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Meet Jordan Rhodes of Jordan Rhodes Graphic Design in Buckhead

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jordan Rhodes.

Jordan, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Hello! I am a full-time graphic designer and freelancer in the Atlanta area and a 2016 BFA graduate of The Art Institute of Atlanta. Both freelance and in-house experience in multimedia, marketing and print+design combined, I’ve been lucky to be working as a designer for almost seven years now.

I’m from the college football-fueled town of Auburn, Alabama – War Eagle! – and lived there or the very nearby town of Opelika for the first my first 18 years. If there was one thing that I knew for sure when I graduated high school, it was that the last thing I wanted to do was spend my college years in my hometown as well. As great and as beautiful a school Auburn University is, I just had to get away… at least far enough away.

This thinking led me to do a bit of soul searching during my senior year of high school when I realized that I actually had no idea what I wanted to get out of town to study. Back in my sophomore year of high school at Auburn High School, I randomly chose a graphic design elective course, and met this wacky guy named Mr. Cox. Mr. Clay Cox was – and I’m sure still is – the epitome of the “funny teacher” – he’s actually a stand-up comedian.

Each class was filled with a couple of hours of exploratory Adobe Photoshop practices and the coolest tutorial demonstrations… and at least 20 jokes. I then continued to take his classes for the two remaining years of high school, and loved every second of them. I experimented with Adobe software, photography/lighting and several handheld mediums off the screen (paint, pens, cut paper, etc.). He put fun and liveliness into the class that just wouldn’t have been there with a basic, boring instructor and textbooks and he’s no doubt a huge part of the reason I eventually made the decision during my senior of year to break my beloved AP English teacher’s heart and switch from pursuing English in college to a major in Graphic Design at The Art Institute of Atlanta.

I made the big bad move to the big city at the age of 17 and I spent a wonderful but challenging and long four years at Ai Atlanta with some of the best department instructors and colleagues I could’ve asked for. My mind was opened to the ENTIRE world of design – typography, layout, ideation, creative briefs, client presentations, other software, etc. – way more than what I even had a clue existed in my tiny Windows PC lab in high school.

During college, I took up several hours of freelance work a week and got familiar with several awesome – and several not so awesome – clients. These efforts led to connections, resume builders and even some other work opportunities that I am so proud and so thankful for today. There were literal blood, sweat, and tears through the last portfolio quarters, and then I completed my degree and a successful final Portfolio Show in March 2016.

Then came the time for me to focus on kicking off my career – freelance work slowed down and the job hunt kicked up. To this day, I still have trouble processing the next few weeks after finishing school but it started with the excellent recruiters at The Creative Group (Robert Half – Buckhead) kicking my job hunt into high gear and ended with me headed on my first flight ever to Sydney, Australia and employed as the sole US graphic designer for top employee scheduling and time and attendance software, Deputy. The company had been opened in Sydney for almost 8 years, but had just recently opened an Alpharetta, Georgia office late the year before.

Fast forward to present day and I have been with Deputy for almost two years now, promoted once, sent to Sydney a second time (I even hung out with kangaroos), picking up more serious freelance clients than ever, and loving my experience as a young designer in a bustling tech startup in the heart of Atlanta. Our office has since relocated to the BEAUTIFUL WeWork Tower Place location in Buckhead and it has been one of the most motivating kicks my career has received so far.

Let me reiterate how thankful I am for every step of my journey that brought me here – my 15+ year graphic designer grandmother that inspired me from the very beginning without me even knowing it and my superwoman mom who has never done anything but support me with everything she has, all of the incredible intellectuals I connected with at and through Ai Atlanta, each boss at every side job and client I had throughout college and now the top-notch support system I’ve built with my Deputy family, both in the US and Australia – these, plus occasional stress-eating, my precious pups, and Netflix binges – are the backbones of the career that I have started to build for myself. I absolutely can’t wait to see where I head next.

My favorite realms of design and art overall are expressive typography including hand-lettering, street art,
company branding/re-branding, and album graphics. I LOVE Atlanta street art/murals and the Krog Street tunnel/Cabbagetown areas – I hope to relocate there one day. My dogs are super spoiled, I love vinyl records and live music, my favorite animal is a koala and I will be an Oxford comma advocate and Harry Potter fan for life.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Peer and client critiques and college and slam-my-head-into-my-laptop difficult clients throughout my tough college years were no doubt two of the biggest “grounders” and slaps of reality as I was starting off. I will no doubt continue to learn in this field until the day I die.

Please tell us about Jordan Rhodes Graphic Design.
My freelance company is my baby! Whenever I am asked questions like, “What would you do if money wasn’t an option?/What is your dream job?, etc.”, my answer is always to completely work for myself and fully own and run my own freelance company. I fully believe that my freelance projects and clients keep me sane and focused in the field and my personal goals, rather than narrowing down to tunnel vision on my current tasks at work only.

I love to connect with clients on a personal and very casual basis about their graphic/print and front-end web design needs on a number of projects including: logos, business cards, letterheads, billboards/signage, social media graphics, brochures, advertisements, flyers, etc. I also dabble in a bit of photography and offer exceptionally well-priced family, individual and wedding sessions.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I don’t believe I would have done anything differently – every step led me to where I am and where I’m headed today and I’m really happy with both. 🙂

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