Marks and Maker
Melinda Livsey is the CEO and Brand Strategist in her company, Marks and Maker. She is also a co-host in a popular youtube design channel, The Futur wherein she shares how she transitioned from being a graphic designer into an expert brand consultant.
Most designers got to know Melinda through the channel of The Futur. Design Process thinks that sharing her story and helping other designers get to the position where she is right now makes her a leader. Let us see how she responds to some questions about how a designer can become a leader like her.
Can you tell us a bit of when and how did you become a brand strategist?
I originally began my career as a graphic designer and did that for 9 years before I learned what brand strategy was. My business coach, Chris Do, introduced me to the concept of brand strategy and he said that it would help fill in the gaps I was experiencing in being seen as a consultant versus hired hands. He was right. Once I learned what brand strategy was and how to do it, it became clear to me that I was doing a version of brand strategy already with every brand identity project I landed. I now know how to charge for it and have a step by step process that I can bring clients through.
What’s your usual work day like?
I’m usually home most of the day and have a few meetings over Zoom in the morning. I block off a few hours for deep work in the afternoon. Most of the time I work from home but once in a while I’ll have a work day with a friend at a coffee shop.
Based from your own expertise, how would you define design leadership?
Leadership is all about serving, so I would define design leadership, or rather, design leaders as those who use their skills and passions to serve others and bring about needed change.
You are helping other designers to become strategists (getting paid to think) and I would say that it’s one great example of being a leader. Having said that, what do you think is the most important characteristic of being a design leader?
Thank you for the compliment! I believe a design leader needs to put the needs of those they lead above themselves.
What advice can you give to those designers who aspire to be like you or to go where you are right now as a brand strategist?
Keep going. You’ll want to give up over and over again. But if you keep going, you’ll finally reap the reward of all your hard work. Lastly, pursue progress over perfection.