DJ Coffman as Jack-of-All-Trades Inspires Global Design Team
Spreadshirt, the self-expression global e-commerce company, shines the spotlight on DJ Coffman, Global Head of Merchandising Services Content and Implementation, for a glimpse into a creative mind that infuses some visual magic into their merchandising services unit. Leading a global team of skilled web and graphic designers, DJ offers constant encouragement and inspiration for creating great visuals and messages. As a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to content creation, he brings some serious illustration and graphic design skills to Spreadshirt, while his creative thinking and positive team building provide the secret ingredient in making the content memorable. While headquarters are in Germany, DJ works at one of the three Spreadshirt locations in the U.S. – Greensburg, PA.
DJ has been drawing for as long as he can remember – since he was four or five, he started copying cartoons from the newspaper. When he was nine years old he had an epiphany, “Someone out there was actually creating the comic books I was copying and making up the stories that went along with them, just like the adventures I made up in my head when I played with my action figures.” These interests never faded – he went on to study art, visual communications, and graphic design. For 13 years, he was a full-time freelance artist drawing comics and cartoons for brands such as Marvel and Star Wars. But, he grew weary of such tasks like bookkeeping and acting as his own sales manager when his real passion was creating great designs. However, while those business duties were tedious, DJ learned a good deal about publishing and working within the entertainment industry where he learned how to best manage his time and priorities.
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Art will always be his side hustle – his day-to-day work ranges from coding and graphic design to team management and workload delegation. As a long time creator, DJ understands the struggles of designers and knows how grueling the work can be – this perspective benefits his global team at Spreadshirt. He is a big supporter of Spreadshirt designers and shop owners, who are a vital part of his daily work. Additionally, DJ is a guest blogger for the Spreadshirt blog, where he shares his creative techniques and unique insight through tutorials.
DJ reflects upon what first brought him to Spreadshirt, “I was actually a customer long before I was an employee! I was approached by someone in sales in the very early years of Spreadshirt for an old web comic I was making, but I didn’t really sell all that much back then. Years later in 2012, when we needed shirts for a local roller derby league I managed, I turned to Spreadshirt for the team’s practice shirts. I met an employee who quickly informed me of the open position, and the rest is history! I think what appealed to me most was, and still is, having the ability to work directly on things that help other artists earn a little more and allow them to express themselves, through art on apparel. And it doesn’t hurt that everyone is friendly and pretty awesome to deal with in Greensburg.”
“Memento Mori.” It’s the motto DJ strives to live by and it means, “You could leave this life right now.” It reminds him daily that time is both precious and limited. He is mindful of spending his time creating as many things as he can and inspiring others to live with the same passion and drive. His innate and natural sense of urgency to continually create is very inspiring to his other team members and colleagues.
DJ shares some words of inspiration for future designers, “Don’t just specialize in one thing. Learn as much as you can about emerging tools and design trends. It’s important to learn how to draw and sketch things out – you don’t have to be a perfect portrait artist. Know that it’s better to learn form and function and be able to conceptualize things in your mind from scratch instead of relying on a pre-made asset. Remember, someone somewhere created that asset from scratch. Be that designer! We sometimes forget how magical our creations can be, or how deeply they can affect real people, and inspire life changes, or provide financial freedom.”
About DJ Coffman: