Hey Meg! When did you know you were meant to be a creative?
Even though I’ve been extraordinarily creative my whole life, I didn’t have the self-esteem to confidently identify myself as a creative until I was 25. Looking back through my life I know I’ve been destined to be a creative. The through-line that’s driven my life from childhood to present time has been making people feel good whether it’s creating experiences, starting small businesses, or making them laugh. The natural skillset I have allows me to make people feel good in a way that comes across creatively through design, videos, podcasts, and writing. So, hot dog I guess I am meant to be a creative!
What is your favourite design discipline and why? How can young designers find out theirs?
Uh oh! This is a hard one for me. I’m not sure if I can choose a favorite because I love change and truly enjoy doing a little bit of everything. I’ve manipulated the system into saying that my favorite discipline is “Experience Design” which means creating full experiences for people in a way that could be brand design + web, brand design + event design + web, business structure + brand strategy + social media campaigns, and so on. Looking through that lens (framing everything as being the potential opportunity to create an incredible experience for humans) is empowering to me. Everything has potential and nothing needs to be boring anymore. I love it!
I encourage most designers to allow themselves to grow and change throughout their career. Try your hardest to not latch onto one discipline and assume it’s your forever career. What happens when you get burnout or stop loving it as much as you used to? Knowing that you can change, adapt, and adopt new disciplines is exciting and liberating!
Try your hardest to not latch onto one discipline and assume it’s your forever career.
Do you think young designers should try to learn many disciplines or focus on mastering a single one?
I don’t have a strong opinion on this! I see people being fulfilled with both directions and I think it’s an opportunity for each individual to look internally and study what lifestyle makes them feel best. My only advice is to not get hung up on the way other people operate. If you see a lot of successful designers perfecting one discipline, don’t feel like you need to do the same. Learn enough about yourself to feel confident with what works for you.
What is your creative process? Do you think young designers should have a set of processes or go with the flow?
I’m always looking for those empowering moments when I come to the realization that, I am the only person who can accomplish this task in a very specific way due to my personality and skillset, and people want and need it right now. It gives me the drive I need to stop comparing myself and work to others and allows me to look inward and become inspired by myself. I think creative processes are what we as creative humans need to be individualistic in our craft and I totally encourage everyone to have their own unique process that works for them. The goal with a process is to make the best work while challenging and growing our own selves. That goal can be attained in an infinite number of ways and everyone is so beautifully different.
The goal with a process is to make the best work while challenging and growing our own selves.
How do you get inspired?
I tend to have my epiphanies while I’m traveling by myself! I love solo travel as it allows me to not be distracted by others, takes me out of my comfort zone, and gives me a fresh brain space away from the usual thoughts running in circles through my mind. Solo travel gives me the most opportunities to try something new and since I’m alone I have to try that new thing with just me! Being a little scared and enjoying a brand new sensory experience with no one to process it with but myself allows my brain to go into a magical mode where I create new ideas and have new epiphanies about my life, my work, and the world at large. It’s magic!
What would your dream young designer portfolio be?
Something that looks like such a true reflection of that designer’s personality and skillset that it looks unlike anything else I’ve ever seen! Full of personality and a fresh take on design that looks so reflective of who they are. I’ll be automatically magnetized to their incredible individualism!
My dream young designer portfolio would be full of personality and a fresh take on design that looks so reflective of who they are.
What is the most important thing to know about design in your opinion?
Everything we do in the design world is a total construct! Most of the rules we follow and patterns we use were just made up by some humans a while back and everyone else has been doing the same thing ever since. This fact is incredibly energizing to me as it makes me think, What the heck am I doing this for? Am I doing this because it’s what I want to be doing or am I doing it because society is arbitrarily trending in this direction? It helps call me to action and remember that I can do things in a way unlike anyone else and that’s okay.
How can young designers get their first internship/job?
Meet as many people IRL as possible and make friends (not networking contacts) with as many of them as you can. Discuss what makes you excited and what kind of work you’d love to be doing. If you can get as many people cheerleading for you as possible, you’re easier to land a job rooted in positivity, interest in what makes you unique, and in line with what you want to actually be doing.
Meet as many people IRL as possible and make friends (not networking contacts) with as many of them as you can.
Do you have any tricks you would have loved your young-self to know?
Ask for the things you want! Sending pitch proposals to brands and events actually gets you the work you want. I used to think it was a sign of weakness or failure to reach out and“beg” companies for opportunities. But, now I realize that it’s saving them time and energy of finding collaborators and helps spread awareness of the services I offer. Today, I send speaking proposals to conferences, workshop proposals to events and companies, and little collaboration pitches to brands I love. Sure I get a “No thanks!” sometimes, but I get a heck of a lot more “Yes!” than I would if I didn’t send the dang pitch!
Do you have any favourite books/resources you would have loved to read when you were younger to help boost your creative career?
My favorite resources have been conversations with other creatives. Asking them what they do in various situations and how they handle certain issues has been invaluable to me. Heck, sometimes if I mention my rate to someone they let me know, “Hey Meg, just FYI, you can charge more than that in San Francisco!”. Sharing knowledge and making friends is the most valuable resource I’ve had throughout my career.
My favorite learning resources have been conversations with other creatives.
To wrap up, do you have a favourite quote? How is it relative to your creative career?
“At the moment I happen to be a filmmaker, but that’s not my job. My job is to express myself and to share my ideas and my point of view.”
I’ve been thinking a lot about something my favorite director Taika Waititi (director of Jojo Rabbit, Thor: Ragnarok, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, What We Do in the Shadows) said in an old Ted Talk. Taika said, “At the moment I happen to be a filmmaker, but that’s not my job. My job is to express myself and to share my ideas and my point of view.” It’s something I’ve been thinking about my own career but didn’t have the confidence to think it out loud until Taika validated it for me. My own work spans so many forms of media. Client design work, podcasts, videos, books, shared workspaces, IRL events, and workshops. Yes, everything is designed nicely because I have that skill. But, my job isn’t Graphic Designer. My job is to make the world a happier place and I can utilize so many of my skills to take care of that job in so many ways.
Anything you want to promote or plug?
Keep an eye on my social media (@darngooood) as I navigate through the next year. I’ll be launching new workshops, a couple of new podcasts, and a lot of exciting events and announcements. This next year is going to be my biggest yet and I can’t wait to share everything with you!