TheorySprints, my online design course, is open to new students until July 29th, 2017!
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"One of those guys who is just good at everything he does (except sports)" (and writing bios), Jarrod Drysdale is a designer, writer, developer, and product maker. He's written 4 books, founded 2 startups, and writes Critique, a weekly design newsletter, to over 20,000 subscribers.
A practicing designer for over a decade, Jarrod has completed work for companies like State Farm, LensCrafters, McDonald's, Kraft Foods, New Line Cinema, Domino's Pizza, Scottrade, Intuit, Bloomberg, and startups and online businesses of all sizes. Many millions of people have directly experienced his design work.
His writing and work have appeared in GOOD, .Net magazine and the Creative Bloq, CommArts.com, AIGA.org, Smashing Magazine, Design Taxi, and Despreneur.
A lover of weird music, and no digital nomad at all but more digital hobbit, Jarrod makes awesome design from the safe confines of his lavish basement design studio/hobbit hole with his trusty Jazzmaster guitar always nearby. Jarrod is a both devoted and devout husband, father, and cat-person-who-also-loves-dogs. 6'2", bespectacled, and bearded, Jarrod loves fancy food and indie rock but don't call him a foodie or hipster or there will be blood. It is however safe to call him tall. (And seriously, he is very bad at sports.)
Photos © Jarrod Drysdale. By downloading photos, you agree to use them for editorial purposes only. (Okay to use in an article or author bio, not permitted in an advertisement or sales page testimonial section.) Email me to request permission for commercial use.
When I quit electrical engineering a year into college to become a designer, I thought I'd spend the rest of my life broke.
Now I make more than most engineers do.
Not because I'm smarter than engineers (I'm not) or because design pays better (on average, engineers earn 150% of what designers earn).
But because design is powerful, and so few people truly take advantage of that—even many designers.
So many businesses desperately need design and the results it can drive, and there is a draught of designers who think about design in terms of results.
I fully realize that could sound like an arrogant statement. After all, there are probably millions of designers in the world, the vast majority of them very good. Major design blogs get millions upon millions of visits. Design is a big industry.
And yet, I meet client after client desperate for good design, frustrated with other designers they have hired, and who even still are fanatical about the idea of growing their businesses with smart design.
I also meet numerous designers have their own set of frustrations: many of us struggle to find clients or better salary gigs. We can feel stuck and undervalued. We can fear spending the rest of our lives as starving artists—just like I imagined when I quit engineering.
All of this—all of these frustrations that both designers and clients have—is caused by a misunderstanding of design and its value.
Design is a means to an end, but no one acts that way.
Designers talk about the stylistic, fashionable, and creative aspects of design, but rarely connect design to monetary value, and thus struggle to get paid well or find other, more meaningful success.
Clients shop around for cool design styles, rarely thinking about earning results with design, and get frustrated that the junior designers they hire are unreliable when paid low rates for work that amounts to playing pixel puppet. Or that they have to buy a new design every couple of years to keep up with trends but never really understand if or how it actually benefits the business.
But both designers and businesses can find satisfaction and success working together.
If you are a designer, I want to help you climb out of the valley where you're stuck designing ads for used car dealerships or digging through the detritus of constant revision requests. I want to help you prove the value of design and have the successful design career you dream of.
If you are a business owner who needs design, I want to help you achieve serious, measurable growth using design. If you are merely shopping for a cool style, you are in the wrong place. I work with businesses who have goals—who want the growth, profit, and gravitas that design can create.
I want to help designers and businesses both thrive by finally removing our shared misunderstanding.
Design can rock your socks off and make you money at the same time. Whoever you are.
And so, even though I am a practicing designer and have both a consulting business and a products business, I find myself teaching, too.
I teach in order to kill the misunderstandings about design.
I teach designers to practice design in a way that makes them indispensable assets.
I teach businesses how design can help them to accomplish incredible gains.
And, I teach about the practical aspects of design.
I write about the real struggles designers and design learners face in the trenches. Not the utopian, romantic theory so often preached from the ivory towers of our profession, but technique and advice you designers can apply to your daily work.
Don't get me wrong—I'm not opposed to the academic aspects of design. But, given the huge misunderstanding between designers and businesses, the practical concerns are the only way to really begin to understand one another again.
Of course, to claim I don't have other motives would be lying to you, as the Orwellian essay that is this section's namesake so eloquently identifies. So many writers avoid the question, so let me answer it: I am no altruist and I do need to earn a living. My writing is part of that. I also have a personal ambition to change design's reputation. I enjoy making design and writing about it. And, finally, I do sincerely hope that you personally benefit from my efforts, especially if you pay me, because your success is my success and I find personal satisfaction in your success.
Friends have described me as "One of those guys who is just good at everything he does," but I believe the truth is that I possess no unique talent and only work hard.
If you stick around, I will hold you to the same standard.
If I can earn more than an engineer as a mere graphic designer, so can you.
If I can earn a 17% conversion rate selling a self-published ebook, your business or product can too.
I am a practicing designer who dispenses advice not out of arrogance but out of experience; I've done it and so can you.
Please no consulting inquiries here. Read about my consulting services or start the project planner if you are interested in working together! If you ignore this and email me about consulting, I'll just ask you to do the project planner, anyway. Yes, I am a stickler like that. No, I won't just hop on a call. But I am excited to meet you and learn about your business!