Our designers are tasked with creating the visual content our team produces every day. They are essential to our marketing campaigns, our sales strategies, and so much more. Today, we’re very excited to introduce Ryan Hizer, our Creative Manager. Ryan has been an invaluable asset in so many areas, perhaps most notably in the evolution of the look and feel of our brand to better connect with our partners.
Ryan graduated from West Virginia University in 2006 with a degree in Psychology. However, design was always appealing to him, and he knew his degree in Psychology would help understand customer behavior and incentives. After spending some time in the music industry as a local artist and producer, Ryan made the move to Pittsburgh and began an internship with ShowClix as a Web & Graphic Design Intern in 2012. A year later he accepted a full-time position as a Designer/Front-End-Developer, where he, among many other responsibilities, developed digital assets to accompany our sales and marketing resources.
Today, Ryan oversees our Design team as Creative Manager, a role in which he is constantly developing new and noteworthy ideas to improve our visuals and web presence, and to further cement our brand recognition within the event technology industry. When he’s not working, he can be found doing production work for local music shows or working as a guest instructor at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, helping kids explore their creativity!
Take us through a week in the work life of Ryan Hizer.
The only typical thing about my week is that I’m always ready to re-prioritize, because ASAP projects routinely pop up unannounced. Our workload is an accumulation of internal and external projects, most of which are planned for in silos. Often by the time a project reaches a designer, someone is already waiting for the thing you’ve been asked to make. Much of our time is spent giving shape to someone’s idea. On a small team, it’s important to quickly address those urgent requests so we can stay focused on large long-term projects.
You’ve been with ShowClix for five years now, and in that time you’ve watched the digital landscape continuously evolve. How do you think online design resources have influenced the graphic design being produced today?
In good and bad ways, like anything else. Design evolution occurs faster today because the online community is quick to identify bad practices and render them obsolete. Trend lifespans are much shorter and the community has solved a lot of design problems that keep us from constantly reinventing the wheel.
The downside is a general homogenization of design. The fact that many problems have widely accepted solutions means the world is full of work that’s created using similar, if not identical playbooks. It’s as if you hosted a potluck and everyone brought a cake made from the same recipe. Readily available solutions make crafting distinct work difficult, but it’s possible if you focus less on minutiae and more on the big picture. Online resources might prevent designers from reinventing the wheel, but sometimes they’re working on a whole car. It’s good to keep your eye on making a cool car.
What is one aspect of design you want to help people understand?
That everyone is a designer in some way. The way you speak to a customer is designed, release timelines are designed, spreadsheets are designed – any process that facilitates a goal is a product of design thinking. Knowing how to Photoshop stuff is only a sliver of that world.
Your job is a creative one, as you’re constantly creating assets and layouts that are visually appealing to our audience, while conveying a specific message. Where do you get your inspiration from?
I like things that respect the audience’s intelligence, but are simple enough for children to understand. The best stuff feels intuitive and rewards exploration. A good deal of our projects are pretty straightforward and don’t call for a crazy level of depth, but that’s where I try to keep my brain.
What do you do outside of work?
I work on a lot of music. I have a home studio with a large and financially irresponsible collection of synthesizers. I do production work for a few local artists, both at home or at proper studios around the city. I’m in several bands and I’m always recording or rehearsing for something. I’m also an occasional guest instructor at the Children’s Museum, where I help kids make art and show them how to eat pizza. If I’m not doing any of those things, I’m probably getting way in over my head on a home renovation project. I don’t leave a lot of downtime for myself; I like to stay busy.