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Brand Designer Patrick Moriarty on the power of passion projects

Get to know San Francisco-based Brand Designer Patrick Moriarty! Patrick shares his unique path into design, how his passion projects have helped him grow his career, and what life as a designer means to him.

Hey! I’m Patrick Moriarty, a brand designer based in beautiful San Francisco, California. I’m currently living up to all of the SF clichés working full-time at a local tech company and eating copious amounts of burritos. Outside of the 9-5 range, I’m likely climbing some rocks, hitting up a concert or struggling up one of the city’s many epic hills on my bike.

  1. Climbing Brand patch branding p geometry animal typography color badge icon logo mountain goat goat climbing
  2. San Francisco icons san francisco bird basketball california golden gate bridge converse shoe shapes line patch badge
  3. Triangles and Nature texture color nature animals birds elk mountains sun icons shapes triangles poster typography fleet foxes

How did you break into design?

I’m the son of a designer and a writer but I got a slow start in the world of design. I started out in advertising at a boutique agency pitching crazy ideas and burning the midnight oil. The first piece of creative I ever produced was actually a radio spot. Go figure!

Ultimately, I had the opportunity to work on various logo and branding projects which started the journey I’m still on today. I’m mostly self-taught and am always eager to keep learning new styles and techniques.

Describe your style in 3 words:

  • Shapes
  • Color
  • Simplicity

Tell us about your passion projects and what inspires your work:

Because I got off to a slow start in design, I needed a way to bolster my portfolio and continue sharpening my skills. One of the best pieces of advice that I’ve received is to create the work you want to get paid to make. This mentality has always driven my passion for creating designs for myself, experimenting with new ideas, and letting the rest fall into place.

One of the best pieces of advice that I've received is to create the work you want to get paid to make.

Most of these passion projects are inspired by what I do outside of design. Things like nature, sports, and music provide endless ideas for different color and shape combinations for me to put in my work.

  1. Bananas illustration lightning podcast character branding lockup typography patch logo icon badge line shoe banana
  2. City Book typography patch star color logo icon badge flower illustration buildings town book
  3. Flamingo Logos illustration identity f star patch badge bird flamingo branding icon logo
  4. Polar Bear Holding Coca Cola and Flowers illustration snowflakes animal christmas winter scarf icon logo badge flower can coke coca cola bear polar bear
  5. Space Fish pattern color poster texture illustration planets stars ocean fish space
  6. LogoLounge 12 trees bird city banana flamingo basketball logos patch badge icon logo

How do you get in the right mindset when creative block hits?

Some of my biggest sources of inspiration come away from the computer. If I get stuck on an idea or design, I try to get outside in search of new ideas and to clear my head. Usually, a quick bike ride to the ocean or a trip to the local climbing gym will do wonders. I’ve found that a change of scenery or some kind of momentary escape can be super helpful to get the creative juices flowing again.

In your opinion, what separates a good designer from a great designer?

I think I’m still very much trying to figure this out for myself, but I’ve always admired designers whose visuals are not only beautiful, but also consistently smart and conceptual. Nothing is more satisfying than spotting a design in the wild and finding that hidden nugget that adds so much to the story being told. That ah-ha moment is priceless.


Fast Facts:

  • Favorite design tool: Adobe Illustrator
  • What you listen to while you work: It really depends on my mood and what I’m working on, but I’ve been listening to a lot of Khruangbin lately.
  • Favorite font right now: Right now all of the fonts from Pangram Pangram.
  • Name a Dribbbler who inspires you: Brett Stenson. Love how he uses shapes so organically.
  • What you’d be doing if you weren’t a designer: Probably photography. It’s something I’ve wanted to get into but haven’t had the time.

Want to keep up with Patrick? Find him on Dribbble and Instagram.

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