Being A Pathfinder


In what could be called the most awesome (or cheesiest) pun ever, the idea of me being a “pathfinder” seems pretty amazing.

For any of you not intimately aware of Adobe Illustrator, the Pathfinder set of tools are ways to deal with the basic building blocks– literally shapes, or paths–to be manipulated a variety of ways.

You can blend them, divide them, break some parts up, or make completely separate shape newness with the stuff you’ve combined.

Whether it’s because I live in abstract thinking mode all damn day, or because I’m an endlessly soaking sponge of a Polymath, it’s become enjoyably easy for me to help people see how they can weave their talents and passions into a fully functioning direction– or path– get it?

I can honestly say it started with the hypothesis of The Kubrick Project. During my initial research on 2001: A Space Odyssey, I saw how Kuby came into filmmaking through his passion for photography. Also, let’s all not forget how in love he was with chess. Knowing these two distinct passions lived equally inside of one man, it became an easy assumption that he would strategically weave imagery (and therefore messaging) throughout his movies. It would (could?) almost be involuntary.

Six years later and it certainly seems that way.

When I prepare potential design directions, it’s always a breezy clear path to see how the separate elements can be blended together. Now the same is becoming true for people.

When branding Kaelin’s Strut Mobile Beauty, it became abundantly clear that she was way more than a manicurist, even though she LOVES painting nails and creating artful manicures for her clients, she’s more of a beauty facilitator. She regularly trains in all manners of aesthetic trades from fashion design to eyelash extensions to spray tanning.  She is always learning healthier ways for women to accentuate their natural beauty– and teaches women to be confident, and beautiful as themselves. I’d be willing to bet some of my life on the fact that one day she will be an entire entity for female beauty empowerment. Seriously.

During one of our meetings, a client I was working with on a package of tape confessed to me that she had grown up always wanting to be a farmer. After we were working together for a few months, we had developed a friendship that allowed me to see more of what this client did on her own time. She was constantly invited to join different boards, groups, and associations, and in doing so would help the individual companies (and even the interrelationships between the employees of those companies) find better ways to interact with each other. She was fascinated with learning patterns and methodologies. It only took me 2 months to understand her as a “people farmer”. She was very much working within the tenure of farming, but she wasn’t tending to radishes or cucumbers– but businesses and the people forming said businesses. Making them stronger from the inside out. Sharing this observation with her, she cried from happiness.

And no one benefits more from this observational pathfindering-ability like I do. Through these 8 years, I’ve blended my affinity for language and communicating with science (and methodical thought) logical and spatial problem solving (again, brimming methodical thought), along with some endlessly flexible thinking, and then I apply all of that mental athleticism to visually construct varying styles and mediums. To quote Miss Martha Herself: It’s a good thing.

Thankfully those qualities are broadly summed up through the “designer” role, but since I am not wholly satisfied there, I keep on pushing; picking up new skills, styles of varying industries and markets, and incorporating them with ease like the constantly moving epic amalgamation station that I am. This is how I  work naturally, and before I was aware of all my little facets, I was beyond confused and frustrated in my day to day life. How could I be called a “designer” if I’m not thinking or using my knowledge to solve problems? That’s what design IS. Solving the problems with the pixels and the Photoshop and the what have you. Marketing the Ford Fiesta via banner ad isn’t really solving a problem so much as it’s the task I am working on. Me mushing around pixels never feels like design. It feels like… something else.

For me, design entails communication. Solving, fixing, thinking, and then executing that thought, solution, or proposal. Without the first part, the second part is utterly meaningless (watch out for the flailing ennui, everyone!) It took me a long time to realize it, but hey. I’ve realized it, and I can’t go back now. I claim this as my path–for now: the passionate and conceptually strategic creative director that ventures into many worlds.

I can’t help but think that this blended hybridization of passions and interests are the very future of what jobs will look like. It’s been that way for me, sure, but now as I work my way across my 8th year as a business owner, I know it can be that way for anyone who’s caught the affliction of misplaced passion.

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