When I didn’t know exactly what a vector was and designed with an illegal version of Photoshop, my best friend let me design the sign for his storefront. Some years later that sign is still standing. And though it makes me cringe a bit, it reminds me of how much I've improved at my craft. It's still something to be proud of.
But bigger than that its a personal symbol of support, trust and most importantly, friendship.
My best friend could've asked me to do it for free, I had zero to little experience in graphic design at the time and knew nothing about designing for large scale print. Better yet he could've gone the safe route and hired a professional. I honestly don't know why exactly he gave me the opportunity. I don't know if he set out to make me feel more confident about my future as a designer. I don't know if he thought my portfolio could use a boost. I don't know if he knew I could use the money at the time.
But what I do know is all three of those things were true and for all those things, even years later, I'm incredibly grateful.
I'm lucky to have a friend like him, and during that time I was lucky to receive an opportunity from him. It's very rare that our friends do anything tangible to assist in our professional development or livelihood. And honestly, that's not their place. Adulting, career building, and survival are very personal, sometimes lonely and very human tasks. But imagine if your circle of friends actively worked together to improve each other's lives, professionally.
Sending each other referrals, giving each other contracts, giving each other leads and anything else to promote each other's professional advancement.
It sounds utopian but it's quite possible. Entire communities thrive off of nepotism, cronyism and on a larger level nationalism. Keeping it in the family as they say. But as you know these practices are not as common as they used to be. So if you're lucky enough to have a friend like mine, cherish them. And do your best to pay it forward.
Always remember 3 things:
No one owes you anything
Quality is of the utmost importance when working for a friend
Leveraging friendships for professional advancement is dirtbag shit.
Let's do more to help each other out here.
- Earl 'Wolf' Davis