Uncliqued Creatives: Anna Beyerle, Graphic Designer
You may have booked a photographer for your wedding, or a florist for an event, but the story behind the art is often more beautiful and inspiring than the art itself. Not all artists are the same, and their histories may surprise you. These are their stories - the Uncliqued Creatives.
“As I’ve worked and changed careers, I’ve learned that just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean you have to make that your career.”
Anna Beyerle was good at writing.
So, after working on her high school’s newspaper staff, she followed the logical path into college, studying journalism and political science at the University of Dayton in Ohio.
Beyerle began working on the newspaper staff at her university, but it wasn’t the writing, although she excelled at it, that most enchanted her -- it was working with the designer to put together the front page.
During her junior year, she interned with a political campaign and loved it, but didn’t enjoy the constant pressure to find dirt on the campaign’s opponents. It was the detail-oriented nature of the job, along with the ability to specialize and become an expert on a single subject, she relished.
Upon graduation in 2011, she realized that she didn’t know what she actually wanted to do with her life. She had ruled out politics, and watching as her friends only found jobs at small newspapers in small towns turned her off to the idea of being a newspaper reporter. However, she never regretted the decisions that had brought her to the end of her college career, unsure about the future.
“I don’t believe in regretting anything or wishing you had done something different,” she said, “because, if I had, I wouldn’t be where I am now.”
She decided to move back home and figure out her next steps. That’s when she got a call from a friend who was just finishing a marketing internship with a small nonprofit, the Downtown Dayton Partnership. Her friend told her that she was a perfect fit for the job, and, because she didn’t have anything else lined up, she took the plunge.
“I loved that in marketing I could truly specialize in something and that I was being called on to think on my feet,” she said.
After interning with the Downtown Dayton Partnership for a year, she landed a full time position with them in Cleveland as a communications specialist. It was this work that opened her eyes to her love of transforming something mundane into something attractive and engaging.
“I worked with the graphic designer a lot on quarterly reports, which I know sounds really boring, but we made it something really beautiful,” Beyerle said. “Even though I wasn’t the one creating it, I loved being a part of it.”
After a year as a communications specialist, she then became the one-person marketing team at a high school.
“I realized slowly over the two years I spent there that, more than anything else, I’d rather be designing,” she said. “It just slowly crept up on me. Looking back it was so obvious, but I finally realized this was what I wanted to do.”
With her sights set on a future in design, she began taking design classes at her local community college, and in May 2016, she quit her full-time marketing job to become a freelance designer.
“I feel like I started out with a bit of that imposter syndrome, like, ‘oh no, I’m really not that good at this.’ But over the last couple months, I’ve gained the confidence to say, ‘this is what I do. I’m a designer.’”
In October 2016, she moved to New York City, where she currently freelances part time and works part-time as the graphic designer for a small nonprofit.
She said that freelance work has an interesting stigma to it and that there are people who still don’t completely understand what it is she is doing or why she wouldn’t want a full time job, complete with benefits and paid time off.
“I felt like it wasn’t okay to say that I was freelancing. I felt like I had to make an excuse," she said. “But after a year, I am making about the same as I made in my last full time job. It’s just a lifestyle change. Once you actually get going, you forget the hard parts and remember why you made this decision in the first place.”
Despite the struggles, the positive reactions she kept receiving to her work motivated her and inspired her to continue. She was also shocked to find how rarely it came up in a professional setting that her initial college degree wasn’t in design.
“I’ve never been interviewing for a job where they said, ‘oh you didn’t go to art school? Never mind.”
But her path as a freelance designer has had its share of challenges, often in the shape of legitimizing her work to others.
“In this day and age, people think design is so easy, but you can’t create your brand identity for free,” Beyerle insisted. “Probably less than 25 percent of people who reach out to me actually end up doing anything with me, and I think that’s because people are put off by the cost. People don’t realize that it’s a necessary investment.”
Beyerle said she doesn’t have a traditional 10-year plan, but that she does have big dreams. She wants to focus in on helping nonprofits and small businesses shine via their branding and design materials, but she also wants to add an educational element.
“I really want to use the platform that I have to teach people to do design in the way I wish I had been taught earlier on and to really teach them why design is important,” she said. “I want to educate people on why these things matter.”
But more than anything, she hopes to share with others the power of “finding your creativity and living your passion, no matter what that may be.”
“If there is anyone looking to make a leap, look at how what you’ve done in the past can apply to your future job,” she advised. “It doesn’t have to be an immediate change. I took some classes and freelanced a bit. Just take your time with it. You’ll be so much happier pursuing it, and you’ll get there eventually.”
To learn more about Anna Beyerle’s work, check out her website anchoredcreativestudio.com and some of her favorite designs below.