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Conversations with Marcus Gladdis

Today we’d like to introduce you to Marcus Gladdis.

Hi Marcus, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
Growing up, we would throw house parties where someone would make a flyer on word and that would be good enough to draw people in. But for me, the story started back in my college years. My fraternity was kind of known for throwing parties on campus. We would always hire someone to make the flyers and then one day, I asked, “Well, how much are we paying for a design” and they told me the price and I was shocked. So for the next party, I decided that I was going to try to create a design to see if we could save some money. I sent it off to the guys and everyone loved it (it’s almost cringeworthy to see how bad it is years later) and from that point forward, I was in charge of all of the design work.

Moving back to Kansas City after graduation, I had to introduce myself to the design world. I remember going to the local bars and smaller nightclubs and getting them to hire me for their off-night events. Over the course of a year’s time, I went from a few designs a week to doing 3-4 designs a night six nights a week.

About two years ago, I started to make the shift from club flyers as my primary offering to more branding / businesses /wedding services. I really found a love for not only completing a project but the process of walking through a client’s vision and creating a set of visuals that tells the company’s story in a way that they can be proud of.

In September, I will celebrate 14 years of being in the graphic design field. I always tell myself that “Progress is a process” and it’s been fun to see how far I’ve gotten from that first design.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
It definitely hasn’t been a smooth road, but nothing worth having is right? I think for me a lot of my early struggles were trying to get the vision that I had in my head onto the screen. A lot of that was due to the fact that I was self-taught, and the tutorial library was nonexistent at that point.

After moving back home, a big struggle was trying to find my way in this new market. There are a ton of talented/creative graphic designers ins Kansas City. There is a delicate balance of being the new guy, not trying to undercut the next person, and making your name known at the same time.

Recently, my main struggle is trying to avoid of falling in creative ruts, which is probably true for anyone that creates at a high volume for a long period of time. Thinking back to how many projects that I’ve worked on over the years, it’s very easy to run out of new ideas while still adhering to your signature look.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
Like I mentioned before, a few years ago I made the transition from just doing design work to working towards brand strategy and brand recognition projects. I think that it worked well for me, especially with the increase of entrepreneurship in recent years. You would be surprised how many business owners get started without a clue of what they want their brand to be, and I can help with that.

I think I’m most proud of when I see people admiring the work that I’ve done even if they may not know that I was the one that did it.

I really think that the thing that sets me apart is the customer service aspect of my business. Knowing which areas that I specialize in, I don’t try to sell people on services that I can’t provide, and clients respect that.

If you had to, what characteristic of yours would you give the most credit to?
Integrity. I don’t do a lot of advertising or promotion, so the main driver of my clientele is relationships that I’ve built. Those relationships are driven off of me doing what I say I would and delivering something that everyone is happy with.

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Image Credits
Coppics photography

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