Designer spotlight: Marin Finerty

The presentations that come through here are like cakes without the icing and I’m part of the icing-team. I marry the written word with a visual language so that someone’s presentation is enticing enough to take a bite of. People mostly believe that the icing of graphic design has to do with color palettes, fun fonts and throwing some shapes together for a logo. Okay, maybe I am projecting: that is what I thought it was until I got to University. What I took away from my time there, and what I am still perfecting, is that on the most fundamental level graphic design is a language, just like any other one.

During my time at University in England I was taught to see this language all around me, and eventually to become fluent in it. The more I spoke, the more I understood the psychology and decisions that go into every design choice. Why, for instance, banks choose stable fonts, whilst Spring fashion campaigns go for the more whimsical. Design is a language whose vocabulary is abstract.

I moved from California to Italy when I was a teenager, and it was a similar process learning Italian as it was with graphic design. You learn the basics and then, as time goes by, you learn to express yourself with more subtleties and bigger ideas. And what is Tony-the-Tiger great about graphic design is that it is universal. We can communicate across borders and backgrounds in a way that spoken language can’t, and the better you know the language the better you can communicate. There is something innate about great design that people understand subconsciously what they can’t put their finger on verbally.

SketchDeck provides a portal for connecting people who don’t speak ‘graphic design’ with those who do. And it is a win-win for all of us. Designers want to design and with the middle step of playing ‘find-the-client’ taken away, we can focus solely on the creative side, whilst still keeping the variety. And the clients that come to SketchDeck also want to cut out wading through many of the freelancer sites and more importantly understand the importance of, and the care behind, effective graphic design. And SketchDeck makes all of this possible by vetting all the designers, streamlining the process for quick turn-arounds and pushing us to do our best work. As a designer, this is the type of people that I want to work with.

I have directed commercials, fashion videos and documentaries. I worked as a UI designer for a San Francisco start-up for 4 years and was part of an art collective in Italy for a year, covering fashion shows and creating editorials for top magazines. From designing interactive anatomy books, to fashion retouching, to covering golf-tournaments, I have worn many hats and like to keep it that way. Working with SketchDeck allows me to combine many past disciplines (for instance, some of the decks seem like story-boards while others feel more like user interface design) and because there is another project to wrap my head around everyday, I learn new skills, which keep my designs feeling fresh.

All of this leads to job satisfaction. With a 24-hour turnaround, you get used to making fast decisions and pushing yourself creatively. Everyday you grow from the day before and better yourself. Everyday you improve at knocking visual metaphors out of the park. David and Chris connect you with the client’s presentations, you check and select a brief, then hit play on a podcast and crank through it.

And for all of you that are prone to altruism here’s this: you get to share this visual language with someone who doesn’t speak it, which can make a world of difference to them or their company. With every project I feel like I help someone get something more because I was a part of it and, through design, I can make a positive difference. And I can’t ask more than that.

To see more of Marin’s work go to

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