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Taking a chance on design: How this designer found her dream career

Boston-based visual designer and illustrator Tyler Elise Blinderman joins us today to share her inspiring path into design, and why taking risks is the most important thing you can do to continue growing and learning in your craft.

Tell us about yourself and where you work. How did you get started in design?

I had a bit of a strange path getting into design. I was always creative growing up, and initially wanted to be a photographer. I was all in—I took classes at school, after school, and I went to a camp called Woodward for photography over summer breaks.

After all that, I ended up dropping it because at a young age I believed the “starving artist” myth, and decided to go to school for biochemistry. After my first year, I realized it was much more important to do what I loved, so I called it quits and moved into an Interactive Digital Design major. It was probably the best decision I’ve ever made.

I realized it was much more important to do what I loved...

During school, I worked as an intern at a craft beer distributor, and after graduating I landed my first job as a Visual Designer. This was largely a production level job, with a non-production level title. I learned a lot here, but towards the end, I felt very stuck and like there wasn’t much room to grow. I took the leap to my current role as a Designer at a company called WS Development. There I work on everything from branding, to cross property campaigns, to environmental graphic design. I get to work on projects that really challenge me and push me out of my comfort zone. It’s really incredible to see how much I’ve grown in the few months I’ve been here, and the impact it’s made on my professional and personal work.

What project(s) are you currently working on? 

Currently, I’m working on a lot of holiday campaigns and ice skating rink designs at work, which I can’t wait to see out in the wild. I just finished a freelance project that’s a large vinyl mural for Boston Landing, which is on the New Balance building as you get off the commuter rail. In my free time, I’ve been trying to work on more lettering and illustration projects.

  1. Be Good to Each Other
  2. Kafka on the Shore book cover
  3. Will Letter for Librations
  4. The Rink Branding

What else are you passionate about outside design? How does it influence your work? 

As much as I love what I do and constantly want to be doing it, it’s so important to me to have other hobbies. Staying active is something that I’m really passionate about. I have significantly better days when I start them off with a 5:30 am gym class, or get to the climbing gym after work. Being able to take breaks from design and focus my energy on other things that I love allows me to clear my head and come back feeling refreshed and ready to get sh*t done.

What’s your favorite piece of advice you’ve received as a creative? Why does it resonate with you? 

My favorite piece of advice I’ve received may be cliché, but it’s to do things that scare you and push you out of your comfort zone.

Do things that scare you and push you out of your comfort zone.

The best things in my life have usually come from taking risks (changing my major in college, making the jump to a new job, taking on projects that I may not feel ready for). I don’t think we’ll ever feel 100% ready to do anything, and we’ll regret not taking the leap more than if we try and fail. My biggest learnings and times of growth have come out of failure, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without those experiences.

Shout-out: Who’s another Dribbble designer you admire and why?

Without a doubt, the first person that came to mind for this is Alaina Johnson. They have the cutest illustrations and their use of texture and color is always incredible. My favorite piece of theirs recently has to be their Guy Fieri Inktober illustration #welcometoflavortown.

Vectober 16 - Wild

Vectober 16 - Wild

by Alaina Johnson

America's national treasure: Guy Fieri.

View on Dribbble

Do you have any events, speaking gigs, merch, workshops, classes, or products you’d like to shout-out?

I’ll be teaching a Drinking and Drawing lettering workshop at Zone 3 in Allston on February 5. It’s free to attend! I also have a limited run of some risograph prints for sale on my Etsy.

Want to keep up with Tyler? Find her on Dribbble, Instagram, and at tylerelise.com.

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