We had the good fortune of connecting with Amber Andersson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Amber, we’d love to hear about a book that’s had an impact on you.
One of the most enjoyable and eye-opening books I’ve read to date is “Visual Intelligence: Sharpen Your Perception, Change Your Life” by Amy E. Herman. The author walks you through the importance of observing versus looking, and helps the reader hone their own observational skills by looking at different artworks. It has encouraged and equipped me to be more observant in life, but more than that, Herman discusses a myriad of other topics in her book that really resonated with me beyond the observational level. For example, one topic she hits on is that what we set as our priorities communicates something to others, whether we intend to send that message to them or not. (If we work until late in the night, we might be communicating to our families that work is a priority over them.) So, for this reason, I found this book and the knowledge Herman shares through it to be invaluable in many different areas of my life, not just as a graphic designer or art director.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I find it interesting that graphic design, something that I am so passionate about today, wasn’t something I was really aware of before stumbling into as a college student. I see graphic designers as the invisible supporters of society. We ourselves rarely get the limelight, but our work is on display 24/7, influencing people and changing lives. I feel incredibly honored to be in a field that I love, and one that I can see my impact on so tangibly.
In many ways my career journey has been rather difficult, but I don’t think it has been the most grueling of experiences either. Except for some really rare people out there, we all have difficulties and challenges to go through, and the important step in getting through them is persevering. To not give up. When I struggled for a year to find a job after grad school, it was about pushing through and not believing the small voice in my own head that links failure to a specific thing wrong with me. When I did find a job, I had to work towards a full-time position, and even after getting promoted to full-time I had some very trying times to push through. Not all of it has been fun; not all of it has been easy…but all of it has been worth it. I love being a creative; I love helping other creatives; I love pouring into my students and watching them bud into these amazing new graphic designers; I love helping small businesses navigate through the chaotic mess of establishing a brand. I love everything about what I do and why I do it, so every challenge I face is worth it to me. Besides, I’m someone who honestly likes to be challenged because challenges mean learning and growth.
I also am always finding myself discovering new things that bring me immense joy and satisfaction in this field. I am still searching for what specifically it is that I love to do with this skill, and honestly that might be the case for the rest of my life. There are so many branches to graphic design. Last year I had the amazing opportunity to help a local business rebrand, and I never really thought I’d enjoy branding, but what I loved about this project was coaching a new business on the importance and the how-to of establishing a visual identity for your business. It wasn’t just about here’s your logo and stuff; it was here is why these colors and typefaces and symbol work for your business and how it will attract your target audience, and from here on out here is your strong foundation to stand on when making branding decisions. And because any freelance project I do is a side gig for me, with my full-time job being what financially stabilizes my family, I found it equally enjoyable that the client and I were not bound by the typical means of pay for a service. We were doing this project during covid, so her family could get through covid, and so sometimes that meant we did more of a skill trade for design work when finances were tight. I honestly loved it! It is incredibly important for small businesses to have a solid branding, but sometimes that isn’t in the budget and I am thankful that God has placed me in a position where I can help these people, but of course still get what my skill is worth in the end, just maybe not how modern society expects you to be paid for a job.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I am a huge culture fanatic (living in India was the catalyst to this obsession), so anytime I have friends or family over I see it as a sort of personal mission to expose them to other cultures. So the first place we would go to is K-Town in Carrollton, getting some Korean BBQ, going over to Kinokuniya just down the strip mall to digest a bit before going to 85C Bakery. I’d also want to go to Korean Street Eats and LA Burgers across the highway, but I wouldn’t have enough room for it. There’s too much goodness over there. We’d also go to the Japanese Botanical Gardens in Fort Worth on a different day, followed by a visit to the Kimball Art Museum. On a separate day we’d go to the Dallas Aquarium and maybe just walk around downtown Dallas. I find walking in downtown areas very enjoyable and inspirational as a creative.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I find myself incredibly blessed to have so many people support me as I’ve walked this creative journey. I am thankful to my parents who never once tried to dissuade me from a field that society largely sees as “unprofitable”. They believed in me every step of the way. I also would not be the creative I am today without the mentorship from one of my college professors, Jim Hutchinson. He gave me honest feedback, he encouraged me, he pushed me and to this day he is still someone I go to for advise on pretty much anything concerning life. And lastly, I am thankful to my husband who has consoled me in some very trying times and who has celebrated with me in some very exciting times.