The quote, “if you don’t build your dreams, someone will hire you to help build theirs”, was coined by Tony Gaskins and holds true for many procrastinators. But not for Cedric Storr, whose name has always being synonymous with the Bahamian design world.
This veteran, who boasts a 16-year carreer in the field, has set his sights so high that he can easily now be recognised as “a cut above the rest”.
‘Ricky’, as he is occasionally called, has proven himself not only as a successful web and graphic designer, but also a master innovator whose creativity has always being “outside of the box”. Here he offers a few small insights into his transformation, and the fulfillment of his personal dream.
Question: When did you get started in web and graphic design. What was the attraction?
Answer: I got my start in web design way back in 1999. I was new to the Internet and figured since I had a computer, I would make an attempt to build and publish a website of my own. I launched my first personal website that same year using Microsoft Publisher.
Q: Were you good at Art in school?
A: I was. In my junior year in high school, I was an art student and enjoyed sketching and drawing. After high school I attended art college, and I was actually pretty good in art on paper and digital.
Q: What is a typical day for you?
A: A typical day for me is not as most would expect. I start my days at 8:30am religiously. Task number one is check my email. Depending on what’s in my inbox, it sets the pace for my day. Thereafter, I actually read the newspaper daily and have breakfast, then make calls for about an hour 10am-11am. The remainder of the day is typically spent at my desk working on projects in web and graphics.
Occasionally, I still work during the early hours of the morning (1am to 3am). For some reason, creativity comes easier during these hours.
Q: Do you think designers are introverts or extroverts? Why?
A: Some artists are attracted to the introverted lifestyle. However, I enjoy getting away from the computer and out into the world. I enjoy meeting with people to discuss their design ideas and plans for campaigns and websites. At times, clients actually inspire me with their ideas.
Q: What form of peace, if any, does this career offer?
A: The peace this career offers is actually being able to create.
Q: Do you prefer freelancing or working for a business?
A: It’s has been many years since I have worked for a business, so I would continuously say I prefer freelancing rather than working for a company. However, there are some perks to working for a business. There’s a great deal of things that I have learned while being in the traditional work environment.
Q: What is your most prized design and why?
A: I couldn’t say which is my most prized design, as I find great quality in everything I do. Once the clients are pleased, all of the projects become my prized designs.
Q: How would you describe your work?
A: I would describe my work as smart yet simple design. I take the time out to discover what works for each individual client. My goal is to turn their visions in to reality. I may guide clients to the best design path for their project, but ultimately my work is a cooperative venture between myself and the client.
Q: What are your most fulfilling moments when dealing with customers?
A: Fulfilling is when the customer says ‘YES, that’s exactly what we were looking for!’
Q: Where do you look for creativity?
A: I look for creativity everywhere - from local and international publications, websites, photographs and. at times, even dreams. Ultimately, creativity, I believe, simply comes from God.
Q: How important is originality?
A: Very important. Although clients often request for a piece to mimic something they like, it’s the duty of any good designer to make each job unique.
Q: Do you think artists are born or created?
A: A true artist can’t be created. You have to be born with creativity. I think you simply either have it or you don’t.
Q: Which do you feel is more important? Good work with bad attitude or bad attitude and good work?
A: Good work with a bad attitude may work, but I believe it’s important to have good work and a good attitude. Your reputation would be far better this way.
Q: Despite increased technology, do you feel that this industry is growing or declining?
A: It’s certainly growing and changing. For instance, a smart computer user now has the ability to create and maintain a pretty decent website themselves without any professional help. Also, people are becoming pretty good at teaching themselves how to manoevere in professional software like Adobe Photoshop. And there are also more and more people wanting to become graphic artists and web designers these days.
Q: How do your clients view your work?
A: I would like to think my clients are usually pleased with my work. I know this because many of them have been with me for several years.
Q: Which do you prefer: Web or graphic design, and why?
A: There was a time when I preferred one over the other, but I enjoy both mediums equally.
Q: What are the key things you do to stay on top of your game?
A: Never stop learning, as technology is constantly changing and you have to stay in the know. Be a man of your word. If you cannot deliver, simply say so. Be professional. Treating business as business is always important.
Q: Any hidden secrets about this career you would like to share?
A: No secrets, really, but I can say it’s probably the best career out there, in my opinion. Who wouldn’t want to create for a living? Truth is. you can earn a living through your hobby.
Q: What would you say is the ‘magic potion’ for success in this business?
A: Being active, and not being afraid to meet people and discuss business opportunities with them. Also, be confident in your craft and never get lazy. Finally, above all things, prayer plays an important role in the road to success.
Q: Finally, what would you tell young people who are contemplating a career in this industry?
A: I would say welcome aboard, there is room for more. Honestly, I would tell them to always excel at their craft, educate themselves on all things creative and technical, be confident and create fresh and innovative designs, and make a statement with everything you do.
Until we meet again, fill your life with memories as opposed to regrets. Enjoy life and stay on top of your game.
• NB: The columnist welcomes feedback or any topic request at firstname.lastname@example.org
ABOUT THE COLUMNIST: Deidre Marie Bastian is a professionally trained graphic designer/marketing coordinator with qualifications of M.Sc., B.Sc., A.Sc. She has trained at institutions such as: Miami Lakes Technical, Success Training College, College of the Bahamas, Nova South Eastern University, Learning Tree International, Langevine International and Synergy Bahamas.