Welcome PageCrush fans! After a long pause and a rebooted website, it is with excitement we bring you yet another passionate and fellow creative, Skye Selbiger.
We talk to Skye about his background, sacrifices and knowledge in what it takes to be a graphic designer and how to stay competitive in today’s creative space.
“I’m determined to make myself successful. I’m committed to the process to make sure success happens and I’m hungry for more.”
Please read on as PageCrush would like to learn more about Skye Selbiger and what motivates him.
Q. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?
I’m from Portland Oregon and my dad is a shoe designer. Growing up with him I didn’t realize that would affect my future and shape me to who I am today. He would tell me to look at one of his designs and ask what I liked vs. did not like about a certain shoe design. Over the years, that intrigued my passion for graphic design. Later I had a project in high school that was to depict a creative interpretation of “Who Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and it was the first graphic design project I fully completed, which sparked me to get into this full time. When I was in college, this is where I found that you can integrate psychological events with design and culture. So I began studying advertising while pursing graphic design on the side.
Q. What lead to you coming to Los Angeles?
Last year, I graduated from college. Because I didn’t have a graphic design portfolio, I started working at REI in Portland. Because a lot of my creative friends had gotten jobs in Chicago, San Francisco, New York and so on, it pushed me to get my plan going. So I pulled in a friend of mine and asked him to help me finish a project that I could apply to my portfolio, which lead me to my start.
That said, I planned to come down to Los Angeles for my birthday and I happened to find an add on Craigslist for an internship. So I inquired about wanting an interview with this company that was hiring, the Noun Project. Instead of saying “I’m interested in this position and I want to learn more.” I said, “I want to interview for this position. This is something I want and I know I can do it.” So they said, since you’re going to be in L.A. at this time, we’ll bring you in for an interview. A month later, I flew back down to L.A. for a second interview and two weeks after that, I got the job and this is where I now work.
Q. During this process, how was the support from your family and friends?
My mom is a huge person in my life. When I graduated from college, she knew I was frustrated with not working in the job that I always wanted. She told me, be patient, things will come in time. That’s the problem with my generation, we’re used to instant gratification and being able to get things right away but in reality, it takes time. You don’t really realize this until you have to keep trying and trying and trying. I got so many no’s! But through all those rejections, my mom was there to tell me that when someone says no, that puts another door in front of you that may turn into a yes but you have to keep trying. So my mom and my friends helped me to keep a positive mindset. People were sad I was leaving but happy that I was creating the next chapter in my life and remained supportive during the transition and change.
Q. So you had an internship at the Noun Project. Can you tell us what that was like? The attitude, the opportunity, the sacrifices you had to make?
So when I got the internship, I had a little under one month to get ready for the big move. I drove down to L.A. two days before my internship was going to start and didn’t have a place to live, so I was basically couch surfing until I could find the place I’m living in now. My job started out at a small office on Melrose which was a shared creative space and they were sharing it with another company. It literally sat about ten people in the entire room. It was very tight. So coincidentally two days after I started, they were looking for a new office and the first two weeks I was actually not working in an office. I was working in coffee shops, all while interning! This was not even with my creative director or the CEO. So Matt, another colleague and I were pretty much working from coffee shops the first two weeks of my internship. It was definitely not what I expected.
Eventually we got our office in Culver City and the work that followed was helping set up the office. Not the work I was brought on to do, nor expected. It was a strange start to the internship but once things got rolling, after the desks were built, internet was installed, and so on, we were finally up and running.
In regards to sacrifices, I think one of the biggest sacrifices I made for this job was I closed off other opportunities that were made available to me right before I accepted this internship. Those opportunities were looming on the back of my mind and I was wondering if I made the right decision because it wasn’t what I thought it was at first but I stuck it out and everything started to work out. I kept telling myself to be patient, these are really talented people I’m working with and this is going to be a really cool place to work. Things did eventually get better. Three months into my internship I got pulled aside and they asked me to join on full time. I believe this also was the case because I kept asking them that I wanted to do more work for the company. Design work. I proved to them that I could do the work and I was dedicated to proving I could do this. They gave me a shot and brought me on board!
Q. You talked a little bit about what motivated you, but what was unique about this experience for you?
When you’re in college and you think about the ideal place you want to work. Do you want to work for a small company with a tight knit team where everyone has their place and role, or do you want to work for a large enterprise company where you’re just another cog in the wheel? That can be great for some people but for me, you want to be utilized for certain skills where you’re the part of a smaller focused team. I feel there’s more opportunity in a small team role plus you get to really know your colleagues and bosses very well.
Q. Can you describe yourself in three words?
Determined, hungry and committed.
I’m determined to make myself successful. I’m committed to the process to make sure success happens and I’m hungry for more.
Q. What’s been your experience with collaboration in your field?
Collaboration in the creative field is super challenging. So challenging. In college you were forced to work with people in groups on one project and I hated it. I used to say I hated collaboration because I didn’t want to give other people creative control because you have a vision and you have a way you see it in your head. You don’t want that to get messed up and allowing others to be a part of that can suck at times, but when you get into the real world and find other creatives you can work with that see your vision or vice versa, it’s amazing. It’s amazing because that person is there to push you and push the idea and push the envelope because it’s about trusting them. When you find someone to work with that you trust, you can let go of those fears you have and it can only get better. It evolves into something better because you have put your trust into others.
Collaboration is amazing when all minds are in the mix and it’s necessary at times.
Q. One last question, what advice would you give other creatives who are in your field or looking to get into this field of graphic design?
Points I would share with a young creative or someone who’s trying to get into this creative space, have a really good work ethic. You’re not going to get the things you want to unless you make sacrifices. That could be going to work 30 minutes before everyone else, or leaving work 30 minutes after everyone else. Working on weekends because it shows dedication and so on.
Another point is being confident in yourself and staying determined and know it’s about being patient and asking for things. You have to put yourself out of your comfort zone and ask for it. If you ask for something and they say no, you’re still in the same spot you were before you asked. But if you don’t ask you won’t get the opportunity to get something that could of been a yes. It never hurts to ask.
Always be looking. Don’t expect work to always come to you. Don’t expect it to be easy and don’t expect things to magically appear out of thin air. I’m sure it can happen but usually not.
Use your network and the people you know in your life. Just get conversations going. Don’t let people tell you, you can’t do it. If you see yourself doing something, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. I think that’s the most important thing.
We want to thank Skye for talking with us. To visit Skye’s portfolio website, simply visit www.skyeselbiger.com
Also check out the www.nounproject.com, a great designer resource.