Nobody is born a designer.

Lemonly’s artists have plenty in common, but our individual stories have been critical in leading us to our jobs and helping us do the best work we can every day. Our backgrounds, upbringings, education, and influences all have a part to play in bringing beautiful visuals to life.

Over months and years of working with each of my fellow designers, I’ve learned a lot – both from them and about them. But we couldn’t just keep all that to ourselves! Here’s what one of Lemonly’s most seasoned designers, Brett Hanes, has to say about his work, inspirations, and aspirations.

1. Describe what you do in five words or less.

Design sweet visuals all day.

2. When did you know you wanted to be a designer?

I don’t recall a particular moment or event that had me convinced, but I was first exposed to the world of design during my time at SDSU. Before that, I wasn’t really sure what a designer was, but I’ve always wanted to make a living being creative somehow.

3. If you weren’t a designer, you’d be a…

Maybe I’d be a carpenter. I could see myself getting into any field where I get to use my hands to make things.

4. Your dream design project is…

I’ve been a hardcore 49ers fan my whole life, so i’d be overjoyed to do a project with the team.

Note: Brett did get to illustrate a few members of his favorite team for a San Francisco infographic a few years ago. Close!

5. What’s your favorite color, and why?

My favorite color has always been blue. It’s rarely found in nature, and most ancient cultures didn’t even have a word for it, which I find really fascinating.

6. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received (and who said it)?

Something my design professors always told me was “Don’t get too attached to your work.” Creatives need to be able to accept criticism without taking it personally.

7. The quality in others you most admire is…

I admire someone with strong confidence, but it’s best paired with humility.

8. You’re secretly really good at…

It’s no secret around the office, but I’m pretty good at drinking large amounts of water when I want to.

9. What contribution will you make to the creative community in the next 10 years?

In the next ten years, hopefully I’ll spend thousands of hours creating things that in some way inspire others. My work has been inspired by so many others, and I want to give that back to the world.

10. What question are you dying to answer that we haven’t asked?

How do you measure the success of design?

11. What’s the answer?

Discerning design’s tangible success is difficult to quantify. There are quantitative factors like marketing metrics, browsing behavior, and ROI, but often, numbers don’t tell the whole story. Every project is different, but I like to factor in both quantitative and qualitative things — the latter having a high level of subjectivity. We can’t measure aesthetic appeal, but we can listen to what people have to say, especially our clients. If a project is solving client problems and they keep coming back with positive feedback, that’s success.

So, there you have it. Next time you see Brett strolling downtown Sioux Falls, you’ll have something more interesting to talk about than the weather.

Feeling inspired by all this design talk? Check out three of his favorite projects during his time as a Lemonhead.