Monthly Artist Feature (November 2018) – Brian Lawrence

Artist’s Name: Brian Lawrence

Name of Brand: Brilawren Creative

Artist’s Age: 27 Years

Artform: Graphic Design

Why do you do what you do? When did you realize a passion for what you do?

My interest in graphics was piqued when I was in high school and I saw some of my friends at the time showing off their designs from Photoshop, and I thought it was cool. It wasn’t ‘till I got to university that I actually learned how to design and found that I had not just an interest but a genuine love for really good visual design. I honestly started designing because I thought graphics looked cool and I wanted to try my hand at making something that was visually epic. Funny enough, before I even opened Photoshop for the first time I didn’t think I could design anything at all. But over time, after I started, I developed this love for communication and expression in a more digital sphere and I just really love making visuals that look great and that people vibe with.

What is your educational background?

I studied computer science at the University of Technology, Jamaica; Project Management at the Mona School of Business & Management; Content Strategy at both the Hubspot Academy and the University of the Commonwealth Caribbean (iCreate Institute); and design and video production and the prestigious

What are some of the challenges that you have faced while trying to pursue your passion?

I have to say, one of the greatest challenges I’ve had as a designer has been establishing my unique creative style. Another, was finding people who would pay for my design services so I could make a living and keep designing without worrying about what I’m eating for dinner later.

Have you encountered people who have been skeptical about your dreams?

Absolutely. From my very own parents and closest friends to strangers at networking events. But as I developed as a designer and businessman I saw the skepticism turn into faith and pride.

How did you initially react to those people and how do you act towards them now?

At first I was very sensitive. I didn’t like criticism or rejection at all. But when you start working in life, especially in a creative field, you learn quickly that feedback in any form is the only way you grow and become great. So now I’m at the point where I welcome it, even ask for the doubt or the critiques, so I can do better work and put some people’s minds at ease.

What are some of the fears that you face even today?

My one major fear is disappointing the people I work with or who are looking to me to be successful, especially my parents. I’ve had this fear since I was fresh out of high school and I hate the looks and comments it brings if it actually does happen.

How do you deal with those fears?

What I’ve found that really works is that I say no to A LOT of projects (the ones that I’m not feeling one hundred percent). I’m also very conscious to under promise and over deliver when I’m giving results to people. That way I’m rarely ever in a position to disappoint anyone.

How do you work? What is the method to your ‘madness’ and how do you filter your creativity?

For starters, I’m up early every day, 6 o’clock to be exact, even on weekends and holidays. I work-out and spend some time with God to set the tone for the day, and then I kind of mentally outline everything that needs to get done. There’s usually only one or two major things I have to do on any given day, and I like to keep it that way. When I’m working on a project I need to be clear on exactly what deliverable I need to get to who and when they need to get it, so I spend a lot of time clearing up a goal or dream and then putting down a plan of action to get it. If I can’t see it clearly or pin even some of the steps to do it then I literally stall, and my brain just shifts to the next thing that catches my attention instead of helping me to be productive. When I’m done with my major tasks I. Am. Done. For. The. Day.

As for my creativity, I’m inspired by a whole host of photographers and filmmakers on YouTube and Instagram, as well as blogs, and books. So you’ll find me on both of those apps a lot, not just leisurely scrolling but mentally archiving cool designs and edits I see, or tactics that I can use in a project. That’s my main source of inspiration and the war chest I draw from when I’m planning or working on anything at all.

What role do you believe “the artist” has in society? / How do you feel your art form has the power to benefit society?

I’ve always admired how artists, in any area, show this extreme and obsessive passion when they’re making their art. It makes you want to get up and do something amazing like them, and I believe society needs more of that to inspire people to action. When it comes to graphics, having the ability to completely draw attention with a single image or a video is powerful, and we can definitely use that kind of power to spread messages that influence people more positively.

Out of all your work, which piece resonates the most with you?

So… This is the first logo I designed… Ever. I know the “VG” stands for “Video Game” but I’m not too sure what the ‘S’ means. I had the idea for a video gaming blog, so I sketched the letters, took a picture of it, then loaded it up and traced it over with the pen tool (it’s clear I didn’t know about fonts and typefaces yet). Even though this logo isn’t the best (it really is terrible) this was the point where I knew I could design whatever I could think up and sketch.

Where do you see yourself going?

My ultimate dream is to run a massive international network of original digital content brands that provides thousands of jobs for (young) people, and gives people a near infinite stream of high quality content to take in. I’ve had this dream since I was in university and I have every intention of making it happen in the fairly near future.

By what terms do you measure success or perfection? When do you feel like you can say that your work is finished and ready to be experienced by others?

When I can look back on a project and learn something from it that will help me grow or improve in some way, then I’m successful. If I don’t learn, then I’m a failure. I believe anything you do can be done better. Not that it wasn’t good before, but people are always finding newer, sleeker and more efficient ways of making things. So, to me, something is done when I’ve produced the result that I wanted, and I can smile when I look at it.

What elements of your career bring you the most stress?

ROUTINE DESIGN WORK. Don’t get me wrong, I love to sit and design or code or edit. But I know I’m a director. I know my best lane on a project is to come up with the initial ideas, guide the entire process, and then help everyone look at the project to see if we hit our mark. If I get stuck doing the grunt design work then I get frustrated and bored.

What is some advice that you would give to anyone who is trying to walk the same path as you?

  1. YouTube and Instagram are your best friends. Don’t just go on them and kill time. Follow people who make things you like looking at so you can get ideas for what to make yourself.
  2. ALWAYS be clear about what it is that you’re supposed to be working on. Whether it’s something for yourself, a client or your boss, if you’re not sure about what you’re making to the point where you can do a rough sketch or mockup that looks very close to it, go back and ask more questions ‘till you can. Trust me, it saves you, and them, time, energy and stress; and,
  3. Make things you enjoy looking at, and don’t make things that bore you or turn you off.

“I’ve always admired how artists, in any area, show this extreme and obsessive passion when they’re making their art. It makes you want to get up and do something amazing like them, and I believe society needs more of that to inspire people to action.”

~ Brian Lawrence