We had the good fortune of connecting with Garrett Golightly and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Garrett, alright, let’s jump in with a deep one – what’s you’re definition for success?
Success is something that naturally takes up way to much of my headspace. Ambition has been a killer of my happiness in the past; it’s consumed me at the cost of relationships, friendships, and moments that I can never get back. I used to be someone so mesmerized by external, short-lived success that my goals became foggy, even to myself. I was someone who would be enamored by the idea of a considerable salary, secure lifestyle, or ego-driven status in my community. In the last couple of years, I’ve been lucky enough to be humbly redirected by my life. Situations like being fired from a company I worked hard at and having surgery that put me out of work for months have allowed me to shift my focus from vain success to goals oriented in my desires for my life. In the last year, I’ve shifted my focus to doing something I love and finding ways to use that to help others achieve their goals. Realizing my love for branding has perfectly intersected with my love for entrepreneurship in my business. I’ve developed my business in the last year to help service small businesses and startups by creating brand identities and any necessary collateral to help them promote their service to the world. Branding is often one of the first manifestations of someone’s dreams, and it’s an honor to be a part of that. So for me, success is being able to help people strive for their goals even when they feel impossible to wrangle in or start. Noticing my love for this slowly over the last two years has allowed me to be a lot more present in my projects with my clients and become comfortable with the constant changes in life. Success has become a lot more achievable and rewarding in this way because it is no longer something lofty and only thought about with a bootstrap mentality. Now success is about my impact on people and their impact on me. And that feels a lot more connected to life than any of my old visions of success.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I find art so captivating and engaging, but design scratched an itch that art had not yet. Discovering art mixed with creative messaging, to service a goal, allowed me to engage with my work in a new way. My background in both fine art and entrepreneurship heavily influence my design work. I am also inspired by the 1900’s Americana design and its’ place in history. WPA posters, the NAACP “A Man Was Lynched Today” flag, and Red Scare propaganda all drew me in a way fine art hadn’t yet. Studying how political powers and grass-root Americans used type and imagery to communicate their goals taught me the importance of design. I learned about the consequence of design work; it can be used to empower and liberate people or be used to oppress and crush people. This perspective has carried into my work by inspiring me to look into people in the design industry determined to use design for the greater good, like Benjamin Evans, the Inclusive Design Lead at Airbnb and Mike Monteiro, ethics-focused designer and author. Moving forward in my career, I want to keep inclusivity and empathy as motivators for my work. I think this positions me to achieve my vision of success in striving to impact people positively and letting them positively impact me. To follow my design journey, check out my Instagram (@garrettgolightly) and my website garrettgolightly.com.

Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
My ideal day in Dallas is brunch at Oddfellows in Bishop Arts, followed by coffee at Wayward Coffee co down the street. My lunch spot has got to be in Deep Ellum; that way, you get the great food but avoid the nighttime chaos of Deep Ellum. I’d either pick Easy Slider or Revolver Tacos, which are conveniently right next to each other. After lunch, I might catch a movie at Alamo Drafthouse or check out some of my favorite goods stores like The Neighborhood Store and The 1976. My favorite nighttime activity in Dallas is Bishop Cidercade! You can’t beat a $10 cover for all the arcade games your heart desires. The best place to eat dinner or catch a late bite is Greenville Avenue Pizza company. It might take a while to order on the weekend, so call ahead, and if the inside is packed, just eat outside. This describes my ideal day in Dallas to a tee and is usually the itinerary for when I have friends in from out of town!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I am very fortunate that both of my parents have been a big part of my success. Since I was young, they encouraged me to pursue whatever dream I had and find a way to make money at it. This established an entrepreneurial spirit in me young and led to me continually exploring art and design throughout my life. My teachers growing up and UTA professors deserve a large shoutout for being great mentors, encouraging me to explore my thoughts on the world and my place in it, and challenging me when needed. Educators do not get anywhere enough credit for the work they do, so thank you to Karen Jackson, Kim Lovelace, Joel DeLong, Kyle Jordan, Justin Dearing, Adam Clarke, Matt Clark, Robee McEuen, and Jeff Severs for being great teachers and the best people! I’d also love to give a shoutout to some of my friends who’s work I really respect and admire. Dalton Derks (@worksofderks), Trevin and Noah (@waywardcoffeeco), Alex Thomas (@alexledon), and Khaled Nurhssien (@khaledcantfly). Getting to witness driven and creative people grow in what they do is the most inspiring part about what I do.

Website: garrettgolightly.com
Instagram: @garrettgolightly

Image Credits
Portraits were taken by Khaled Nurhssien (khalednurhssien.com)

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