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Membership Spotlight: Bryant Hardwick

Written by
aigajacksonville
Published
February 28, 2012
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As a designer and advertiser with over ten years of experience, it’s hard to imagine Bryant had time to fit all of his interests in to just a decade. From being trained in traditional art to tackling the big fish of the advertising world, his experience is all over the board. An avid fan of all things rock n’roll, he uses his passions to inspire truly unique design. Whether he’s storyboarding for the next Winn Dixie commercial or sending out this year’s wackiest Christmas card, you can rest assured that what you see will be one of a kind.

Q:
You began you career as a high school art teacher. What were some of the challenges of educating Jacksonville’s youth, and what made you take the leap into advertising?

A:
Since I wasn’t trained as an educator, the biggest task was simplifying my college-level lessons into something that was fun yet challenging. I had to remind myself that most of these students weren’t going to pursue a career in design or illustration, so I tried to keep my critiquing to a minimum and factor in effort along with technical skill. I taught for two years. The first year was because I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my degree. The second was to buy myself a year while I tried to break into advertising. It worked!

Q:
In your 10+ years of experience in design and agency life, you’ve worked with both local and national clientele. What were some of your favorite projects to work on and why?

A:
When I was in the agency life, I would’ve said that my favorite was actually pitching new business. That was the stage where we were trying to secure the client, and the sky was the limit. No idea was too crazy, and the creative team was encouraged to just “do our thing.” Now that I’m client side, it’s the personal projects that really make me happy. I wish I had time to do more.

Q:
In addition to your involvement in the AIGA, you’ve also joined organizations like AAF Jacksonville, ImpactJax and Pawfessionals (Jacksonville Humane Society’s young professionals group). What have been some of the positive experiences you gleaned from your involvement, and how did it affect your business?

A:
Don’t join a group just because it aligns with your industry. Be a little adventurous and seek out groups that may interest you personally. And since the business waters in Jacksonville are very incestuous, dipping your big toe in a few pools and making friends from different walks can help you out later (getting a new client, landing a new job, etc.). In a job market that is so competitive, having a friend whisper your name in a potential employer’s ear could jump your resume the top of the pile.

Q:
You’re a guy who has a lot of extracurriculars, from personal projects to passionate hobbies. Where do you find your inspiration for side projects, and what are some of your favorites?

A:
On personal projects, what usually works best for me is to put a funny spin on something that’s already established. The Sgt. Pepper-era Beatles displayed as bell peppers. A toy David Bowie knife. It’s almost like telling a joke through design. But if I really need to recharge, I follow my last creative director’s advice of finding inspiration in unusual places. Pick up a euro-style furniture magazine. Go for a walk and look at the old architecture. Find creative motivation in a place that you’re not supposed to. If all of that fails, buy a $20 tree from Walmart and make homoerotic holiday cards with it.

Q:
How is Doug the tree? Can we expect more surprises from him next Christmas?

A:
Doug is doing very well, thanks. And we’ll keep making Christmas cards as long as he wants to. For now, Doug is safely back in his cave hibernating/brainstorming over what wacky adventures he’ll get into next holiday season. I can’t wait to see what he comes up with!

~ Stephanie, Membership Co-Director

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