9 lessons from brand stratagist Douglas Davis

Douglas Davis is a graphic designer and creative strategist. In this podcast, he opens up to Chris Do about learning graphic design with little resources and growing wealth and happiness. The 5 key take aways I got from this podcast were:

1) Have hobbies besides graphic design.

Douglas Davis has to have at least 3 outlets for creativity and so does teaching, for example, besides his business. These hobbies feed in to his creativity by giving him a fresh outlook away from his work.

2) Live the life that you would live if you had 5000 dollars or a billion.

Despite being a succesful graphic designer and more than financially stable, Douglas Davis advises to live the life you want to live. That way, regardless of the financial outcome, you will be happy. However, if you do what you love relentlessly, money will follow. 

3) If you want to pursue a career in art and design, you must be able to understand others. Listen. It is vital that you willingly want to hear businessmen/people who have different points of view irrespective or not you share others opinions. Then, you can understand how others think

3) Share what you learn. Designer solves communication design problems but they also teach. Share knowledge. It is vital to share what you learn. Besides just being morally right, sharing what you learn nurtures connections with others that may help you in the future.

4) Cultivate your relationships. Call your mentors and see how they are doing. Have comprehensive and complete relationships with people that are outside just business talk. Don’t just call your mum when you need 5 dollars. Call her when you don’t need anything. Sometimes life will humble you – it’s how you react to that, but it’s a lot easier if you have a network of people looking out for you!


5) Learn business – in the graphic design world, this is known as ‘brand strategy’. It is, in the words of Douglas Davis, the ‘Basis of winning.’ Language you should use to sell creativity. Know about marketing objectives, and differentiation strategies companies need to hit. After all, that is why they are hiring you.

6) A poor work man blames his tools. You can learn graphic design without paying enormous tuition fees so don’t blame how your creative career is going on lack of money. It’s not about money. Where are the tools that you need and are you serious enough about learning them? Go to libraries, go online, borrow equipment if needed.

7) Question the answers that the clients come to you with. Often, the client has a strong idea, or preliminary plan, which they want help to implement but question it. Is everything that the client tell you still relevant?

8) Design is about making something beautiful and effective. To be a truly great designer, you must be able to marry both. If you stay in aesthetic lane, you will probably need someone to do the business part. Don’t disregard the strategic business!

9) Use social media platforms to know client needs. If clients are focussing on attracting young people to their product or service, know social media platforms that young people are using, such as Snapchat. Start learning from their perspective. 

Hope that helps!

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