Design Journey | Lindsey Eryn Clark

Whether you’re a fashion junkie, a design lover, or you just enjoy nice people- you will for sure fall in love with Lindsey. Co-founder of the Coast to Coast Challenge, and a graphic designer with some amazing fashion taste- and a huge heart for people, Lindsey is nothing short of a special talent. I was so happy when she agreed to be on Design Journey and tell us all a bit about her inspiring story of how she got to where she is today!

Hello, Hello to all! 
I am Lindsey Eryn Clark. I am a middle child who believes in adventure, dreaming, and taking the road less traveled. This explains why I spent seven years in the middle of Oklahoma. Born and raised in San Diego, I left home at 18 ready to explore the world. Seven years later, I have come full circle and find myself back in the motherland [San Diego]. However, a couple thousand lattes and a million miles later, I am different person than when I left. I am no small dreamer. I believe that as humanity we were created to create, and that we can accomplish anything we set our minds to. I am a humanitarian whose feet long to be on foreign soil, working in the orphanages and red light districts of Cambodia. I am a psychology major who gets giddy over human resources, dreams about hosting events for thousands, and is fascinated by the music industry and all it entails. By day I am a real estate agent, and by night I am a social entrepreneur, a writer, and a designer.

When did you decide you wanted to be a graphic designer?

To be honest, I feel like a series of life events made the decision for me to be a graphic designer more than I did myself. Throughout my time in college I was passionate about several things, two of which included, events and social justice. I was a part of a student led group on campus that hosted a variety of events throughout town in order to bring awareness to some of the world’s greatest injustices. I remember the day and moment distinctly when the idea came to learn graphic design. I was in the process of planning a benefit art show and was waiting for the designer to deliver the poster to promote the event. Well, the waiting never ended. The designer never delivered the design. Scrambling to find someone who knew Photoshop to come to my rescue, I told myself that I was going to learn design so that I wouldn’t have to depend on so many people to get an event promoted!

This experience combined with coming to the harsh reality that I could not draw or paint to save my life led me to the wonderful world of graphic design.

Looking back, I am so glad that the designer never delivered the poster design for my event. It was a divine accident. If he would have delivered the design, I may have never decided to learn graphics. I do not know where I would be today if I did not have design as part of my skill set. Learning graphics was like a domino effect of opportunities. The knowledge of design has empowered me to help others reach their goals, while also helping me achieve my own. This past August I co-founded Coast To Coast Central, a social enterprise that focuses on challenging, inspiring, and empowering women through the use of fashion. Today, not only is the social enterprise boosting the self-esteem and confidence of women around the globe, but it is also working to build a rescue home for victims of sex trafficking in Quito, Ecuador.  

How did you transition from being a student in school to being a designer in the “real world”?

In 2009, I graduated from Oral Roberts University with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology– at that point the extent of my exposure to the world of design was a one-hour lesson over a cup of coffee. Shortly after graduating I decided to intern at a non-profit organization, Go International, that thrived off of creative elements. During my time at the organization, I was exposed to a variety of design and creative styles and had the opportunity to learn from some of the most talented designers in the industry. With a desire to learn and stretch my skill set, I found myself merely watching the other designers work on designs, soaking in how they moved around in the programs and asking a lot of questions along the way. My knowledge in design began to grow, and with it little projects here and there. Working for an organization where everything produced was done “in-house” meant there was a high demand for everyone to pitch in when and where they could. With that said, as my skills developed slowly but surely projects were thrown my way. Project after project, I saw my skills were being stretched and realized that I was being given projects that were beyond my skill set in order to force me to grow as a designer. Thankfully, the scheme of my mentors worked. The combination of projects, constructive critiscm, and diligence to learn presented me with the opportunity to expand my work outside of the organization. The majority of the designers that worked for the organization also doubled as free-lancers. So, when my designer friends found themselves jammed packed with projects they began referring their clients to me. Before I knew it I found myself with a few clients and new projects were always on the rise. My experience with the organization and personal clients proceeded to present me with the opportunity to design for a network of colleges in Tulsa, Oklahoma. For me, transitioning into the real world as a designer was very organic and was one step at a time.

What was your first paid design job?

My first paid design job was a logo and some web-banners for a non-profit start up. While it was not necessarily the most exciting project that I have had the opportunity to work on, it was exciting and thrilling in its own way. You always remember your first client. I was standing in line at the airport when I got the email asking to take on the design project. I was floating on air and my heart soared to the moon and back. While I had been designing pieces for the non-profit, it was exciting to know that someone outside of the organization had taken notice of my work. The project was definitely a learning lesson of sorts, as all first jobs are! While it was not glamorous in anyway, shape, or form – I learned so much from that experience and project.

How have you been able to make a name for yourself in the design community?

One word: Networking!

There are two things that everyone in life needs to learn: people skills and networking!

They go hand in hand, and are key to being successful. I am blessed to say that a number of my closest and dearest friends are some of the most brilliant designers that I have ever encountered. There has definitely been a job or two that I have received because of their referrals. And yes, networking does include social networking. I am a firm believer in social networking and using it as a tool in order to help you achieve your goals. Every now and then I’ll post a design on my social networks – it’s wild how it works, but a number of my clients come from seeing my designs on Facebook or Instagram.

What is one quality you think all designers should have?

Confidence.

There are so many qualities that a designer could and ought to have, but I believe confidence may be the most important. A multitude of skills and qualities that a designer needs can be developed and learned over time, however, confidence is a choice. In any industry, it’s easy to let circumstances get in the way of your confidence. This is especially true when it comes to the arts. As designers and artists we are exposing ourselves, our ideas, our hearts, and our passions in a way that can leave us somewhat vulnerable. It is vital to remain confident in yourself, in your skill set, and in what you have to offer as a designer. Your confidence will always propel you forward. Over the course of time I have seen people and designers dwindle and fall behind not because they lack creativity or knowledge, but because they lack confidence. So with that said, be confident, know that you are good, believe in yourself and your ability to create something brilliant.

What advice would you give to a new graphic designer?

1. Realize that you and your art are unique. Resist comparing yourself to other designers or people; it will paralyze you and your creativity. As humans, we are all different. We see things differently, and experience things differently; therefore our art is unique to us. Embrace your style and your art for what it is. Expose yourself to new styles, but never compare yourself. It is when we begin to compare that we keep ourselves from effectively expressing ourselves.

2. Mess around, explore, experiment. Allow yourself to constantly be inspired! Travel the world, experience new cultures, use your hands, read books… experience life to the fullest. Inspiration is everywhere. It’s merely waiting for you to stumble upon it. The more you experience, the more you can be inspired to create something brilliant.

Find more of the amazing Lindsey here!

Twitter / Instagram: @lindseyeryn

Fashion Blog: www.coasttocoastchallenge.wordpress.com

Personal Blog / Design LookBook: www.thirdstoryapartment.wordpress.com

05. February 2013 by Joanna
Categories: Design Journey | 2 comments

Comments (2)

  1. Lindsey’s story is great! I enjoy that she has a friend base of designers and they all help each other out. It’s great to hear of such camaraderie amongst designers. Thank you for sharing Joanna!

  2. I love what Lindsey had to say and it was exactly what I needed to hear right now as a new graphic designer. I have always spent most of my time comparing my work with others when I have my own style and I shouldn’t be trying to emulate anyone else’s designs. My work style is totally different.

    deemariedesigns.blogspot.com

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