Darin is an awesome graphic designer who’s style and design sensibility is quirky, artistic and fun. Her brand embodies a playfulness approach to life and her creativity stands out as unapologetically cool.

When did you fall in love with design?

I’m not quite sure. I would say I really fell in love with it in college (Fairleigh Dickinson University). That’s when I really started to understand what design was and wasn’t and learned about the foundation of design. I could appreciate where it came from and where it’s going.

How do you define creativity?

To me, creativity is a genuine and innovative way of expressing your imagination; something that people are blessed with, but also needs to be practiced and exercised to become better, like anything else.

What does a typical day for you look like?

I split my days between working for my design company 19FIFTYTHREE and caring for our 8 month old daughter. I spend a good amount of time getting inspired from from Pinterest, design sites and magazine. I’m also amazed at how inspired I get from the patterns found in my daughters room and on her toys. Beyond that, I do graphic design and have recently started doing brand consulting for small businesses, creatives and non-profits.

How long have you been a designer?

I have been designing professionally since graduating from Fairleigh Dickinson University in 2005 and have been an Independent Designer since 2011.

If you weren’t designing what would your occupation be?

Aw man!!! I have so many dreams, but I think I’d be a Baker! I love sweets and I love the process of baking! This is an occupation my husband would greatly appreciate! Lol! He is the original Cookie Monster! I would love to open up a late night bakery. . When I was little I wanted to be a Color-Maker; one who creates colors, so that is another option.

How did you take your leap of faith into solopreneurship? What was the journey like?

I am fortunate to have other “leapers” in my life; people who have already taken the jump, and even better to have other women who have taken the leap in my life. Between them and the encouragement from my husband, the decision to leap was clear and supported! I gave my job a 30 day notice; enough time for the both of us to get a little more situated and adapted and then went my own way while keeping close ties with them.

My leap was a TRUE leap of faith!! As a Christian, I realized that I had never truly put much of my faith in the God that I claim to rest upon and rely upon. I had never TRULY trusted Him. This leap would not have been anywhere near possible if it wasn’t for Him!

In 10 years, what do you envision your life to look like?

Owning an established brand and design house. More kids. Happiness.

What has been your biggest challenge in life and work?

Balance and finding my voice has always been a challenge. I feel like it’s taken me a while to find my full style and voice in design. Now that I’m getting there, I feel a lot more like a complete designer. Balancing life and work has always been an issue of mine, but finding time to just sit back and enjoy the little bits of life has helped me create a better balance.

How do you overcome, or try to overcome these challenges?

Perspective. Getting another perspective of your situation can be so key. Getting input from people who are your customers, friends and family.

What has been your most prized accomplishment?

I think my most prized accomplishment so far is starting a business and sticking with it. It takes a lot to get everything started up by yourself, but takes even more to keep it going by yourself. It’s been a crazy road with a lot of ups and downs, but has been so worth it and definitely one of the highlights of my creative career.

What is your most favorite quote?

“Deal with yourself as an individual worthy of respect and make everyone else deal with you the same way.” -Nikki Giovani

I found this quote when I was in college and fell in love. It has molded the way I live my life and deal with people. Self love and respect is so important, especially for us woman. Unfortunately, not all of us are blessed with the ability to do it naturally. I have always loved and respected myself and this quote just pumped me up a little more.

“Laughter. It’s Free.” – Bradley Nowell (Sublime)

My favorite band of all time is Sublime. This is truth! I probably listened to them everyday in high school. I don’t as much anymore, but still get some time in with a couple CDs here and there. This is a quote from one of the songs. It’s simple, but so good! Laughter is free, so choose it. It will cost you nothing!

How would you describe your lifestyle to classroom full of impressionable kids during your Career Day presentation?

My lifestyle is that of a hard-working dreamer! As much time as I take to take myself and business very seriously and work hard at it, I take to sit back and dream. I like to exercise my imagination as much as possible, which is still very possible when you are an adult. LOL!

I believe that there is a season for everything and it is important for us to grow through those seasons, not taking anything moment for granted. I play as much as I work, think as much as I dream while still balancing time with my loved ones. Taking time away from work is crucial, especially with those who you love and love you most. In between all of that, I still find time to sit back and be inspired.

What is your personal style like?

My personal style is kind of life a tomboy with cheetah print. Lol. I love mens clothing and loose fitted shirts and mens pants. I also LOVE my Chucks, but I also like to mix those things with different prints and the occasional platform shoe. My style use to be all over the place, but now it’s a little more focused to being comfortable but cute.

If you could go back to your 9 year old self, what would you tell her?

Oh my goodness!!!!! Hmmm…I would tell myself to save money and stop wasting my time with boys who are only interested in wasting my time! Lol. I didn’t save much money when I was in my early 20’s, which put me in a financial hole, so I would definitely tell myself to do that.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Nothing! Other than having a super power!

What 3 words best describe you?

Awesome, laughing, dreamer!

Connect with Darin at http://darinmichelle.com and http://19fiftythree.com.