Today we’d like to introduce you to Amy Robinson.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Amy. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I found a love for graphic design at 24 when I decided to make my own wedding invites (2009). I honestly had no idea that what I was doing was graphic design and over the course of the year (2010), I found myself becoming more interested in it.
I graduated from Glendale Community College in the spring of 2011, and by the fall, I was enrolled in the design program at the Herberger Institute of the Design and Arts at Arizona State University (ASU). I immersed myself in the program finding out that graphic design was, and is, more than just putting pretty pictures together, but that design could literally create change in the world.
My third year in the design program was when this all became clear to me. Our class was assigned a rebranding project for an Arizona local nonprofit; Circle the City – a homeless respite center that addresses all facets of homelessness through medical and holistic care. They had a wonderful mission, but a very minimal budget, which is why they requested the help of the design students from ASU. My team and I became so connected to the mission and purpose of Circle the City. We learned that by assisting them in their design work and rebranding, that donors, doctors, and volunteers would be more likely to trust Circle the City, believe in their mission, and aid the nonprofit in connecting with other volunteers who held the same vision.
I quickly realized that I could make a difference for other nonprofits and small businesses in the same position as Circle the City. Most small businesses and nonprofits leave the graphic design as the last thing on their budgetary priority list or even off of it completely. I started Tiny Fox Creative to give those small businesses and nonprofits a helping hand to launch their passion and have the great visual brand from the beginning setting them up for success. I partner with them to cultivate a well-designed brand (not just a logo) that will be genuine, organic and one of a kind that establishes an identity that stands the test of time.
Has it been a smooth road?
Smooth? Eh, not so much. The hardest part as a small business owner for me has been dealing with the imposter syndrome; there’s that feeling of doubt that sets in and can make you doubt the skills and expertise you know you possess.
With every field, I’m sure there will be some level of imposter syndrome that will creep in. Having an encouraging support system (hubby shout out!) and the village of strong no-nonsense women both in and out of the design field has made those shabby times WAY more bearable.
Graphic design is a hard field all on its own. Any designer will tell you it’s frustrating for a non-designer to start designing for you, because “how hard can it be”? Now, I’m not saying designers know everything- but the esteem can take a hit when a client doesn’t trust what you’ve been trained to do —talk about struggle-bussing. Getting the client to trust the process and my expertise; in spite of well-meaning napkin sketches of revisions on their part, has been a learning curve that easily can ramp up imposter syndrome and anxiety. The silver lining of it all is it has caused me to create processes on how to better balance client on-boarding and the role of the designer, thus kicking that imposter syndrome down a few ticks. But, knowing that I have a village of designers to bounce ideas off of, glean experienced constructive criticism from, and using what I have gained from past experiences has been the most impactful solution.
For me, the best cure for imposter syndrome when it creeps in is to seek out your village, and if you don’t yet have one, create one. Find a few like-minded gals and guys, a significant or a puppy other… or all of the above, who will encourage you, be truthful to you, uplift you, believe in you and your goals, constructively criticize you (the key is constructive) and hold you accountable.
There will be days where quitting seems like it’s a good option, but having a village of boss gals and guys have helped me keep it myself and Tiny Fox Creative in check.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into Tiny Fox Creative story. Tell us more about the business.
As a small business owner myself, I know there are a few unknown small business territories that can be scary (taxes… yeesh!). Graphic design for some small business owners is that very territory. I specialize in working with small businesses and nonprofits to not only establish new branding or elevate their current branding but to educate on WHY good visual branding paired with their mission (not just a logo) is so important. Sure, any designer draws a quick sketch and say it’s perfect, but that would be a complete disservice to that business owner’s passion and mission.
I started Tiny Fox Creative to help small businesses and nonprofits get the boost they need to get recognized by their niche from the beginning. So many businesses sacrifice good design for cheap options and it ends up hurting their business in the long run. My mission is to not only assist businesses in reaching their goals, but also educate them about the power of investing in good graphic design. A $5 logo or even a $50 logo without a brand and brand values can fall apart, leaving the business owner paying more out of pocket to have it redone in the future.
I love helping business owners take their idea to the next level and watching it launch into greatness. I think every business owner, even on a restricted budget should have that. When businesses see their brand come together and begin to understand the reason why behind the processes and above all, seeing their mission shining through the visual brand – it no longer is just a logo, it’s a visual representation of why they started their small business journey in the first place. Enjoying that moment with a client, when they see all of the design principles, their passion and vision come together to visually complete their mission is the moment I’m most proud of.
Do you have any advice for finding a mentor or networking in general? What has worked well for you?
“The worst they can say is ‘no’ but first, you have to ask.”
My mother has told me this so many times and I feel like it has worked well for me because I’m an extrovert. But for those who don’t like to speak up, know that you’re going to have to put yourself out there in order to see the change you desire.
I took the first opportunity I could to join a professional organization (AIGA) and get involved with the design community. Giving back and planning events helped me learn from the best of the best in the industry, gaining mentors and friends along the way. All I had to do was ask if I could take part in the organization and donate my time. From there, I made some of the strongest connections and relationships to date. It’s not always asking what a mentor or organization can do for you, but what you can give back; the mentorship is the added bonus.
Fearing the word “no” can stop you from doing so many amazing things and I personally would hate to live with the regret. Even if I’m afraid, I’ll ask it anyway.
- Visual Branding Packages starting at $400
- Website: www.tinyfoxcreative.com
- Phone: 480-256-9953
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tinyfoxcreative/
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/tinyfoxcreative
Alicia Samone Photography