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Meet Trailblazer Lori Keating

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lori Keating.

Lori, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I always knew I wanted to do something art related. As a child, I would draw cartoon animals and write silly poems. Sketching and painting came next, then I moved past the page in front of me and started organizing and embellishing my surroundings. I would rearrange my room or swap out colors and patterns quite often. It was satisfying to make things eye-catching and organized at the same time.

In high school, I excelled at the art classes and drafting. After graduating, I was anxious to get my required electives out of the way so I could concentrate on the arts. I attended two years at the University of Central Florida, then transferred to the University of Florida. I loved the drawing courses, and painting and lithography, but still wasn’t quite sure on my major. While I loved fine arts, I wasn’t satisfied that I should go in that direction for a career. I was gearing toward architecture when I came across the Graphic Design program. I submitted my portfolio and kept my fingers crossed that I got in because I didn’t have a strong plan B. Well, I got in and absolutely loved it!

After graduating from UF, I moved around a bit. I worked in New Orleans doing illustrations and graphics for a Courtroom Graphics company, then took a job in Portland, Oregon as a graphic designer for a phone card company (yes, those were a thing). My next move was to Denver, Colorado where I worked for a clothing company, designing ads, point of purchase displays, clothing labels, and even some patterns for clothing lines. I put in a few years there, then took an Art Director’s position at an ad agency in downtown Denver. I learned quite a bit working with a team on national ad campaigns. While that was definitely a highlight in my career, I eventually wanted to return home to Florida to be closer to family. Back home, I worked for a small design agency while acquiring a handful of freelance clients, and after another few years felt that I really belonged working full time on my own, directly with my clients.

I love the work I do and that I get to do it at home with my yellow lab at my side all day.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It has not always been a smooth road, but it hasn’t been terribly bumpy either. Probably the biggest challenge has been when I felt competent enough to not need direction from another artist but still had to pass my work through other hands before it reached the client. Ideas are often lost or “changed” when a third person is involved. Having direct communication with the client leads to less frustration on both sides, and work done in a more timely manner. Plus, I like my work being just that, my work.

My advice would be to be open to critique, learn from others who have had more experience but stick with your own ideas. In the end, your work will speak for itself.

We’d love to hear more about Keating Creative.
Probably one of my specialties, along with being one of my favorite things to do in my business, is logo design. My ideas just go wild, and I end up with a page of designs when I usually offer 3 to start. At the agency in Denver, I worked on the Qdoba logo (the one with the cactus – I believe it has changed now, and no I don’t get burritos for life). With logos comes the other branding pieces, business cards, letterhead, and brochures. I also enjoy designing invitations, fliers, and websites. A big project I am currently working on is an illustrated map and brochure of art and history points of interest in my town.

If I find work a little slow, I focus on other creative outlets, painting, playing the guitar, or making jewelry.

What sets me apart? I think I am easy to work with and I work pretty fast. I always respond to my clients pretty quickly, and I listen to them. When I get a referral, it is the biggest compliment and confirms that I have chosen the right path.

Do you feel like there was something about the experiences you had growing up that played an outsized role in setting you up for success later in life?
Growing up, I would spend most of my summers in North Carolina with my grandparents. They were very creative and always came up with some art or craft projects for me to do, like making flowers with seeds, pipe cleaners, and egg cartons, drying flowers, or sewing doll clothes. They encouraged my creative thinking and independence by guiding me but letting me do things on my own.

My parents are also both very successful and respected in their businesses and kept my brother, and I level headed by having us earn things that we wanted. They really taught me to want to be successful and to work hard in doing so.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Photography by Julieanne St. Aubin

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