Don't mind me, Im just a Well-Dressed Cyclops

Job hunting as a senior graphic designer with strong illustration skills has been an interesting experience…I kind of feel like a well-dress cyclops; a slick outfit, highly experienced and yet I may not fit in with the common villagers, lol! See, I happen to be in an amazing zone between to worlds, think of it as an island between two very large continents yet this island floats…and has parties…and four-legged Fridays, lol! The worlds of corporate design and illustration are different but not contradictory.

As a designer I spent 11 years working in a corporate, in-house marketing department and it was great! But, just like a character with an alter-ego, at night and on the weekend I would come home and create other worlds and characters that would fill them. These tales and images would fill sketchbooks and scratch paper and give me ample opportunities to exercise my imagination. Then, in the morning I would walk away from the house with the drafting table and into a busy office to design catalogs, brochures and instruction sheets or draw storyboards for a promo we were concepting. Like Batman, I liked to heroically take on my personal projects, but Bruce Wayne payed for the toys, lol!

Did these seemingly different world contest each other, nope, I believe I am actually a much stronger designer because I still flex these muscles, even when at home. I still work through page layouts, except the ones at home have monsters on them. I still plot stories and those tales still follow the same structure a presentation at the office would need to keep audiences engaged. The skills needed for success in the corporate world overlap with so many areas of traditional art. The world needs and demands aesthetically pleasing correspondence from brands and companies and they have grown to expect a beautiful fusion of communication and craft. That requires thoughtful designers with deep understanding of marketing, a knowledge of the powers of brand and the technical skills to create that work for the modern market. Lofty goals yes, but not impossible and for those whom are doing the hiring of those roles I want to bring you hope!

Please do not fear that an artistic designer has no dedication to the corporate environment and career. I feel like many companies and recruiters are afraid that the artsy people in their application pool or portfolio slush pile are not great prospects. Maybe they are concerned the applicant would just be waiting to jump ship for the next traveling craft show (kind of like joining the circus for artists, lol!) or a start-up that needs illustrated Powerpoints to sell the coolest teal widget ever! Yes, we get excited about creative opportunities, but we are also able to balance our emotions with logic. Corporate design, both within an agency and in-house, are *amazing* opportunities and they provide things that we creative types desire so strongly; stability and security. I was able to go home and pull out that sketchbook or get behind the screen and try, fail and succeed on the hair-brained ideas I would get (like The Well-dressed Cyclops, haha!) because I knew that during the day I had a company whom needed my services to create collateral that would communicate and share product in an attractive way.

Knowing I had the full time career meant that I had the flexibility to take risks in my personal art and the stability of my family and my household would not be at risk. It would be foolish for me not to appreciate that and risk it all on a whim to chase rock painting...at least until I was great at it, like some kind of "Quartz-casso"!

My goal is to speak for hopefully more artists who are both wonderfully skilled at traditional crafts and are super talented designers, art directors and creative leaders. We do our best to mix our love of creating art with the needs of companies who must have professional collateral and product outreach. When you see our portfolios, absolutely look for well-done page layouts, clever campaigns and powerful logos, we must be able to meet your positions' professional needs and expertise. That should never by bypassed. Yet, don’t think less of us if we have two or three pages in there of space alien characters who live on a planet that eats moon-sized cookies or a meditating robot thrown in for fun. We aren’t trying to insult the intelligence of the role you are working to fill, we are trying to share how clever we can be. How we can tell stories with more than words alone and how seriously we take composition and design. We can be the best of both worlds and that just may be what your company needs.

In closing, here is my hopeful message to recruiters and HR managers, fear not, invite us in! We’ll add character to your cubicles, magic to your memos and having a classically trained bard will always spruce up the boardroom!
Thank you for your time!
Derrick
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Derrick Utz is much of the story above and more. He is a north Texas creative with experience in many professional projects ranging from product catalogs to business cards, seasonal rebranding and social media. He has had the amazing opportunity to work with a wonderful variety of freelance clients enabling him to serve an online school and to also work with a non-profit who’s goal is to educate the youth of the nation about their Constitution and Bill of Rights.
He is blessed to be surrounded by a wonderful wife, two crazy amazing kiddos, 4 dogs, a cat and 2 sugar gliders.....and whatever bugs the baby girl decides to bring home that day. He is committed to being a strong asset in a company and to their teams and he is available today to discuss how he can do this for your brand and clients. You can see his work and yes, even his illustrations, here at www.derrickutz.com!

Now reach out and say "hi!" Let me get to know you and if the article spoke to you, please share it with others you know. Let the recruiters know you are serious and the other artists know they are supported. You are all amazing and I appreciate you!


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