Danny Rutledge who’s awesome side project is Superduper, also works for a couple of studios in Brooklyn, but originally studied in Aerospace Engineering and then after failing that became an artsy dude! Danny tells us how portfolios shouldn’t be over branded, but should show your personality throughout. Also how new grads also need to try a lot, fail a lot and learn a lot!
Give us the elevator pitch on what you do. Hi, hi, I’m Danny. Floridian boy turned Brooklyn boy, currently a designer at Carrot Creative / VICE Media and run my own little side hustle called Superduper where I create and sell some stuff.
Where did you study and what were some of your first jobs? I studied at the University of Florida, originally in Aerospace Engineering and then after I failed at that became an artsy dude. My first design jobs were working for the University, a small start up, interning with Topshelf Records in Boston, and designing in-house for Zumiez in Seattle.
Any passion projects you would like to share? I’m always working on some side passion project. Currently its my small business Superduper, where I sell pins and patches and keychains and such. I’m also working on a zine series called Bummer which should be available sometime in October. Also have a few app / game things in the works. Fun design stuff.
What do you look for in a great portfolio? Presentation first generally. If your website is nonexistent or shit, fix that. There’s so many website tools at your disposal that you don’t need to know a line of code to make one. Shouldn’t be over branded, but should show your personality throughout. Choose great thumbnails. Hide shit in there too, I love finding secrets in other designer’s portfolios or studio sites. Photograph all your work, mockups look like mockups, make sure its mobile optimized, and if there’s work you’re not hyped about replace it with something else.
What advice would you give students starting out? Try a lot, fail a lot, learn a lot. I see a lot of design students graduate and then kind of just stop designing as they are looking for jobs in hopes that their college portfolio will be enough. It’s not. If you want to be a designer, be an active one. Do passion projects, find freelance, make a business, whatever you want, you can do it. Just don’t sit idly waiting.
2016 for you in a sentence. No one told me about almond croissants until this year.
What role do you think TDK plays in the design industry and how has TDK personally helped you? I think TDK can play a huge role in the design industry. I know AIGA, Dribbble meet ups ect. attract a variety of people and I think it’s amazing what TDK does for young designers starting out and providing them with advice and experiences they need at the beginning of their careers.
What do you think TDK can do better to build the design community in your city? Definitely more meet ups and events, using the wealth of different design studios and companies here in New York to host and sponsor certain ones. Pop up shops, portfolio reviews, drinks and draws, pickup designer basketball games, whatevs.