Graphic Design Pro on the Business of Art

by Kimberley McGee
statue of liberty in las vegas wrapped in a hockey shirt

Each week I talk to Las Vegas professionals to get a behind-the-scenes peek into what they do and ask them to offer advice to teens who may be considering a job in that field. Teens homeschooling in Nevada and considering college or moving into a trade school can get to know more about the career they intend to pursue. I’ve recently spoken to an actress and writer, educators at NEAT Services, a tech guru and a marketing director at the YMCA. I also spotlight local teens each week who are entrepreneurs, leaders or influencers in the community. Want to be featured? Email kim@vegaskidszone.com!

The advertisements that stretch over the facade of high rises and even drape over the faux Statue of Liberty in Las Vegas,  are more than mere advertisements, they are works of art and agility. Josh Garcia, Creative Director for Screaming Images, works with clients to bring art to business in unusual ways. The longtime local grand format print and installation company designs and implements graphics for major hotels along the world famous Las Vegas Strip as well as sports arenas and more.

Garcia shared how he combined his passion for art and his unique abilities with needs of the local business community to create a booming business wrapping buildings in beautiful swaths of art with a message.

graphic design in las vegas

How did you get started in graphic design?

I’ve had a love of art since I was a kid. From my first oil painting class at six years old to the advanced design courses I took in college and everything in between, I’ve had a passion for art throughout my entire life and been engaged by anything that allows me to be creative. Everything in my world revolves around art. If I’m not creating, I have a sense of restlessness and uneasiness. Art helps keep me level-minded and happy.

What inspires you?

Life and everything in it. I’m fascinated by visual environments, communication and solving problems, which are all aspects I deal with on a daily basis. Las Vegas is perfect for the constant evolution and artistic stimulation I need. The fast-paced creative demands of the city typically present ample opportunity for problem-solving and thinking on my feet.

What have you gained from your job?

The daily obstacles of my profession typically revolve around figuring out how to accomplish tasks with my varying resources, including timing and the budget of the client. This requires me to get creative at times and has helped increase my business development and communication skills. Being able to recognize the goal of the client and using problem-solving skills to make it happen is incredibly rewarding.

What are the top three skills required to do what you do?

In addition to being creative and having a passion for art, being the Creative Director of a printing company requires a commitment to design, marketing and communications. You have to find a way to take a client’s ideas and fit them into the format or printing medium they’re looking to utilize. This oftentimes requires a good deal of communication, as a client’s initial ideas may not translate to the result they’re expecting. It’s important to remember your expertise in printing and guide them to a proper design.

graphic design work

What were the biggest hurdles to building your business?

Ultimately, as with many professions, building Screaming Images to an industry leader has come down to constructing a team that can consistently provide exceptional work.

 

How did you overcome them?

The atmosphere and environment of Screaming Images is incredibly important to us. Providing benefits and incentives that allow people to have upward mobility, produces a better work environment, happier team members and ultimately, better work.  Our team members are more like brand ambassadors for the company. They are NOT a number. We’re very much like a family and value each and every member of the Screaming Images team.

 

What do you think is the most memorable moment of your career?

Working with Coca Cola to produce several new concepts for one of their new products, has been one of the highlights of my career. Not only was the product catapulted to the top, but due to my work on the project, I was recognized with several ADDY Awards, as well as being named as a finalist for a prestigious OBIE Award. Truly an honor, as these are some of the top awards you can receive as a designer.

What other leaders do you look up to?

Steve Jobs had the distinct ability to know what the market wanted and the eye to continue designing products that revolutionized the industry time and time again. He was able to not only understand what the tech industry was currently doing, but to look forward and predict what was going to happen, which is how I strive to be as a Creative Director. I not only attempt to give the client what they’ve asked for, but to take that extra step and predict what they may need in the future to help their campaign “scream.”

What advice can you give to someone who wants to enter your field?

Stay the course. It’s an incredibly competitive industry, but if you have a passion for the field and stay the course, it will happen for you. It’s also important to never stop learning and continue to refine the way you see art. Understand how to make it work, the words, the art and the methods of delivery.

 

What are your future focus areas?

Continue to focus on new products, establish new divisions at Screaming Images and continuing to improve on manufacturing efficiencies, to make the company more successful.  As the world continues to evolve, the methods of delivering a message will become more competitive and complex. It’s important to stay on top of the industry and continue to grow as a Creative Director and a company.

 

What advice would you give teens who are considering a career in your field? 

It’s vital to understand the differences between the arts and the business world and how they need each other for success.

 

 

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