Last evening, the Central PA AIGA chapter was honored to host Timothy Goodman at the Pennsylvania Academy of Art and Design in Lancaster. Bringing his career experiences and audacity to the podium, he shared some insights on going with your gut, being creative, and making a career out of it. There were about 100 creatives registered for the event, and it was a nicely set up venue for the talk. Timothy was gracious enough to sign his work that people brought or bought on-site, and the merch sold out.
Timothy talked about his brief stint at Apple, and how he took the position even with a little hesitation about the “correct” direction in his career. It was a good lesson on trying new things. I feel that it’s important to take risks like this sometimes, even if only for further validation.
One of the points he makes that I feel strongly about, is about making design a practice, not just a profession. Just thinking of it this way can open doors of creativity. An example he used was lettering well-known quotes and lyrics. While they may get you lots of familiar likes on Instagram initially, they don’t carry your own insights and uniqueness as much as opening up and crafting your own words may. Writing is how all of Timothy’s work seems to start, from his days of writing about himself for scholarships. I think this was another unique point, because as many others with great web exposure believe, it all starts with writing.
Take away: Write, and create what you would like to experience. Journal.
Some of the ways Timothy has put together personal work into published formats was inspirational. I think a lot of creative people dive into projects that mean a lot to them, but hesitate to share publicly or even think about getting them out of their head in the first place. One of his experiments (40 Days of Dating with Jessica Walsh) grew into a website/blog from journal entries. From that, it grew into a very dense verbal and illustrative book, and is being considered for a movie by Warner Brothers. The experiment has grown their names way outside of the design industry, which I don’t think happens enough. Also his book Sharpie Art Work Shop came about similarly from experimenting and then building a resource. I think the motivation to create from our own heads and souls was a big take away from the talk, but I personally am trying to apply a broader distribution of projects to my own now.
Take away: Document your work. You never know what you may do with it later.
We as designers have a wonderful opportunity to curate and communicate. Getting away with whatever we design into a career is a unique pathway we can choose only by getting ourselves out there.
I appreciate Timothy’s humor, his insights on the rarity of sumo wrestlers in the US, and his hand lettered x-heights. Thanks to the AIGA for bringing such talent all together!
For more on Timothy's Career, I recommend a listen to his latest interview by Debbie Millman on the Design Matters podcast.
His website, which showcases what he's gotten away with is at TGoodman.com.