Inspiration: Charles S. Anderson

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Tonight, my fellow design-obsessed colleague, Chiara Ojeda, and I stepped into the Digital Art and Design world for a presentation by Charles S. Anderson (learn more about Anderson and CSA Designs here).  Anderson has been working with French Paper Co. for twenty-something years, so it was only fitting that Jerry French himself introduced “Chuck.”

Charles S. Anderson spoke for about an hour and a half and used (to our delight) 220 slides.  His visual presentation was stunning.  His content was strong, meaningful, powerful, and hilarious. That takes care of two legs of Duarte’s three-legged presentation stool.  What was Anderson missing?  Good delivery!  (Call me, Mr. Anderson, and I’ll give you my two-hour delivery workshop.  Your delivery needs to be as dynamic as your career!  I’ll turn you into a public speaking rockstar in no time).  Unfortunately, Anderson asked for the lights to be turned off and then read his entire speech – two big no-nos.

Despite the drawback from the speech delivery, I learned so much from Anderson and felt his honesty, integrity, and sense of humor was refreshing in a world so full of money-hungry, soul-less design firms and companies… and individuals.

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The biggest takeaway, for me, from Anderson’s presentation was that he does the work he does because he lives for design.  During the Q&A session at the end of his speech, a student asked Anderson a question about money versus creativity.  Anderson answered that he lived for his job.  He said he may go into his office for 8 or 9 hours a day, but his entire life is design.  The student asked a follow-up question about advice Anderson would give to students and aspiring designers.  Anderson explained that at the end of the day, you do what you love, and you may make money, but you may not.  The joy in life isn’t the money, but the creative process and spending every waking moment of your life committed to imagination.

Anderson also offered some thoughtful advice for Digital Art and Design students.  He asked students to think about whether taking out $100,000 in student loans for a DAD degree was worth it in the competitive design world where a job can be underbid by hundreds of thousands of dollars.  He argued that an expensive degree may never prove lucrative in a world where salaries are not great… this said at a for-profit school in a venue full of Digital Art and Design faculty and students.  The man has guts.

I was deeply inspired by Anderson’s presentation.

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One thought on “Inspiration: Charles S. Anderson

  1. A truly inspiring night, and his insights on design gave me so much inspiration to create my own work and really cultivate a design aesthetic. I would say more, but I just got home to the farm like 15 minutes ago, and it’s time for some rest before Advanced Grant Writing tomorrow!

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