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Graphic Design Advice – Interview with Professional Designer, Mark Valenzuela

What inspires a graphic designer? How do they come up with some of the creative images we see every day on websites and emails or any type of business advertisement? For anyone starting out or even a seasoned design expert, we can all learn new things by picking the brains of other graphic artists and swap some of their secrets and sources for inspiration.

We spoke with Mark Valenzuela, Web Design Manager at Next Day Flyers to get a little information on him and insight on the graphic design world.

1. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’ve been doing graphic design for over 10 years. Ever since I was introduced to graphic design, I have been obsessed with trying to learn everything I could in web, print, photography and video.

I’m currently a web design manager at Next Day Flyers. Besides working at NDF, I have my own freelance business and run a music production blog where I provide free music and design tutorials. Plus I contribute to this blog.

2. What are some projects have you created?

Websites

Print

Logos

3. What is your design process?

Every project is different, so I don’t have one standard process. Sometimes I see something that inspires me – other times I have to go out and find it. I get inspiration from all types of sources: web, print, video, magazines and more. After I find that inspiration, I try to sketch those ideas out on paper. Then I begin mocking it up in Photoshop.

4. What are some of your design essentials?

5. What tips do you have for anyone who wants to succeed as a graphic designer?

Learn everything. One of my career goals has been to be very independent and learn everything that I can. I pride myself in not being an expert in any one thing, but being well versed at a lot of different things. This way when you present yourself to a company you can list a broad range of expertise – rather than just being good at print, for example. With the ever changing face of marketing, and therefore design, versatility is key.

6. Can you recommend some methods for designers to get new clients?

I highly recommend starting a blog and updating it regularly to help build traffic and make a name for yourself. Write a few articles, promote your work, and I’m sure you will find all types of people interested in your services. I get good traffic flow on my blog so when I want more projects I just throw up a banner and at times I get more clients than I can handle. Also, you can get a lot of clients through word-of-mouth, and from referrals. It’s always good to keep those contacts to help spread the word about you and your services.

7. What is one of the biggest mistakes you see in graphic designs?

One big mistake I see often is too much going on in a design. I see a lot of graphic design projects that may look nice, but the design actually takes away from the information you are trying to display. I think it is important and necessary to find a clear balance between a nice design that will stand out, yet still highlight that clear clean message so it’s not hard for the customer to read. Clean design is a must.

8. Anything else you would like to share with the design community?

Technology is always changing and it’s vital to keep up. If you don’t, others will. The more you know the more valuable are. There are so many blogs online that supply tons of information, which make it easy to learn, and on your own schedule. Push yourself creatively and try to always have fun.

More Links

1. Mark’s Freelance Design Business – NewIceMedia.com
3. Mark’s Music Blog/ design and music tutorials: HipHopMakers.com

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12 thoughts on “Graphic Design Advice – Interview with Professional Designer, Mark Valenzuela

  1. I love NDF! But why are you guys featuring one of your own? No offense Mark but your not a good designer. Why not highlight someone from a real agency that has worked with fortune 500 companies. Nike, Samsung, Coke, Pepsi, American Express. I can name 50 agencies plus that will destroy anything mark has done. Why not feature an interview with top designers from BBDO or Lambesis Agency. Some Agency sites would include

    bbdo.com
    lambesis.com
    hydro74.com
    endurodesign.com
    soupgrapix.com

    Once again no offense mark but you are a web designer not a graphic-campaign designer.

    Just my opinion

    ME

  2. Thanks for the great article… I completely agree with #7, something I’ve been telling mentoring designers for some time. I think it takes a certain level of experience before new artists can get past their own artistic discovery (the fun part) and center their focus on the goals of the client.

  3. Mark,

    this is an excellent piece of information you’ve given. You are an inspiration and a blessing, Much more success in your endevour, Great interview.

    Thanks
    prince

  4. Thanks to everyone who left a comment

    @ fasteddie818ag
    Sorry, I don’t know how to avoided getting stressed as a graphic designer. I think its a way of life. You just have to learned to shake off the frustration.

    @ joe designer
    Thanks for taking the time to let us know how you feel. Your message was funny and made my day. I didn’t know by me doing this interview I would get people wanting to have a graphic design battle with me. Your funny. Go battle someone else. I have work to do.

    @ Prince
    Thanks for the support

  5. That was very inspirational. I am a graphic artist too and I quite agree with you that one needs to learn everything. That’s where I am now: learning, learning and learning.
    Thanks.

  6. Hi Mark, I am by no means a professional designer, I like creating things for people and have worked around the business in the past which is how I got hooked. I do not even know how to use photoshop yet. Do you think classes are better or self teaching. I have a friend who was a barber and he is all self taught check out his site : dsuave.com Your interview was inspiring because I would like to step things up. Do you think it is important to also take classes in sketching or have some sort of artistic background? I do not agree with Mr. Joe Designer(somehow he has seen all of your work in order to judge you right?)….maybe he is so caught up in his own designs that he cannot see that when creating for others sometimes simple is better and that you must leave self out of it, put the client’s needs first. Thanks for the information given it was very helpful wish me luck. I love this site!
    Sunshine

  7. Hi Sonia,

    I think there are benefits to going to school and also learning on your own. When learning on your own you can go at your own pace, you will learn different things that wont be taught in school, and you can learn exactly what you want and need to know instead a lot of information you don’t care for.

    As far as taking sketching classes, I think it all depends on what you’re trying to do. I sketch out my ideas because I will forget an idea as fast as it came to me. So many times I need that visual reference.

    I don’t think school is bad, it just wasn’t for me. There are many times I wish I went to school when I’m frustrated with getting stuff done. But at the same time, I think over the years I have developed the skills to go out and research things and get the task done no matter the project.

    If you want to learn at your own pace to see if you are really interested in graphic design. I would recommend going to http://www.lynda.com/ . They have hours of videos that will teach you a lot in almost any topic of design. Its also good to go to the book store and get a book on what your trying to learn.

    If I can do it, anyone can do it with a little hard work.

    Good luck

  8. I’ve purchased a business card template from Mark V recently and I was very impressed by the quality and also the great low price. I was fortunate enough to come across his website HIPHOPMAKERS.COM and find this service.

    Keep up the good work!

  9. I LOVE YOUR WORK MARK V. WISH THERE WASENT SO MANY JEALOUS HATERS IN THE WORLD. PEOPLE SHOULDNT BE MAD BECAUSE THEY INTERVIEWED MARK, THEY SHOULD BE MAD THAT THE WORK THEY ARE DOING IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH TO MAKE THEM STAND OUT.
    GOOD LUCK IN THE FUTURE MARK AND KEEP BEING CREATIVE AND POSITIVE.

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