Ryan Hamrick
Hand-lettering & Design
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Blog

Moving to Austin

There's a Band-Aid ripping headline, huh? It's also true, and I'd love share a few words about it, if you care to read them.

The TL;DR version of this is that my lovely wife Brooke has accepted an offer from a company in beautiful Austin, Texas, and we begin the road trip down to our new place there on June 5th.

There's something I never thought I'd say. "We're moving to Austin, but not because the designer in the family got a job." 

When you work from home, you can work from anywhere, as they say. We could relocate to any place, for any job, and I could set up shop there and do my work just fine.

While I won't deny the fact that some places present a greater natural potential for luck than others, I think that saying your location is crucial to your success is nothing more than an excuse.

When we moved to Pittsburgh over four and a half years ago, I had been managing wireless retail stores in Ft. Wayne, Indiana for about five years prior. Not only did we not know anyone in town at all, but I didn't know anyone in the design community anywhere

Even when I finally signed up for Dribbble a little over three years ago, it took me months to get drafted. I had no design friends to ask, and definitely no work to warrant an invite from anyone I didn't know.

Dribbble is often criticized as a "popularity contest" (almost exclusively by folks you might say are less-than-popular on Dribbble, notably), but as I said to one such critic a little while back, not everyone just "shows up with a following". I definitely didn't, online or locally.

When asked the question, "Where's the best place go if you want to start or grow a design career?", not many people would respond with Pittsburgh. I don't think I would even, but mostly because of the whole luck thing I mentioned earlier.

This may not be the design mecca of the country, but I'll tell one thing; Pittsburgh is a place where there are people. Good people. People that are open and willing to include you and help you wherever they can.

The people I've met here and become great friends with are a such an invaluable part of any and everything that I've achieved in my time here. I won't start listing names, because you'd be reading this forever and I'd inevitably miss some. But to everyone I've met and had the privilege of getting to know over these last few years, know that in ways large or small, you've all played very meaningful roles in my path to trying to make something of this thing I'm still calling a design career. 

While the vast amount of opportunity that Austin presents to someone like me is undeniably exciting, it's very important to me to say that I'm relocating to Austin—not leaving Pittsburgh for Austin. The number of positives there for me definitely played a major part in our decision to accept this particular journey, but I would never say that my experiences and time spent in Pittsburgh ever left me wanting for more. Except maybe nicer weather.

So with that, I've got to get back to work. I actually have a few incredibly exciting local projects I'm hustling to knock out before I go, and I can't wait to share those with the people and places that inspired them.

Pittsburgh has changed me for the better, forever, and I can't thank all of you enough for all of your help, your friendship, and support.

I'll be scheduling one last PGH Dribbble meetup/goodbye party, hopefully later today, so keep your eyes open for that. I definitely need to see all your faces one last time.

If you're in Austin, I can't wait to finally meet all of you, and I can't wait to hear about all the amazing project ideas you have in mind for us to work on together. Ahem...

Thanks again, and 'til soon,

Hamrick