Hello, I’m Evan Peter. I am the Creative Services Coordinator and Lead Graphic Designer for UrbanLink Group. Work and personal life sometimes intermingle, as my two loves are art and music.
I started playing piano when I was five, but don't play as much anymore. I also play the guitar and keep up with it regularly. My love for music extends into collecting, as I have a vinyl collection of about 2000 albums.
As far as art, it’s something that runs in the family. My father was an amazing photographer and illustrator and my brother and sisters have all had careers in the art field. For me, music and design are so connected. I mix the two in my daily life.
Generating Quality Ideas
I believe that any good design process shouldn’t be rushed. That’s why I don’t like diving into any project without a little bit of focus. I like to have ideas marinate before I commit. I’ve found that the best approach for idea generation is to go for a walk, run, or bike ride. From there, ideas tend to flow freely.
Once I have a general direction of ideas, I move on to the music. What really works for my creative process is to align the mood of the project with a music genre. I find that pairing the two produces an incredible force of creativity.
A Unique Approach
Sometimes, having rough versus solid ideas for projects works out better. By working through a creative process, I end up with a much different and much better result than initially envisioned.
For most of my professional career, I’ve enjoyed being a leader. I was part of higher education, teaching layout and design at San Jose State University. That is where I realized I love to see people grow and take chances.
During one of my classes, I'd break students up in groups and ask them to develop a marketing and advertising plan for a random product. For example, a box of toothpicks or dryer balls.
I would task them to use pads of paper instead of computers to generate ideas, plans, and sketches. In fact, I didn’t allow computer use until halfway into the semester in order to foster creativity. I strongly believe that ideas come from within, not from a computer.
Bring in the Passion
Passion is part of any job and path for development. It doesn’t matter if you’re a junior person or senior person, what matters is that you have a good idea. I've learned that creatives who think it’s “their way or the highway” don’t ever last long in a company.
Passion and the philosophy of accepting other people’s ideas has helped me raise my kids. The people that have passion are sponges and absorb all the good information. We cannot think we’re the best. We must be open to criticism and ideas that come from others. Some of my former colleagues are now senior leaders at successful companies. Looking back, I saw that they were always passionate about what they did.
It’s not always about money, but more about doing a good job. Throughout the years, and even now, I freelance alongside my profession.
Most recently, I’ve been instrumental in brand development and identity for a local restaurant called The Switchback. It’s a graphics heavy project that involves branding for a food truck park in Boise, Idaho.
Even when I’m not working, I notice design around me. Driving down the street, I always notice signs or displays on buildings, and naturally they light a spark in my imagination.
My advice to anyone reading is to be open to ideas and always follow your passion.