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Rising Stars: Meet Derek Mohr

Today we’d like to introduce you to Derek Mohr. 

Derek, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I actually started out wanting to be in video production, design was a total accident. I drew and read, and even wrote my own (very poor) comic strip cartoons at very young ages, but didn’t really keep up with it as I got into high school. By then, I started to get into making videos with buds, which had turned into my creative release. Once I got to college, I only switched after designing a Shakespeare play into a completely finished book, from cover through ~45 spreads, even though the assignment said 15 would be enough. It really was from that project onward that I needed to design, like, constantly. 

I worked a few different in-house jobs for a few years, then moved to agency life. I also slowly moved less from traditional design work to web development, because it bothered me that I couldn’t create something on screen that looked exactly like I wanted in the real world. In 2019, I ended up landing my true dream job, which was front-end coding with the very talented Mighty in the Midwest team! I really ramped up my logo design gigs around that time, and have been getting some really cool opportunities through that lately. 

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
I don’t think anyone has a smooth road if they want to live as a paid creative person. Learning to balance work-freelance-life was not something I picked up well at all, for years. During the pandemic, I also went through a pretty devastating break-up that involved being separated from my dog, which drained any urge I had to make anything at all for a long time. Later I would find out that I was just going to need to work harder than others to focus on simple organizational tasks. But, after a while that would give me additional time to do the more challenging and creative tasks. Like many, I found out the depths of myself before committing to fulfilling the life I wanted during the pandemic. 

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
My work is pretty often digital. I am doing crafted web development for a majority of my day through an awesome agency, known for being very thorough in their projects. I love that translation of flat image to interactive website, and I’ve gotten WELL past my 10,000 hours at this point! I’m always intrigued by the challenges that our office makes for ourselves to stay at the leading edge of web design trends, it’s like getting assigned to beat a new video game every few weeks. 

However, I’m probably most proud of my freelance logo designs. Branding has gotten more fulfilling for me year after year, and I don’t see it slowing down anytime soon. I have been told I have a very “bold” or “loud” style, which I can’t say is inaccurate. 

If you had to, what characteristic of yours would you give the most credit to?
Curiosity seems to have always gotten me to good places. I don’t hate any work I do, not by a long shot. So, when I get to do something I want to do every day, I can only go further with my exploration! 

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