Today we’d like to introduce you to Ann Dang.
Ann, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Design is my passion. I got my start as a packaging designer working with brands like Starbucks, Godiva, and Ghirardelli. I created some pretty amazing stuff and ate a lot of chocolate along the way. Then I went on to become the lead designer at a luxury real estate agency in Beverly Hills, where I spearheaded the company’s rebranding. This is one of my most proud design accomplishments. Soon after that, I landed my dream job as a senior graphic designer for Barbie. I can happily say that I bleed pink, Pantone 219C pink to be exact. I do what I love and absolutely love what I do.
When I’m not working on awesome design projects, you can find me en route to my next adventure with a sketchbook in hand. I once sketched my way across 24 countries. Traveling allows me to draw inspiration (pun intended) from the wonderful world around me. I let my wanderlust lead the way and travel every chance I get. So far, I’ve been to 31 countries and counting. Since my day job keeps me behind the computer, exploring new places and traveling lets me tap into a different part of my creativity. It allows me to doodle as much as I want, come up with fun typography, and experience what the rest of the design world is up to. I recently picked up water coloring to add to my sketchbook. I’m that crazy person who sits in the middle of the sidewalk on a busy street just to get a perfect view of a historic building so I can sketch and paint it. Documenting my travels through drawing encourages me to sit down, truly appreciate my surroundings and be completely present in that moment. Plus, I get to meet some pretty cool people along the way. In Florence, an elderly man once fell asleep on my shoulder while watching me sketch. I didn’t get the chance to finish my sketch that day, but I got to return four years later and sat on the same bench to complete it then. It’s amazing the beautiful places I’ve gone with my sketchbook. It holds some of my fondest memories and greatest adventures.
Has it been a smooth road?
It definitely wasn’t a smooth road or a straight one at that. I started college as a biology major thinking I was going to be a pharmacist. After working as a pharmacy technician for four years, I knew it wasn’t for me. I’ve always had a passion for art so switched my major half way through college to Studio Art. After graduating, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my art degree so I went back to school to study graphic design. After sleepless nights and learning from amazing professors and mentors, I found my niche in the art and design world. I couldn’t be happier with where my design career is headed. I would like to think that my unique past, and the winding path I took to get here, makes me the designer and illustrator I am today – one who embraces the unexpected roads and unpredictable adventures around every turn.
What’s the hardest part of your job?
The hardest part of my job is also one of the most rewarding parts. As a designer, I’m constantly getting projects that are out of my comfort zone – something I’ve never done before. The projects that challenge me are the ones that push my limits and ultimately force me to learn new skills. Getting out of my comfort zone helps me grow as a creative and keeps me on my toes. It’s such a satisfying moment when all the hard work pays off, the client is happy and I created something I’m proud of.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Success is when I look forward to waking up every morning and going to work – to have the opportunity to create something new everyday. I love what I do, so to have a job that I’m passionate about is pretty priceless.
So, what should we be on the lookout for, what’s next in store for you?
Design is always my first love, but traveling is a very close second. I’ve been to 31 countries, so I only have 165 countries left to explore! Morocco is up next and I’m beyond excited to discover the culture and all the gorgeous patterns it has to offer. It’s amazing how much creative inspiration and wonderful designs I get to see when I’m traveling. While design is something I know I’ll always do, I hope to continue capturing the beauty of this world through my sketchbook.