In this installment of Our Stories, Aaron shares how he became a self-taught graphic designer….For many people, Jamaica is pictured as an island paradise – white sandy beaches, a beautiful and vivacious culture, rich and wholesome food, and attractive people. And while that image is not far from the truth, if the lens is focused on the inspirational stories of ordinary Jamaicans, you’d find a sharper, richer and truer image of the Jamaican experience…this is Our Stories!
“Choose a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”… sometimes this is easier said than done, particularly when reality navigates our lives elsewhere. In this situation, many of us will find ourselves having a moderate level of satisfaction with our jobs while others will develop a sense of devotion to it. Yet there are few who are brought before their destiny again, whom, with persistence and creative thinking, move vigorously on the path to attaining their passion.
Meet Aaron Whyte: Founder of TSO Designs and Entertainment
Aaron is no stranger to the practical demands of the working world and the challenges that lie therein. His conviction in his career aspiration driven by his intense passion for art enabled him to develop his talent in graphic designing without having received any formal training or mentorship in the craft.
1. When did you first take notice of graphic designing as a form of art?
In high school, my peers had known that I had a talent for art. They suggested it to me at the time but I didn’t consider it seriously then. I was focused on music.
2. How did you get involved in graphic designing since your initial focus was music?
After leaving high school I began working with a recording artiste who I met through someone we both knew. My father had an interest in music which we shared although he wasn’t involved in my life. He was known in my community for his musical talent and when they (persons in my community) saw that I had talent as well they encouraged me to pursue it. It was one of these persons who allowed me to form a relationship with the artiste so that I could work with him. He (the recording artiste) wanted to start up a digital café which offered music, promotional and graphic design services. Because I was the only person working there, I had to develop graphic designing skills to remain relevant…The business idea was later scrapped but I continued to learn and gain experience in graphic designing after I left.
3. How did you continue to develop your graphic designing skills without any formal training or employment?
I ended up taking up jobs at digital labs, photo studios and other places to make enough money to buy the equipment I needed (to continue graphic designing). The money I was making wasn’t enough to get the equipment I wanted and although working at these places is a part of a graphic designer’s start-up, the time I was spending there was no longer pushing me where I needed to be. I left to focus on my own work.
4. How were you able to focus on graphic designing after leaving?
I started by working on small projects for friends and relatives while I familiarized myself with graphic designing software in the process. Now I’m able to design event flyers, product labels and create abstract designs. I really gained a lot of experience by doing this. I was even able to design large banners for professional organizations.
5. What services does your company currently offer and do they include music services as well?
Yes, the company does offer music services and promotional services which include producing mix-tape covers. I also design flyers, posters, logos, programmes, brochures, labels, offer professional photo editing.
6. Who are your main clients?
I mainly offer graphic design services to business organizations, schools, manufacturing companies and individuals hosting personal events. Clients of the entertainment services are mostly recording artists and social media personalities.
7. How long has your multifaceted business been in operation and what challenges have you faced since its inception?
I officially started the business in 2015 and since then I’ve faced many challenges, most of them financial. As a young person just leaving high school, coming from a family that didn’t have money, trying to get a footing in the world was hard. Plus wanting to pursue a career in music and art didn’t make things easier. Many people looked on not expecting much but there were others who really helped me when times got rough. Feeding off the positivity that these persons offered, keeping my mind open and believing in my passion is really what got me to where I am today. Getting the finances for additional equipment is still a challenge but with my business off the ground I’m putting in even more effort to get what I need to expand and further develop my craft.
8. What would you say to someone who wants to pursue their passion?
Always keep your mind open to giving and receiving knowledge.
Thank you for sharing your story, Aaron!
Connect with Aaron on Facebook.