“There are three responses to a piece of design – yes, no, and WOW!
To begin with, Philip VanDusen is a Strategic Brand Expert, who specializes in Graphic Design and Product Development. With a vast experience of over 20 years, previously, Philip held the position of Vice President, Head of Design for Global Snacks at PepsiCo. and currently, He is the Principal of Verhaal Brand Design, a strategic design & brand consultancy.
It is always a difficult task to define creativity in plain words. Similar is the case with creative individuals. You can Read more about him on the Verhaal Brand Design – About Us Section.
A creative or artistic inspiration:
“Inspiration (from the Latin inspire, meaning “to breathe into”). Refers to an unconscious burst of creativity. In a literary, musical, or artistic endeavor”. Moreover, there is something unique about sharing an expert opinion. It may reflect on your outlook. Here is one of my favorite videos from Philip –
An interview with Philip VanDusen-
Principal + CCO, Verhaal Brand Design
How did you start out in your career?
What came after that?
What are you doing now?
How do people describe you?
Well, the headhunters who I’ve worked with have always characterized me the perfect left/right brain mix of creative expertise and strategic business sense. I’ve always been a creative thinker and doer, but I have always been unusually organized, analytical, adept at finances coupled with strong emotional intelligence – which is what has allowed me to be so successful in my career as a creative executive leading designers. I’ve always been passionate about learning new things and seeking out inspiration to keep my creative fires burning. Folks say I’m basically a good guy, down to earth and that I care about helping people grow and learn – which is true.
What are your greatest strengths and greatest weaknesses?
I think my greatest strength is my ability to communicate. I can communicate with designers in the way that they understand and take in information and I can communicate with clients in a way they feel heard, cared for and that I will help them solve their problems. My dad was a journalist and I learned to write well and to present ideas well from a very early age. That has been essential in my career and in my agency business. It’s also a skill I stress heavily with all the creative professionals I coach.
My greatest weakness?
I’d probably say that I’m kind of a workaholic. I know, it’s a classic “job interview” response, but in my case, it’s really true. I love what I do so much and I have so many goals and plans that I find it hard to turn off. It’s gotten even harder since I’ve become more of an entrepreneur. Finding that ever-elusive work/life balance is the struggle of almost every entrepreneur I know.
How do you stay creatively inspired?
I am a voracious consumer of inspiration. I gather imagery, ideas, and ideas from a huge range of sources. When I was Old Navy I traveled the world a couple times a year. I would go to Tokyo, Milan, Paris, London, Berlin, Antwerp shopping hundreds of stores looking for graphic inspiration for apparel. But I was also looking at the industrial design, print design, digital design, retail design, architecture, signage. I learned how to trend hunt. It was part of my job. That experience helped me grow a strong “observation muscle” that has served me in well throughout my career.
What advice do you have for creative professionals today?
I spent the majority of my career working for large agencies and corporations. I was well compensated and I had a ton of resources at my disposal: human resources, technical resources, financial resources. It was comfortable. But the work environment for designers is changing. There isn’t the same security in the workplace as there used to be. My strongest advice is to start building an independent personal brand that you own. Don’t put all your eggs in the basket of your employer. You can be dropped at any time.
Build a brand, a website, a social media presence, a content presence, a portfolio that is only yours. Statistics show that by 2025 over 50% of workers in the USA will be independent contractors. Think about that for a minute! They will be on their own, responsible for their own success, their own business development, their own client base, their own finances, their own marketing. My advice is if you haven’t started building the brand of you, then start now, even if you are employed. Especially if you are employed – because then you have a financial cushion as you are doing it. And it takes time and lots of courage and work.