My Graphic Designer Story

by Marcello, M.
(Austin, TX, USA)

First off, I love graphic design. I can sit in photoshop, illustrator, inDesign for hours and create and layout stuff for just about anything. When I was a little kid I loved to draw, then it turned into a love for photoshop.

So, I went to college to get an education that would ensure a more secure financial future. I got my AA in Graphic Design in 06, and had a really cool job working in a newspaper printing press. Then a few months later I landed a job working for a publisher of custom magazines.

While there, I designed everything from soup-to-nuts that a small business could need; besides the advertisements and magazine covers/layouts. I learned so much on this job!

I learned how to deal with clients through proofing and how to work along with the sales department. I was pretty bogged down with work, all 40 hours of every week. No breaks and no days where you can just play around on the internet.

Those are nice sometimes, other times they’re misery. But nonstop work isn’t good either, especially when you’re working for someone else.

--It just burns you out!--

Next, I decided to move along to something better (well, I thought). I got a job with a small retail audio chain store. There I designed signage, window posters, huge wall banners, billboard size stuff. Also a lot of postcards, handouts and doo-dads.

That job was the most stressful of all my past workplace assignments. They are insane in the retail business sector. Everything has to be done before they even ask you to do it.

Maybe it was just the company I was in. I thought the first company was stressful, yet this place made that one look like heaven.

So then the economy gets real bad. I moved to the East coast and now (then) I’m out of a job...and what do I do? Well, thankfully I had a side business of selling stock graphics and eventually came back to Texas -- where I have no health insurance (yet), and no benefits. But hey – I'm getting by.

It’s a scary thing -- losing your job. If you guys can learn one thing from my story it’s this:

*Have a backup plan and don’t rely just on the unemployment checks you’ll get for 6 months or so if you lose your job.

*Have another skill or trade, or even a freelancing strategy. It’s scary when you have a rent or mortgage to pay, and no hope in sight.

Anyways, that’s why I’m no longer a "traditional" designer. I still design stuff all the time, but with stock it’s a heck of a lot more generic. I have to keep things simple, too, otherwise if it’s too specific it just won’t sell.

Do I miss working with picky clients; working with a boss over my shoulder? Definitely not.

I really don’t have any desire to ever work in a corporate setting again, either. It’s just too hectic, and too stressful compared to working on your own. I think I’d rather have less stress, even if it means making less money. Others might disagree.

I turn away people approaching me all the time, because every business has a need for some type of design work. I just enjoy designing the generic way, through stock images.

It gives me a relative amount of creative freedom (obviously you need to shoot or design concepts that people are going to be able to actually want). The only time I have to deal with another human being is when I am doing a photoshoot or some kind of payment or account issue arises with one of my agencies.

It’s really great! Thanks for listening!

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Feb 24, 2011
RE: Selling Stock -- Feedback to Cathy
by: Marcello


If that is your passion (stock photography), I would be open minded to freelancing. Given the acquisitions that have taken place in the last few years, there are very few companies of any significant size left in the market that deal in stock photography.

I believe that the Internet has made it so much easier for customers to find an image that they can use in large databases.

And to quickly complete the transaction, the number of direct sales from photographer-to-customer has dropped dramatically from what it was 10 to 15 years ago.


Feb 23, 2011
Note to Cathy
by: Publisher,

I will email the Graphic Design article writer and ask him to post a reply to your inquiry. Thanks for your posted question. ~Publisher

Feb 22, 2011
Selling Stock
by: Cathy

This question is for the writer of this article...can you give any advice or tips on how you get into the stock photo industry??? I have made attemtps over the years and would love to seriously focus on.

Any suggestions that you may have would be great!!!

Jan 02, 2011
A Very Honest Graphic Design Story
by: Publisher

Thanks for sharing your professional story of the highlights of your career. Your story reminds me of a Proverb:

"Sometimes, me thinks it best I know not what lies ahead!" ~Unknown

Best to you with the road that lies ahead...Publisher,

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