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The Hustle

Name: Margaret Penney

Margaret Penney brought a breadth of multi-disciplinary design experience with her to the St. Petersburg bungalow that she and her partner have called both home and business for the last 10 years. A designer by trade, Penney cut her teeth in the design industry in New York City and found her stride during the dot com boom in Hong Kong. Penney's work has been exhibited throughout the world at The Institute of Contemporary Arts (London), Museo Tamayo (Mexico), and the Morean Art Center (St. Petersburg). With her roots planted in St. Petersburg, Penney collaborates with artists and designers around the world on her many businesses that provide affordable logos, bold and sophisticated design of online and print materials, templates and fine art/design sales.

Years in Tampa Bay

10

Hustle (job)

Designer + Creativepreneur

What do you do?  

I'm a designer and I work out of my bungalow studio in St. Petersburg. I work with my partner Paul, and we create handcrafted design solutions for a variety of brands, businesses and startups. I recently launched a group of design and art centered websites: a logo shop at www.logo.haus, a creative templates and supply shop at www.viaduc.co and a fine art and surface design shop at www.hellomart.co. I also work as a design instructor and department head at an online design college.

Why do you do it?

I really love working on projects and being creative. Ever since I was a kid I always had something new in the works. I like the process of exploring a subject and the experience of coming up with a fresh solution. The act of designing is itself pretty satisfying, and I enjoy the focus that crafting a design requires.

What was your Catalyst? (How did you get started?)

I got started in New York City working at a stock photo agency. I created an interactive photo gallery of points across a map of the USA and Route 66. I liked every aspect of this project, and working on it solidified my interest in being a designer. I really got my start though in Hong Kong as an art director for an early social media portal for pan-Asian teenagers. I answered a Craigslist post for web designers and ended up in Hong Kong during the dot-com boom. The experience was transformative, and I learned so much about design, working with a team and Chinese culture.

What’s a common misconception or unknown aspect of what you do?

A misconception about design is that it's about adding and arranging graphic elements; however it's just as much about taking things away and adding space. Most of the time a designer is creating visual balance and working with small elements, like the dot of an i, so that it looks just right. Successful designs often appear effortless and usually that requires more work.

What’s the most challenging part of your Hustle?

As I develop the business, my challenge becomes time management and delegating. For instance, right now I am actively looking for local coders and an online marketing expert.

What’s the most valuable piece of business advice/insight that’s helped you?

Give Yourself Permission. A piece of advice I like and believe in is that you should give yourself permission to try. Sometimes people can be too critical about their project right out of the gate and this can make them give up easily. I believe effort has value regardless of outcome. Experiential learning is key as you develop as a creative or entrepreneur.

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