Hi, I’m Dane Gonzalez.
I’m a designer and letterer based in Sacramento, CA. I’m infatuated by all things letters and type. Also, I have debilitating addiction to music. Aside from baselines, they have very little in common and are very different forms of inspiration. Yet, they both inspire me to try new ideas & the type of work I aim do.
This idea of drawing inspiration from very different sources, in order to form something fresh and new, is what drives me as a designer. My goal is to be constantly pushing myself to consider new ways to solve a problem or present an idea.
If that sounds like what you’re looking for in a designer, I believe we’d work great together! I can help with any of your logo design, branding, lettering, animation, or other design needs.
Have a project you want to talk about? Just hit me on my beeper! 📟 💫
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A Long-Winded Background
As a young teenager, I grew up in a prevalent skateboarding culture. I was a kid intrigued with skateboarding, but I didn’t have a place to start. Eventually, I was fortunate enough to have several role models and mentors who gave me my first skateboard, taught me what they knew, and led me in a positive direction. They encouraged me to be myself and gave me the support I needed to succeed.
The generosity of my mentors helped me to get started and improve. As a result, I was able to develop confidence in my abilities, personality, and creative taste. They showed me the profound impact that teaching can have on a single person.
My mentors inspired me to be a leader as well. I would eventually share my own knowledge and lead as people began to look up to me. This began with skateboarding within my community, then teaching skateboarding as a camp counselor, and would later manifest itself in many of my other pursuits. This teaching process helped me realize that I loved the process of helping others learn and improve.
My fascination for graphic design was born after buying my first skateboard. I didn’t know what design was then, but I was captivated by how a sense of identity was communicated to me through skateboard graphics. That would be my first realization of the tangible affects graphic design could have.
My passion for design started after taking a web design class in high school. I began to really like the web design class, so I entered some extracurricular competitions, and I eventually ended up winning a couple 1st place local and regional competitions.
These competitive extracurricular events culminated at the 2012 SkillsUSA California State Championships in San Diego, where I won a silver medal out of 19 teams for webpage design. To my surprise, after reviewing the judges’ scores, I was less than half of a percentage point off from 1st place and moving on to the national championships.
Coming off of these exciting experiences, I had developed a passion and some skill for web design. Not long after, I obtained my first freelance opportunity, and I was really excited to get started.
It was only after taking on the project when I realized that I was working unprofessionally, which led to a poor working experience. This experience is how I fell out of love with web design. Although this experience was unfortunate, it redirected me to discover my deeper passion for other forms of graphic design.
After spending a year and a half producing a self-published magazine, I eventually found my new passion within graphic design: hand lettering. This new passion was born out of the frustration with the limitations of the type I had available to me. The typefaces and fonts I had access to lacked the unique personality I believed was needed to communicate ideas expressively. This led me to conclude the magazine, in order to focus on improving my craft at hand lettering.
Shortly after getting into lettering, I launched into my Project 365: a project to create a lettering piece every single day for 365 days. Over the life of the project, I would spend around a thousand hours practicing hand lettering, create hundreds of lettering pieces, and share each piece on my Instagram.
During and after the Project 365, other artists who were seeking help began asking me questions about lettering. Naturally, I was drawn towards helping these individuals through my work. As a result, I started my blog where I share my experiences and things I’ve learned in regard to lettering, design, and creativity.
In early 2015, I created a Snapchat geofilter for my hometown of Hanford, CA. As an early designer of Snapchat geofilters, my work gained some attention and landed me interviews in both The LA Times and the Hanford Sentinel. After receiving dozens of questions from designers asking for help on their own geofilters, I would help them by developing a course on Snapchat geofilters.
In 2017, I finished up a 3-year graphic design program at California State University, Sacramento, and received my Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design. Today, I continue to work on my craft of design and lettering in order to create more engaging work. I also continue to look for opportunities to help my peers and other designers by sharing what I learn along the way.