembrandt painting or the shadows in a Bresson photograph was so much more captivating than any mathematical theorem. So knowing that I would never be a banker or an accountant, I followed my heart and invariably pursued creative work or work that entailed some spark of creativity. That passion fueled me to start my own design firm back in 2008 and I am happy to say that I still bring the same enthusiasm to each new project we take on. and I still get that adrenaline rush when we complete a project and the client is happy. My design firm is a boutique branding agency that specializes in working with luxury brands, startups, companies in hospitality, real estate and other design-centric industries. We specialize in corporate brand identity, logo design, e-commerce, website design, signage, product packaging, sales collateral, digital marketing and advertising. Our clients, are mostly startups and medium-sized businesses looking to brand or rebrand themselves to stay current and add value to their brands. I feel what sets us apart is our signature, understated, elegant simplicity that lends itself to a sophisticated, luxury aesthetic.
We are proud to have partnered with a wide array of clients, ranging from an Oscar® winning company to a one man carpenter shop. We will work with you if we believe in your cause and raison d’être. We feel good design makes the world a better place and we wake up everyday hoping to contribute to that ideal.
How did you build your audience on social media?
Social media has the word “social” in its name. To me what that means is, you share things that you would share over casual conversation with your friends in real life. You share snippets of your life that you feel are interesting to your social circle without bragging or selling anything. That’s always my criteria when it comes to building your audience. Before I post anything, I ask myself, if I was in a social casual setting with my closest friends, would I share this with them? Would I show them this photo of this sunset I took the other day. No one wants to hang out with a show off or a car salesman. Authenticity is always key to gaining and maintaining a following. People will continue to follow you only if you talk the talk. And by the same token, if you want to complain and vent online, great! I am sure you will find people that would appreciate your rants. As long as you are consistent in your postings then you will find a following. The good thing about social media is you can be yourself and let the chips fall where they may.
What do you find most rewarding about being a creative?
Being able to bring my own personal perspective to any project I undertake and see it come to fruition. Paying attention the process itself and enjoying it throughout. Its’a always so rewarding to create something from scratch that is appreciated by your clients and everyone else involved. Getting paid for it, is just the cherry on top.