We had the good fortune of connecting with Zach VanCamp and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Zach, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I started my own business so that I could work on what I wanted, with who I wanted, when I wanted, from wherever I wanted.

It’s not always as glamorous as the above sounds but it’s a heck of an improvement from several shops I’ve worked at. This won’t be a surprise to many but there’s an unspoken rule in the design / marketing industry that if you’re not grinding 24-7 you’re not doing enough. Funny thing is I actually thrive in that environment – but success there began to come at the cost of my physical & mental well being, my relationships, and overall happiness. Then one day I looked around and realized there weren’t a lot of folks +40 years old at these shops (that didn’t own the place) and I had a bit of a freak out. Where do they go? What do they do with us after our 40th birthdays?! Long story short, I decided to put myself and my family first, no matter the short term cost.

It can be really scary to lose the security of a paycheck, but I’ve always thought of design as a trade, like being an electrician or a plumber. The only difference is I’m just a handy man for your brand. In the past designers, illustrators, and sign-makers were highly skilled, sought-after craftsman. A craftsman – no matter the trade – will always have customers and that gave me confidence to go out on my own.

Since setting up shop, my primary focus has been brand building for-good & cause-related businesses. Depending on the objective, this work can take on a huge range of executions and mediums and I love that variety so much. I also enjoy helping small / medium size businesses level up their branding, and occasionally will pinch-hit for agencies when I have extra bandwidth too. The difference is, now when I get a call from an agency or anyone in fire-drill mode I know what I’m getting into. It’s fun when you control the fire-hose.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I help small to medium-sized businesses and for-good organizations who need big-picture thinking to shape their graphic design & brand perception.

I whole-ass every project I take on and have a practical, collaborative process that leads to results that both myself, and the client can be proud of for years / decades to come. All my work is bespoke, and is created from scratch to uniquely position my client’s businesses for success.

My work has resulted in renewed excitement, higher sales, clickthrough-rates, trademarks, tears (of joy), and even tattoos. Design connects with your audience, tells them who you are, and why they should care. It’s communication that transcends language, working effortlessly and instantly – It’s your voice before you speak. In short: design is credibility.

One example of all that at work & probably my favorite project of all time:

I recently had the incredible honor of creating a new brand identity for the Clay Hunt Fellows Program – a selective 6-month Team Rubicon incubator that equips veterans with the tools to redefine their purpose and self-identity out of uniform. Marine Cpl. Clay Hunt was a founding member of Team Rubicon in 2009 and struggled with depression, panic attacks and post-traumatic stress but threw himself into veterans advocacy and humanitarian work. Hunt committed suicide in 2011 and the CHFP was founded shortly thereafter to provide options for other vets struggling with the same issues. In addition to the Brand team at Team Rubicon, I also worked with Clay’s parents on the new identity to make sure it would represent Clay at his best, and what he’d have wanted for the program.

Design can be so powerful, and working on projects like the CHFP is why I love what I (get to) do. In the end, I’ll never remember the money aspect of these projects, but I’ll never forget working with the CHFP crew, and I sincerely hope that the work can (in some small way) help others.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Eat: D’Corazon, Rosenberg’s & Lou’s Italian Specialties, Good Bread, Dio Mio, Call, The Plymouth, Misfit Snackbar,

Drink: Novo Coffee, Tatarian, Middleman, Station 26, PS Lounge, Bread Bar (Silver Plume), Skylark Lounge

Visit: If summer: Camp & climb a 14er, Concert at Red Rocks
If winter: Ski (Loveland, Winter Park, Copper, Steamboat), MCA & Clifford Still Museum

Hang out: Harvard Gulch Par 3, Jazz in the park, Wheat Ridge Lanes (bowling)

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
So many teachers and friends along the way, but I want to shout out some publicly available resources that everyone reading will be able to access.

The Futur (https://thefutur.com/) is an incredible podcast by Chris Do. His goal is to teach the business side of creative work to 1 Billion people and the bank of interviews and free resources is deep. He also turned me onto Jonathan Stark (podcast:The Business of Authority) who gets really into the specifics of value-based work.

The Hood sisters (Hoodzpa Design https://hoodzpahdesign.com/) have an incredible book called “Freelance, and Business, and Stuff” that’s a very approachable step by step guide to setting up your creative business. If you like that, they also have a paid video-course with a ton of templates, and access to their Slack channel which makes me feel like I have co-workers again – which is wonderful.

Last, Austin Kleon’s (https://austinkleon.com/books/) trio of books on creativity are filled with inspiring lessons & hot-takes on how to approach creative work – and how people throughout history have created their work.

Website: www.zachvancamp.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/vancampdesign.co/

Other: Other links around the web: Dribbble: https://dribbble.com/ZachVanCamp
Logo Lounge: https://www.logolounge.com/designers/vancampdesignco
The Quickie Podcast: https://open.spotify.com/episode/5j9BeLUypQ6vlzApo8YcIS?si=bdiYlgYiTl-4IU_d4GLiRg&dl_branch=1

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutColorado is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.