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Meet Michelle LeClerc

Today we’d like to introduce you to Michelle LeClerc.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Michelle. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I had always been an artist but was told it was more of a hobby than an actual career.

After high school, I pivoted my college focus into teaching and child development. While attending a college orientation for my major at CSUN, however, I was overwhelmed by how uninterested I was in what I was about to learn over the next few years. I looked around and thought, do I really want to do this? So I got up and left. I just wandered around the campus.

When I got to the art department and saw all the projects on display I was immediately jealous. They get to create all day, every day. I’m in for years of multiple choice quizzes and writing cramps. I realized I was the only one stopping myself from doing art. You spend most of your life working, why not do something you love? My major was changed to graphic design the following day.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I started as an intern at Capitol Records which lead me to a design agency that specialized in music packaging and entertainment. The projects were fantastic at first, but as the years progressed and the clients changed, the work became more production-oriented. My role was static and uncreative. I started accepting freelance jobs and pulling all-nighters so that I could continue to create. A portfolio full of graphic design production will only get you more production work, so I made the decision to leave my job and become a freelance designer.

As a freelancer, you get the opportunity to become an expert in everything, but you’re only ever called in to help when the project was due yesterday. For years, I had a poster up in my office that was given to me by my friend Chad Sawyer. It says “We Work Better Under Pressure” in large, imposing letters. Without challenges, it’s hard to improve, but nothing makes you improve faster than a deadline. It was difficult at first, but I was able to thrive.

Michelle LeClerc – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
We strive to add context and meaning to the exponentially growing world of data design through visual storytelling, illustration, graphic design, animation, and strategy.

Recently, we had the pleasure of designing and illustrating the data visualizations for Elizabeth Warren’s book, “This Fight is Our Fight.” This is a project that I am immensely proud of. Warren is an example to all women of someone who not only shatters the glass ceiling but sweeps up the pieces so we don’t cut our toes along the way.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
As a Hitchhiker’s Guide fan, I like to think of it as the ability to throw yourself at the ground and miss. Success is shooting for beyond what you think you’re capable of and getting there.

About 8 years ago, all I wanted was to be my own boss. When I was in the thick of freelance life and working long hours or not working at all, I would think to myself: “All I need is 5 years.” I didn’t know if it was possible, but I convinced myself that in 5 years I’ll have built up enough clients to get steady projects, be my own boss, and make my own hours.

You can’t build a business overnight, but if you’re patient and you continue to do good work, clients will keep coming back and your company will grow. I was able to make my mark with time to spare. Whatever your personal goal for success is, give yourself five years. You’ll be surprised how fast it goes by.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Elizabeth Warren

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