#WinningWednesday: Is It Time to Stop Judging Designers by Age?

Tom Anders Watkins Take risks and conquer your fears and people will take notice of you and your work. Tom Anders Watkins is only 19 years old, but his work has been recognized by Adobe, featured on Creative Bloq, GraphicDesign.com, and Behance!

Tom Anders Watkins

Website | Behance | Twitter

Tom is a half English, half Finnish creative advertising student at the University of Lincoln in the UK. With all of the write-ups and featured articles he received, you would think that freelancing is his career. Not so! Despite the amount of attention his graphic design work has received, he’s currently using his freelancing business as a way to help pay for his university studies.

Tom often spends his nights and weekends working on new design products instead of going out and partying like the typical college student. His dedication to improving his creative abilities has helped him manage a successful side business to pay for furthering his education.

“It feels fantastic to be part of such a great international design community, knowing that people also enjoy using my items only makes my smile broader. The money will certainly help push me through my education and overwhelming food bill.”

His primary money-maker is selling design templates and photography actions on Creativemarket.com. His sharp business skills have earned him articles featuring his small business and what drives his success; bundled deals, limited time offers, and fantastic product packaging.

Technique sells his skill

“I guess my design ‘career’ really started with my eyes lighting up as I played with Photoshop for the first time at my dads work.”

The design industry focused their attention on Tom when his animal logo design work was featured on Behance, and from there he’s earned the attention of several well-known graphic design blogs for his works.

Advertising and design go hand-in-hand, and I advocate that a designer needs both to understand what makes a successful design. This is not a problem for Tom because his education and business clearly provide him with the knowledge!

His work reflects a deep understanding of technique and a thorough understanding of simplifying designs with shape with no cumbersome overcrowding of the design. And he’s only a student!

Frog logo design by Tom Anders

Bird logo design by Tom Anders

octopus logo design by Tom Anders

Tiger logo design by Tom Anders

Shark logo design by Tom Anders

Wolf logo design by Tom Anders

Stag logo design by Tom Anders

Tom continues to inspire the industry

While his animal logos were a huge hit during the early summer, what drew my attention to Tom was his latest amazing design!

Tom created the winning design for the Adobe 2014 Creative Jam in London on November 4th. Adobe invited 10 creative designers to take part in a three hour design challenge for a single prize. The brief was extremely simple; your creative muse.

Tom’s muse was people who take risks and innovators in general.

“The design depicts Felix Baumgartner’s heroic Space Jump, and acts as a reminder (especially for me) to take risks, and conquer your fears.”

Here’s his winning design:

Take Risks by Tom Anders

He received a number of comments from people saying they would love to buy the winning Adobe artwork, and Tom, business man that he is, has now started to offer it for sale as prints! (Super smart!)

So what can we learn from Tom?

Tom’s story reflects the truth that all freelance designers come to understand; you are a business first and you must treat your business with utmost seriousness.

Be sure to have a firm idea about what sells your product. If you are consistently putting out your best work at all times, when the spotlight turns to you, you have something worthwhile to show professionals.

I can’t wait to see what Tom does next!

Technology has made it possible for the young designers to learn technique and access software earlier and earlier in their careers. Is it time for the design industry to stop judging designers by their age?

kathleen@zilliondesigns.com'

Kathleen Burns


Kathleen is a New Jersey blogger with an interest in brand design and a passion for graphic design, illustration, and social media. She loves to deliver inspiration to others to give them the means to achieve their branding and design goals.

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