A Designer’s Life – The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Illustrator, graphic designer, handyman, father and husband. At age 32, it seems as though I’ve done it all and seen it all. I’m what some call an “expert level designer.” At least that’s what I check on those day-long Photoshop seminar questionnaire forms. Yet, it doesn’t take long at one of those events – in a room filled with sweater-wearing, fancy domed-cup drinking designers aggressively cradling their iPads – to realize I’ve only just begun to learn about blend modes and layering effects in a sea of limitless creativity.

Twelve years in the industry has undoubtedly shaped who I am. When I was studying the craft of communication art and design, I never thought I’d have a snowball’s chance in hell of seeing this amount of satisfaction come from the little back corner of my right brain. I’ve been cheered and touted in rooms brimming with middle-aged scrapbooking women saying they love what I do and asking for their new product catalogs signed. However, I’ve also been part of national online contests where every bit of my confidence was shredded apart and destroyed by charming comments stating my work is “depressing like the economy.” (Told you it could get ugly.)

One thing that took time to understand is that working with fellow creatives is arguably more rewarding in this field than any other occupation. Creatives have a natural sense of kindness, appreciation and humility. Yeah, we tear apart anyone that hovers over Comic Sans in the character window for a millisecond, but it’s tough love. And, we can’t take ourselves too seriously because let’s face it: the freelance freebie you did for the Lutheran Spaghetti Feed in all caps Papyrus (at the request of the church lady who found out about your abilities) will be forgotten, but not without leaving a little sauce stain on your design soul.

Today, my designer’s world revolves around an entirely different industry. A little over a year ago, I had the good fortune of meeting with Jodie and Kelly (owners of Gaslight Creative) over a cup of coffee. I was looking for a new venture and they were looking for, well, someone to start tomorrow at 8:00 am sharp. My life went from watercolor cupcakes to “It’s all about the beer.” This new found campaign agreed with me like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. Just like that, I was part of the Third Street Brewhouse design team.

I dabble in other campaigns at Gaslight Creative, but this brewhouse thing was my new everyday go-to-drug. It was in my system. I drank it (pun intended), I wore it, I fell asleep thinking about it, then woke up with it ringing in my head. And when Saturdays come around, my loving wife leaves for her gig giving brewhouse tours. Later when she gets home, we even talk about how the mash kettle dumped into the lauter turn. It reached insanity the other day, when I paused to study my iPhone calculator – not because I did the math and found I was short beer money – but because every key on the keypad mimicked Third Street Brewhouse’s color palette. PMS 131, PMS 453, PMS 7531…it’s all there and every part of my action-packed life – by design.

My name is Matt Haubrich and I’m addicted to creative problem solving and love the rush.

Written by Matt Haubrich, Graphic Designer