When it came to Brian Schwab’s career, it was love at first sight. The affair began in 1997, while he was vectorizing his first drawing in Adobe Illustrator. The cutting-edge multimedia designer proudly confesses, “I was hooked.”
Brian’s passion for the arts came as no surprise to family and friends. From an early age, Brian developed a love for drawing and sketching, which was influenced by his grandfather and father who both worked as artists in the field of Fine Art. Fast forward to the present day, Brian has taken the love for art and design that he developed in his youth, and transformed it into his full-time career, having built a thriving multimedia design firm that provides an array of custom services for his clients. With expertise in multiple forms of media, including graphic design, video editing, desktop publishing, and digital photography (to name a few) Brian is an extremely versatile resource for his clients and aspiring artists alike.
We interviewed Brian about how he developed his career into what it is today, and are pleased to share his responses below:
Brian, you and your work have been heralded by your clients as: “priceless,”” superior,” “mind-blowing,” “classy,” and “as good as it gets.” How did you get to this point in your career? Where did it all begin?
I started my design career in high school taking a Multimedia Design course at Central County Occupational Center. There I was introduced to Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere Pro, and many other applications that I still use today. I graduated from San Jose State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Digital Media, and then began teaching at Western Career College. After 6 years I was the Program Director and re-wrote the entire curriculum for today’s standards. This consisted of a one year curriculum on Multimedia Design that allowed people interested in digital media to see the entire field in a broad scope before finding their niche. Eventually I gave up the teaching career and I now freelance. I do what I love every day.
What is it like to go from the security of being a Program Director to freelancer?
I work with multiple agencies which provide me with constant work flow and I have yet to spend $1 on advertising. I pride myself on good work ethics, transparency, and honesty. Be good to people and they will come back; the more work they provide you, the better deal you provide them.
Explain what a multimedia designer is?
A multimedia designer is an artist who uses multiple design applications and techniques to create an end product that serves a purpose. It can be a website design, a flyer for an event, or even branding a new company’s identity. Being able to provide multiple digital media services allows me to cater to my clients with several ways to advertise and develop marketing campaigns.
In my experience many designers usually fall into two basic categories; front-end designers (gui design) and back-end designers (programming). I have always been a front-end designer, but over the years I have learned many different coding languages which allowed me to utilize my graphic design in various ways. I like to classify myself as a ‘Multimedia Artist’ since every job is different and no two projects are the same. Doing the same thing every day is not my ideal job (and in this field particularly) everything is constantly changing so staying up to date is a must.
How do you handle “design blocks” and can you prevent them?
We all have design blocks and it’s always good to take breaks; sometimes 10 minutes of stretching will give you a fresh new take on the design when you return. Continue to learn and read manuals. I have to say YouTube is one of the most powerful resources in my eyes.
What is “responsive web design?”
Responsive design is having a fluid layout no matter what your viewport is; a desktop, tablet, or mobile device. The rise of responsive sites started when creating 3 different versions of a website for each given platform; desktop, tablet, and mobile devices. This all of a sudden put a lot of work on the Webmaster and updating a site became a nightmare. With the rise of CMS (Content Management System) platforms such as WordPress and Joomla are rising in large numbers and fully responsive plugins are easy to come by. Having your website designed in a responsive format gives the viewer improved user experience through easy navigation and quick call to actions such as get directions or make a phone call. A great way to see if a website is responsive or not is to open your browser on a desktop to the website, then select and drag the corner of your browser scaling the window size down, if all content collapses and stays visible then your website is responsive.
Please describe a “Day in the Life of Brian.”
I wake up early and charge into my office; converse with my to-do list, update the whiteboard, and list out my challenges for the day. I like to write down more tasks that I can complete to keep me going, but if I didn’t have my to-do list I would be lost, its crucial. I try to take breaks, perform yoga, listen to Pandora and let the design juices flow. I am probably on the phone twice a week with Hosting Support, but I have learned a lot this way.
When I work I like to listen to reggae music. A few years back I contacted one of my favorite artists, Anthony B and designed his website. That one lead has spanned into working with many reggae artists designing album covers and websites such as Mykal Rose, Pablo Moses, and Don Carlos. Not only is it great to have these artists come to my studio for a photo shoot, but getting full VIP access to all the reggae festivals is a very easy way to network with other artists. I am currently structuring my business to bring on more work and expand MyMediaDesigner.
What words of wisdom would you offer an aspiring multimedia designer?
After all my experience with school and teaching I believe in this line of work your portfolio is your most valuable asset. You can be a drop-out from middle school but if your portfolio is stronger than the guy’s with the degrees, I am going to choose the dropout.