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How I Became a Graphic Designer - My Story & Struggles Pt. 1

You may know Chris Do as a supremely confident, talented design professional.

But he wasn’t always this way. In this video, Chris sits down with CSUN design professor, Jung Hong, and recalls how he became a graphic designer. It’s an intimate conversation where Chris openly shares his stories and struggles in his pursuit to become a designer.

Growing up in the 80s, Chris had seen himself as more of an artist than a designer. In fact, the word ‘designer’ wasn’t even part of his vocabulary yet. Throughout high school, he was sure about a career as an artist.

That was, until, he landed his first job working at a Silk Screening Shop in LA. His first real design job was as a tracer, tracing his boss’s drawings to print.

On one fateful, sunny day in LA, Chris was asked to run an errand that would soon change the course of his career. He was asked to pick up a typeset from a designer in the LA area.

Arriving early, Chris was invited inside to wait. As he walked in and through the hall, he turned the corner into the designer’s home studio and was blown away. Seeing this designer’s work opened the door to a new possibility for Chris, serving as a significant turning point in his life.

Chris made a promise to himself to hold himself accountable to this new path. He set up a social contract with friends and family, and told everyone, one day, he was going to attend ArtCenter.

Two years. That’s how long he needed to put his portfolio together to get into ArtCenter.

But, as a young guy in his 20s, Chris ran into some hiccups. He lived with his older brother and wasn’t the most responsible roommate. He procrastinated on homework assignments while studying at community college. He wasn’t abiding by his social contract.

It wasn’t until he got on the phone with his mom and she said the words that completely broke Chris’s heart, “you can go to San Jose State.” She knew Chris was putting himself under a lot of pressure to get into ArtCenter. But he didn’t want to give up.

It was heartbreaking to know that the one person who stood by his dream and supported it would even consider another option. Hearing her words brought on a moment of transformation for Chris.

He knew he needed to change things. He could either keep going down a dark, negative path, or he could prove others wrong and accomplish what he’d always said he would.

A month and a half. That’s how long it took for Chris to put his portfolio together to apply to ArtCenter. His professor’s boyfriend at the time was a student from ArtCenter and helped Chris critique his work. He hunkered down, honed in on his goal, and worked to make it happen.

This moment of transformation was a huge turning point in Chris’s life. If you want to learn more about his story and struggles to become a graphic designer, watch the full video.

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