Not being afraid to fail

One of the wonderful things that the Minneapolis College of Art and Design offers to alumni, students and the general public is the opportunity to sit in on lectures from some of the best in the arts industry. I was fortunate to have been at last Thursday’s lecture with Scott Baker( MCAD ’78) who is the founder of Baker Associates and is one of the heavyweights in the design and branding industry. Lets just say that everyone of you has products that he has designed in your house, everything from the famous brands as Cheerios, Oreo’s, Ritz Crakers, Caribou coffee products, Marie Callendar, Total, and hundreds of other products. He has amassed an amazing portfolio of some of the most recognizable and memorable images in the branding game today and I found it very intriguing to listen to his thoughts and insights in the industry. Even though it is not an area that I am going to work in, it is still the creative process that drives his work. He actually started out as a well know illustrator and then worked his way into the marketing and branding industry.

One of the things that he made sure that he repeated a number of times to the students and the fresh in the market grads was the notion that you cannot be afraid to fail. The notion that great art comes without failure is one that is false. He said that he encourages his employees to not be afraid of failure and to embrace things when they don’t work out. Without taking those chances, you cannot grow as an artist. It is something that I have found to be very helpful and was taught that very thing with some of my MCAD professors. It is nice to know that even the most successful people still embrace failure as a great thing. So with that, I encourage you all to not worry about when something doesn’t work out, use it as a learning experience and let it go. You will be a better artist because of it.

In other news, things have been going great with “The Sick Bug”. We just had a booksigning at the Minnetonka Barnes and Noble last night and enjoyed the evening a lot. The strangest thing was when a little boy in the audience was so eager to meet me and was almost bouncing off his chair. So before Susie and I got started with reading the book and doing a little illustration, we made sure we let him tell us his pressing news. And the best thing of all was that his name was “Sean McCann” He was so excited that he had the same name as the person who had illustrated a book. It was pretty cool since I usually don’t run into too many people with the same name as me. SO that definitely made the event! Now it is looking at a ton of booksignings all over the midwest and such over the next month and a half. Hopefully they will be as memorable as the one last night!

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5 responses to “Not being afraid to fail

  1. Scott sounds like a very wise and inspiring person – “don’t be afraid to fail” is my mantra. I’ve always been fascinated with product designers and what they do. How fun for the young Shawn McCann to be able to meet you!

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