I am a 20 year old self-taught brand and user interface designer in Pasadena, CA. I started learning design about 6 years ago and began freelancing shortly after.
When I was fifteen, I was offered a scholarship to attend SCAD in Atlanta, GA. This was a great opportunity since it was not too far from where I spent most of my childhood, but I decided not to take it because my family was moving west to California. Instead, I continued to learn on my own. Not long after I got out to California, I was fortunate enough to meet another designer. I set up an appointment to meet him at a coffee shop, and he gave me some pointers on my portfolio. Since I had recently begun freelancing, my portfolio wasn't too extensive, and he was able to critique every design I had. That helped so much, and from then on, I've just been constantly improving.
Between living in Georgia and California, my family spent just over a year going all around the country... twice... in an RV. During that time, my mom homeschooled me and my two brothers, and I decided that rather than sitting around on our long treks that I would double-up on my school work. I decided to combine my junior and senior year of high school so I graduated at sixteen in May 2016. After that summer, I began studying Pastoral Ministry at a Bible college in Lancaster, CA. I started a week after turning seventeen.
After being at Bible college for a year and a half, I took a semester off to help out my dad with his church in Pasadena. During that time, I hit a massive creative wall, and I couldn't get around it. So I decided to take a break from freelancing and dropped by a local design agency, Farm Design. I wanted to see if they would be open to hiring me as an intern. Within days, I got the internship. I spent almost six months interning with Farm, and I learned so much in my time there. By putting what I learned into practice, I really feel that I owe a lot of how I've grown in my skill since the internship with them.
After my internship there, I went back to freelancing, and I quickly received way more work than I could handle on my own so I began hiring freelancers. Next thing I knew, I had a team and a ton of work coming in. That's when I decided to start Goodname Design. My freelance success carried through, but one day, I was having lunch with a mentor who really got me thinking. At the time, I was 19. My days were spent taking client calls, writing proposals and invoices, doing payroll... at 19. It sucked. I wasn't doing what I really wanted to be doing, and because a lot of my clients were small churches, I wasn't making what I needed to be making or paying my freelancers as much as I knew they deserved. Because of these factors and others, I decided to leave my agency and look for a full-time job with a great team where I can continue to grow my skills.