brand strategist


Individuals who have shaped my approach to creativity

Individuals who have shaped my approach to creativity

Individuals who have shaped my approach to creativity




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Read Article

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Design sits between the culture and the corporate feat. James Horwitz

Discover some of the key individuals who have shaped my approach to creativity and further fostered my passion for creating impactful designs. From friends and mentors to industry professionals, their guidance and influence have been instrumental in my career.

01 The Crew

I’m extremely fortunate to have kept a tight-knit group of friends after undergrad. Every journey is influenced by those who inspire us. With the lessons we learn with ourselves in our journey, we can equally learn a lot from the people that we've allowed access into our lives.

What I’ve realized, though, is that the experiences I have with my friends carry a lot more weight than I often recognize. They are a significant source of inspiration and growth for me.

Whether it's brainstorming late into the night, sharing creative feedback, or simply having meaningful conversations, my friends have played a crucial role in shaping my perspective and approach to my work. Even the casual hangouts and random discussions have sparked some of my best ideas.

Believe it or not, my friends aren't all designers. They're rocking their own careers in different fields, and interestedly enough, I often pick up more about design from them than I do from my end. It's pretty neat.

Stanley Kubrick & William Sylvester on the set of "2001: A Space Odyssey", 1968

We're a badass group. We all contribute to each other's growth, whether through career advice, moral support, or simple sharing life experiences. All while constantly pushing ourselves to grow both personally and professionally.

02 Inside Look at Designing Outside the Box

I've been working on a lot lately, especially design-wise. From creating cool projects and talking with amazing people to diving into self-initiated work and building products, it's been a great change of pace from prior months. I'm also learning to write and really aiming to evolve my design career as a whole. I think, right now at least, I'm just going with whatever sounds fun. I'm learning a lot from that honestly.

But I hadn't always moved like that. In college, the norm is often to adhere strictly to design rules. Many of these 'rules' tend to be professors' opinions.

My perspective on the design world shifted significantly during my senior show at SHSU, just a week before graduating. Rachel Rothberg, Design Director at Houston-based design studio, MWM, proved a crucial lesson that I had seen myself betting on at times before: break the rules.

‘A Dangerous Idea’, John Kitching, Photograph, 2020

The fewer people you follow and the fewer rules you adhere to in design, the greater potential your designs have to stand out. Innovation in design really takes off when you break away from the usual norms and try out new creative paths. This kind of freedom leads to fresh, authentic designs that really connect with people.

It's about daring to challenge the status quo and paving your own path towards originality and excellence in design.

03 People in Hell want Ice Water

There’s something so fun about not reaching the goal yet. Knowing you’re in that phase of doing grunt work before the real deal. This time is, of course, only deemed fun when you’re no longer in it.

For me, staying stagnant has never been an option. There's always been this drive to seek out new knowledge, new skills, new ways to challenge myself beyond my comfort zone, constantly pushing boundaries and discovering areas where I can grow as a designer and as a person.

'Lessons I've Learned About Design and Life', Gio Prado, 2023

Moreover, finding joy in learning is crucial. Approaching challenges with curiosity and embracing failures as stepping stones will always be the main factor of anyone's growth. By maintaining this mindset, I not only stay motivated but also find fulfillment in the continuous pursuit of improvement.

Antonio "Tony" Montana, Scarface, 1983

And I’m still working. I’m still learning. I’m still living. Everything is always in forward motion, it just doesn’t always look the way I think it’s going to. There’s a certain satisfaction in that.