Name: Jen Harley
99designs handle: jenhar
How did you get started in design?
I taught myself how to use Photoshop and Illustrator for fun. I never received formal art education or training as a graphic designer.
A couple years ago I designed a flyer for a friend’s birthday party and slowly more and more people started asking me for gig posters. Designing concert posters is really what got me more interested in graphic design — it’s allowed me to practice and get better at it.
How has your design style changed since you first began?
I’m not sure if I have a design style yet. I’m still developing my skills and discovering new techniques, so my style is constantly evolving.
How do you get your inspiration?
For concert posters, I’m often inspired or motivated by the music and artists I work with. They usually come to me with fun ideas that I can flesh out for them.
Other than that, I find inspiration in random things from my life: anything from my lunch to my hobbies to stories people tell me to the forgotten corners of my imagination.
What led you to start using 99designs?
My brother told me about 99designs a few years ago. I was interested in having a new avenue to explore design and used it as a way to build new skills.
It’s really helped me learn more about what a designer needs from a client in order to come up with a successful design.
What are the three most important things that designers can do to have success at 99designs?
Designers at 99designs need to be creative enough to stand out from the others, but also have the ability to surrender to the requests of the clients. This can be a tricky balancing act.
They also need to be pretty resilient. There’s a fair amount of rejection involved in the process and you’ve to be motivated enough to try again.
What do you love most about being a designer?
I like being able to visually express not only my imagination but other people’s imaginations. Not everyone possesses the skill or the desire to physically recreate pictures in their mind, so I do my best to do that for them.
Tell us an interesting fact about yourself!
I spent 6 years at the University of Michigan earning degrees in Molecular Biology and Biomedical Engineering.