Expand: Designing Your Own Story

For our newest series, Expand, we wanted a topic that would resonate with designers of all levels, as we all need to recalibrate sometimes so that we can continue to expand (get it) in the field—no matter what our professional experience is.

We were thrilled when Dave Nguyen, Senior Art Director at Duarte agreed to kick it off with his talk, Designing Your Own Story. Duarte is a creative agency that specializes in their own unique VisualStory™ methodology— no really, they’ve published four books on the topic.

The talk began with the most endearing photo of a young 8 yo Dave, donning a sports jacket and wearing fake glasses at a school speech contest (which he won). While we’re not going to rehash the entire 30+ minute talk, we’ll leave you with a few key takeaways from the evening:

Embrace Fear - Being fearful in front of a crowd is natural—many of us reach for the beta blockers anytime we need to speak in public. Dave’s advice: embrace that fear as it’s genuine to be fearful.

Say Less - Don’t worry about showing everything you’ve ever done in your career, but sharing the work you’re most proud of and why that should matter to your audience

Be Authentic - This one speaks for itself.

Shift the Win - Find the win in all that you do. Even if it doesn’t get shipped, jump on the fact that you learned something.

Make it Your Own - From the goofy childhood photo to him sharing that his boss thought he failed him —he made techniques that you may hear so often, accessible to us all through his story.

While Dave’s story started at 8 years old, he explained that a pivotal moment came early in his career when he was a Designer. Although he was proud and strongly believed in his work on a project, he didn’t believe in his own voice to convince others of it.

Big thanks to Dave for sharing his story and reminding us the importance of designing our own. And for our annual sponsors Vitamin T for helping us launch the new series!

The next Expand event will take place Nov 29th. Keep your eyes peeled for the big reveal!

Photo credit: Matt Harris

View more photos from the event here!