I am Angel Opoku, a UI/UX designer and a brand identity designer.
I take after my mother in a lot of ways. She knows how to fix basic electronic problems, do some carpentry and mix some cement. She just likes to fix things. I learned a lot from her and found myself particularly drawn to electronics and computers. This led me to join my church’s media department at age 16. As the youngest person on the team, I did a lot of work, from designing church fliers to fixing microphones and some sound engineering. I genuinely enjoyed it all.
Of all the things I did in church, graphics designing interested me the most, so I took a class in Corel Draw. After I gained admission into the University to study Mass Communication, I continued on the design path. I remember my first ever job for a client, it was for a lecturer who I was close to at the time. She didn’t like it and didn’t hide how she felt about it, she rejected it. I remember how bad I felt and how I resolved to get really better at designing. That was the turning point in my design journey.
It hasn’t been an easy journey to break into a relatively new field in Nigeria. I’ve had to do some free designs to get the attention I need.
I heard about Photoshop and started learning [how to use] it. I didn’t have tutors because all the people I knew that were good at it were either unavailable or too far away. I couldn’t also afford to pay to learn. I had to learn on my own, with some input from some of them. I consumed a lot of tutorials and studied people’s designs.
In school, I did a lot of free jobs and very, very few paid jobs. Of course, they didn’t bring in much. I was working so hard and gaining very little. The year I left school, I stumbled on Rex Posters and we became friends, he motivated me to do even better. He was so encouraging. A few months after we became friends, I joined the Genesys Internship Program where I learned about Product Design. I’d heard of Product Design and had always been interested in learning more about it, but I didn’t know what it was called and how to go about learning it. Ignorance is not bliss. The internship set me on the path that I am currently on, as a UI/UX designer and a brand identity designer.
It hasn’t been an easy journey to break into a relatively new field in Nigeria. I’ve had to do some free designs to get the attention I need. Some time ago, I sent DMs offering free work, and most people didn’t reply, few said they would get back to me. But I didn’t just sit down and wait, I created freestyles. (I call those designs that are made for practice or advertising purposes, “freestyle”). And some of those freestyles started speaking for me and getting me clients.
At the end of the day, I just want to be the best at what I do, and also be an inspiration to women. I believe anything is possible and Genesys taught me that everything is learnable. Growth is something I strongly believe in, and growth is not necessarily about speed, it’s more about progress. What’s most important to me is getting better at what I do and growing at it. This is not to say that the money is not important. 😉
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