If there’s one way to describe Dave Roach, it’s versatile. From his range of design expertise that includes logo and UI / UX designs, to his interests (his family and building furniture, just to name a few), it’s easy to tell Dave gets inspired by a range of things.

So it was refreshing to work together with him on the 99designs logo rebrand contest. No ideas were left unturned and Dave (like the other 5 finalists) was gracious enough to bring several ideas to the plate. We sat down with Dave to learn more about his journey and what essentially turned him to the designer he is today.

Dave Roach

Name: Dave Roach
99designs handle: Dave Roach
Location: Texas, US

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I was born and raised in Virginia, went to school for New Media Design in Oklahoma, and now I’m living in the middle of nowhere in Texas. My wife and I have 3 boys and just had a baby girl last month. It’s been great being able to do what I do from anywhere in the world, big city or small town.

How did you first get into design? What made you interested in design on the first place?

Honestly, I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I started college. I always liked video games and Pixar movies, so I thought digital design would be right up my alley.

Surprisingly I was pretty good at what I did, and got a job designing websites while still in college about 10 years ago. Since then I’ve worked for a while with a government contractor and then 5 years at a company designing web apps remotely. Now I’m freelancing full time.

Dave Roach's finalist design for the new 99designs logo
Finalist for 99designs’ new logo

Describe to us your typical day as a designer.

Working from home with 4 kids can be difficult at times, but I have found that making a schedule and sticking to it is key to getting things done. I typically work from my office in my woodshop in 2-4 hour sprints, and take breaks to work on furniture and play with the kids.

What inspires you?

I’m driven by the freedom creativity brings. I love learning and always being able to adapt and try new designs and styles. Creatively I find inspiration everywhere, from other websites, work on dribbble, and even old signs and advertisements around town.

What are you interested in other than design?

I enjoy refinishing and building furniture, getting out and hiking, and skateboarding when I have the time. And dumpster diving. 🙂

Dave Roach's logo for Bailey's Point
Logo for Bailey’s Point

Do you have your most memorable project on 99designs?

Probably the logo I did for nDimensional. I randomly decided to enter a contest that had the most entries at the time (around 2,000 entries). I saw that all the entries used orange and black, so I decided to use purple and black.

This caught the client’s attention, then I worked with her and ended up winning the contest, beating out almost 700 designers and 2,500 designs. Funny thing is that the final design ended up being orange and black.

It was very exciting and early on in my 99designs career. A year later, and I am still working with her on much larger projects.

What do you think you’ll be doing if you weren’t on 99designs? How has this carved a different path for you?

All of my clients have come from 99designs. As I said, I live in the middle of nowhere, and I don’t really have any connections to get clients otherwise. 99designs is great for the contests; they are fun, exciting, and force me to always try and up my game. The contest money is great, but the real reward is the ability it’s given me to form a client base.

What did you think when you first heard about our logo rebrand contest?

I saw it and decided I would put some extra time and thought into it and win. I was excited by the obvious challenge the contest would bring, and wanted to give my best effort and stick with it.

Dave Roach's logo design for 1stcut
Logo for 1st Cut

What were your first thoughts when you saw our brand guidelines and where we’re heading stylistically?

I liked the idea of simplifying the 99designs brand and letting the designers take the stage. I thought it made sense and worked.

Looking at our old logo, what’s the one thing you want to change about it? 

It’s hard to say because I’m used to it. I like it just fine, but I suppose it looks like it’s not as strong and memorable as it could be.

Tell us about the moment you found out you’re a finalist! 

My wife was on the couch checking my email and was like, “Hey, you’re a finalist!” and I was like “Really? No way!” I assumed I was out based on the star ratings, so when I found out I was very surprised.

Anything else you can tell us about this whole experience so far? What’s the most memorable thing for you during this entire contest?

I spent a lot of time brainstorming. Much more than I typically do on any contest. This contest was exceptionally difficult due to the constraints of the brief and the sheer number of entries and skill level of the designers. I was happy to make it as far as I did and enjoyed the process.

See more of Dave Roach’s work here.