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Meet Anoki Casey of

Today we’d like to introduce you to Anoki Casey.

Anoki, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I could say it all started while working those afterhours nights on the high school newspaper, but I’d definitely say my career began upon meeting my college professor, Sheena Calvert. Graduating with art school dreams in comic book illustration, I was accepted into the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers in NJ to discover Graphic Design was my closest bet. After a few semesters, I quickly found myself working at a $99 logo design shop, then heading the publications department at the local health center.

Upon graduation in 2000, I began designing full-time at my New York City internship until 9/11 sent me to Philadelphia where I worked for years as an art director at a downtown advertising firm. My skills in print and web grew while creating for such clients as The University of the Arts, Verizon, and Kimberly-Clark. Breaking from advertising and focusing more on branding and marketing with my friend Sara Hodgson, we helped primarily non-profit, small business, and community-focused clients. Since moving to San Diego, I enjoy working locally and across the country to help many clients achieve their goals, such as Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital, SEIU, FamilyConnections, Stanford University, and The Center for Policy Initiatives.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
My entire career has been primarily one of freelance, so the balance between budget, timing, and taxes has always been a challenge. Even when I worked in advertising I was a sole-proprietor, but striking out on my own definitely opened my eyes to a new type of budgeting and saving. No longer did I have a regular paycheck, but over the years I’ve had to learn how to save and stretch when my client’s goals have not yet fully ripened, let alone my share. The world of freelance taxes is a varied landscape, where two designers may have widely different situations. I’ve been lucky to find good tax preparers.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about – what should we know?
My focus is on branding and marketing, and this takes the form of logo development, outreach materials, website creation, and online advertising. Although I love developing logos and illustrations, I do print work of all types, from business cards to book design to full event planning. I pride myself on working primarily with non-profit organizations, small businesses, and start-ups, but have many artists and creatives as clients. When it comes to volunteer-based or community-focused groups, I feel I can match their needs, speed, and limitations. I enjoy making things “work” beyond what they thought they could achieve with the usually limited resources at their disposal. Ultimately my work goes to expand those resources, and share that journey.

Having worked in a variety of spaces for the last 20+ years, I now primarily produce from my home office which allows me a certain quick flexibility to design for a variety of businesses and organizations from all over. This allows me to keep my billing lean and goals reachable for my clients. And I’m fun to talk to on the phone!

Some achievements over the years has been my co-authoring of a college text book “Graphic Design School: A Foundation Course in Principles and Practice”; designing a successful million-dollar fundraising campaign to build the Delaware Children’s Museum; winning multiple Gold Awards in the 2007 Admissions Marketing Association for my advertising work with UArts; and I am celebrating my 10th year working with Main Line Health Services’ Art Ability Exhibition.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
For my line of work, speed and understanding are two key factors to success. Many of my clients are tackling not only our shared project but their desk is usually full of other responsibilities, so I strive to quickly ascertain what’s needed and get it back to them in a timely fashion. I always hear back “That was fast!” I’ve immersed myself in all sorts of visual styles and efforts over the years, so I have developed a knack for creatively matching up color, tone, and type. Always remembering the main audience, I work toward clean typography, clear iconography, and have a habit of bringing more out in the work then what was imagined.

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