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Tom, thank you for the opportunity to introduce myself to your readers! My name is Grant Friedman and I’m a graphic and web designer from Louisville, Kentucky USA. In college, I studied a variety of topics from political science, to computer science; from web design, to advertising. Some people call it the “7 year plan”, I would say that it wasn’t much of a plan, more like a reality TV version of Van Wilder but without all the parties and interesting dialogue. After all that time, I finally settled on a degree in telecommunications, graduated and went looking for a job.
After a bit of searching, I accepted a position working in the Kentucky Governor’s Office. I worked as the Governor’s graphic and web design guy. Essentially, I was responsible for managing several state websites under the Governor’s Office’s control as well as the design of any materials such as newsletters, brochures, invitations, or anything else my coworkers could think up. I really enjoyed that job! I had a corner office in the Capitol Building with a giant window overlooking the main entrance to the building. It felt great to serve the people in that way but since I was a political appointee, my job was tied to the Governor and unfortunately he was not re-elected. That meant that after 2 years I was back on the job hunt.
It’s been a little over a year since I left government and I still haven’t found a full-time position. To pay the bills, I’ve been freelancing, blogging and enjoying the perks of working from home although I am looking for full-time positions again. If anyone is looking, *ahem* I’m available!
My interest in design started during college when I purchased my first computer. At the time, email was still a relatively new phenomenon and everyone wanted to be online, even though most people didn’t seem to know why. It was at this time, an organization I was involved with decided that they too wanted to start using the Internet to communicate so I volunteered to figure out how to send emails to multiple recipients and start sending out a weekly newsletter to our members. Not long after that I decided that I wanted to make my emails look better. That’s when I discovered design and after that, I was hooked.
It didn’t take long for me to take an interest in web and then graphic design. I actually learned graphic design on Macromedia Fireworks; a great program that I still use for web design.
Today, I consider myself a design enthusiast. I love all things design related and am interested in it all, even though at times I wonder how the heck people do some of the work that they do.
I really do love creating design resources. Creating patterns, brushes and textures can be challenging and a lot of work; so it’s really important that you actually love creating them. Otherwise, you’d go crazy.
I’m inspired by a lot of things. You can find a lot of inspiration online but I’ve found that the best inspiration can be found in daily life either watching television, walking the dog or by browsing department stores. I’ve learned to bring a camera with me or a pad of paper to write down or take pictures of items that inspire me.
While I loved my job in government, it wasn’t your typical design job and the Capitol Building wasn’t exactly an ideal setting for spurring creativity. I really started to improve as a designer after I left my position in government and started following design blogs.
Some of my favorite sites to follow are PSDTUTS, VECTORTUTS, Smashing Magazine, Bittbox, DesignM.ag, and Go Media. There are really tons of great design sites out there but I tend to check with those sites the most.
Thanks Tom! I appreciate that! I’ve found Twitter to be an amazing resource. In fact, it’s the best networking tool that I’ve ever used. I’ve really enjoyed connecting to other designers and learning more about my site’s visitors. When you freelance and work from home, it can be tough because you rarely make contact with other people. Twitter makes it a bit easier.
It’s funny that you ask that. I have some really big plans for Colorburned. In the near future I am planning to launch a re-design as well as to expand the site to include other authors. I am also in the process of writing a book on retro style graphics. The book should be published some time later this year.
The best advice that I can give isn’t necessarily design related but it could also be applied. Never under value yourself. In life, the difference between successful and unsuccessful people can often be the way in which those people value their time and ideas. The most successful people put a high value on their time and ideas. So make sure that you present yourself as a competent and valuable resource, if you do, others will take notice.
You can check out more of Grant’s work at his awesome blog, ColorBurned.com
Tom is the founder of PSDFAN. He loves writing tutorials, learning more about design and interacting with the community. On a more interesting note he can also play guitar hero drunk with his teeth.
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