Published on April 13th, 2018 | by Brandon H0
Mark Alvarado Discusses Graphic Design and Archery
Mark Alvarado’s work has been featured in many top companies. He is one of the youngest but yet most innovative graphic design artist. He has traveled to places like Germany and Austria to work for high profile firms. His beginnings are rooted in his hometown in the Silicon Valley, Palo Alto. Mark Alvarado graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He has many passions but finds resiliency in archery. His hard work ethic growing up has earned him a spot as the most sought out computer artist among top company marketers.
What is your favorite book?
I am a huge Simon Sinek reader. I like his perspective on how companies become successful. My favorite book from him is “Start with Why.” This book has revolutionized my life because it challenged me to align my passions with what I am doing. It has also challenged me in regards to thinking about the fact that “understanding my why” can get me through rough days. Without my “why” I am aimlessly trying to be good at something that I would not have a passion for. Graphic design has pushed me as my passion to say no to jobs that may have paid more, but I am happier now because I am doing something that I am passionate about.
What is my favorite type of food?
Growing up in college has taught me to love Vietnamese food. I thought ramen was the best food that noodles can bring, but my friends introduced me to Pho, and I have never grown tired of it. I bought a house in Texas, and in Texas, the larger cities mix styles of food that surprisingly mix well together. I have found out that Cajun and Vietnamese food mix very well. The combination of southern spiciness and Asian cuisine makes my tongue dance; it is something that should be a staple all across the United States.
What’s the best advice that you’ve ever received?
The best advice that I have ever received is to take my time doing it right in the first place. I have received this advice from a customer during my lawn mowing days in high school. I did not do such a great job, and he let me know all about it. I took that criticism constructively; it is a principle that I continue to live by every day of my life. I see many of my colleagues pretend to work on a design for a long time only turning in something to their client that they have completed the night before. Sometimes we can find shortcuts, but those shortcuts can rob us of the ability to do things right in a more efficient way. Speeding is a problem that a lot of graphic designers commit. When I say speeding, I do not mean racing down the highway above the speed limit; I mean we often do shortcuts like recycle designs from past clients or use premade templates that have worked from other designers. Clients appreciate uniqueness because they want to be represented as something different. Doing things right from the “get-go” of a project has taught me to be efficient in designing things from scratch. My designs are unlike any others because I take the time to create everything about it without recycling it.
What is your favorite thing about working in your industry?
My favorite thing about graphic design is the challenge of creating something that will set up a firm to reach the next level. It may be a startup or a struggling business, but I like it when my design has given each of those firms that I am helping an identity that catches people’s eyes. Sometimes the best companies go unnoticed, but my goal is to change that. There are so many companies out there that can do better if only they had better marketing. I have helped firms and worked with marketers with logo campaigns, complex projects, and events. I believe that first impressions are lasting impressions, and often a good design shows professionality and quality service.
What was your first job?
My first job was lawn mowing as a teenager. This has given me the work ethic that I have now and has taught me to be competitive. Ironically, I had an edge in my business because I knew how to design flyers that caught the attention of my prospects. Through that job, I found my real passion in graphic design. Other small businesses in my town noticed my talent and offered me money to recreate their poster or logo. From there, I saw a tremendous opportunity as a graphic design artist to help my community and earn a living. I am glad to say that those companies are thriving today and are still using my design from 10 years ago.