Design & Multi-Media Career Tips From Nicki Hart: YouTube Star, Extraordinary Teacher, Creative Director

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I came across Nicki Hart’s YouTube channel after I had watched tens of different instructional videos and was getting desperate. My InDesign project was stuck and none of the videos I had watched so far had clear and complete instructions.

What really distinguished Nicki’s video was that she anticipated the challenges a designer would face which demonstrated her real world experience. Her experience and knowledge showed in the instructions she gave and for the first time I was able to complete my InDesign project. I was so excited I stayed late at work (9PM!) on a Friday evening – happily designing my booklet in InDesign and then successfully printing it. I am really happy that Nicki shared her knowledge in the instructional videos.

I approached her for an interview so she could share some tips with us and she agreed! Here’s the interview with Nicki:


Shannon: Your InDesign videos are among the best I have seen in terms of usefulness, clear details and relevant information. Tell us a bit about yourself. What do you do, how you started creating these videos…

Nicky: Thank you! I’m a creative by nature and love all things artistic. As such I’m a digital artist, photographer and avid piano player! I currently own and operate Multi-Designs, a full-service creative agency that specializes in complete marketing campaigns for authors, non profits and small businesses. We work with our clients to build a strong brand identity that translates into online and offline channels such as websites, social media, video commercials, print promo and more.

Once I started working more in design, I really felt a need to share my experiences and expertise with others. I learned a lot on my own and wanted to make it easier for creatives to jump into design technology and become better designers. My Youtube channel, Design Like a Pro, was launched in order to accomplish that in 2010. Today I’m happy to share design tutorials with over 13,000 subscribers. I’ve also partnered with Tutsplus.com to create longer more in depth design courses. Over the last 3 years, I have produced over 23 design courses. I devote time each week to answer every comment and email I receive from designers. I feel it’s so important to connect with my audience and I can’t cover everything in a short video. I love hearing from people who watch my videos and are able to improve their skills because of them!

Shannon: What are some of your most favorite tools and resources? What are your most popular videos we can highlight for our readers?

Nicky: I am a super fan of technology and love trying out new tools to improve my workflows. I couldn’t live without Photoshop and InDesign on the daily, but also adore Photo Mechanic for rating and sorting photos quickly, daPulse and Trello for project management, Google Apps and Evernote for keeping my notes and task lists in check.

When I first started out in design I loved the tutorials in Advanced Photoshop Magazine. Fun fact, my very first digital abstract painting was featured on the cover of their 50th issue along with 49 other digital artists! I also used the collection of sites available at tutsplus.com for all things Photoshop and InDesign before I started producing courses for them.

My most popular videos were created 4 years ago and show you how to design a magazine and book cover. Self publishing is a hot industry and many people are doing a lot more on their own in regards to magazine and book publishing. The techniques I taught then are still very relevant today even if you are using newer software.

What are some tips you would give to people starting out in digital publishing, multimedia today? Where are the opportunities and how do they begin – go to school, learn themselves?

The best advice I can give is to keep practicing and realize there is more than one way to go about a design problem. It’s an investment to learn and grow as a designer. While I did go to college, I also learned a lot on my own. I created fake projects just to practice designing and grow my portfolio. I searched the internet for advice and tutorials on specific skills I wanted to learn and I said yes to things I’d never done just so I could learn how to do them.

Also, don’t underestimate the power of a good network of professionals. I didn’t do any of what I do completely alone. I’m constantly active in my community by attending art events, volunteering on boards, etc. I have cultivated a great group of people throughout television, marketing and business who are experts in their respective fields, and continue to help me with my client projects at Multi-Designs. They also help bring awesome opportunities I may never have thought of before.

It’s the combination of these opportunities that make my creative world extra special and I wouldn’t be where I am today had I not been open to receiving them.

 

Nicki is Owner/Creative Director of Multi-Designs. She works with clients on web, print, photography and new media projects specializing in complete marketing campaigns for authors. She currently works with clients all over the world. She shares design tips and tutorials through Digital Hart Studios’s latest venture, Design Like a Pro, on Youtube and Tuts+

Nicki Hart’s Videos and WebPage: http://tutsplus.com/authors/nicki-hart

Note: We visited and reviewed several different videos created by Nicki. The vidoes help to make Nicki’s profile and work visible to people. However what shines through is that each video is created with care, with a view to truly helping the viewer. This is the real reason for her success. This is the secret of viral marketing. There is no silver bullet – but if you bring sincerity, true knowledge and true passion to the content you create for the internet – it will be appreciated and it will in turn bring you success. Thank you Nicky for sharing your knowledge with us!