Hometown: Champaign, IL
Year Graduated: 2015
Currently working at: Champaign Public Library
How does it feel to be a professional designer?I feel I am in exactly the right place in my life and career, having chosen to be a graphic designer after having careers in education and massage therapy prior to this. It feels fantastic! Very rewarding.
How do you like your job? I absolutely love my job—Design and Promotions Coordinator—at the library. I get to design so many different kinds of things for both print and web, and it's challenging but fun. I have an exceptionally wonderful and supportive manager (like an art director), and I get to work with every department in the library. I have a great office, top-of-the-line equipment, and the library has a really fine staff. I'm never bored—the work is exciting! It's the perfect job for me.
How did you get this job? I heard about it through my niece, who is also a Parkland graduate and graphic designer, and I applied immediately. I interviewed and was offered the job one week later.
Have you done any freelancing? Yes, I designed the Dancing Dog Eatery & Juicery's take-out menu, the CD cover for the band, The ACME Principle, the CD cover for my own duo (Paul & Gloria, "LIME DROP"), an interactive presentation slideshow for an economics professor in New York for an important presentation at Microsoft, a large infographic for The Land Connection's website (through ThirdSide Design), business card and cover page for promo packet for Samba Soul band, logos for Bodywork Associates/Precision Neuromuscular Therapy Midwest for the 2016 colloquium and for Hospice Hearts non-profit organization, and more.
Are you involved in any other projects currently? After graduation in May 2015, I decided I needed to assign myself a daily project. I wanted to learn how to get better at hand generated type, so I committed to creating one phrase per day for a year. Today is number 202! I post them on Facebook (both my own page and my design page), Twitter, my blog, my website, Pinterest, and Behance. I've received a great deal of good feedback on this project. Some days it's difficult to fit it in with everything else I'm doing, but if I miss a day, I do two the next day. It's very rewarding, and I'm getting better and learning new things all the time.
How do you stay in touch with other designers? I'm fortunate to be included in an informal group called "Designing Women," that meets four times a year for lunch to discuss what we've been doing. We also have a "secret" Facebook page where we share projects in process and receive feedback from one another. It's a great group! I also just joined the CUDO Board of Directors as Treasurer for the organization. In addition, I try to be involved with design-related events in the community; for example, I recently co-chaired the 2015 CUDO PRO SHOW. I also make a point to keep in touch with several designer friends with whom I graduated at Parkland.
What was the most exciting project you've worked on since graduation? It's hard to choose one, but I was extremely excited that Hospice Hearts loved the logo I designed for them and is using it for everything, including T-shirts and hoodies. It's a cause that's very close to my heart. They find homes for animals whose owners have died, have become to ill, or for whatever reason can no longer care for them. I'm very passionate about animals and animal rescue.
What were some of the most important things you learned while at Parkland? Of course, learning the design principles and the software programs were paramount. Also, the regular critiques in graphic design classes were invaluable to me in terms of learning how to receive as well as provide helpful, informed criticism. I also learned so much about what "clean typography" means. The design process that was taught is the one I continue to use all the time. I am still working on keeping things simpler in terms of design, but that was also a very valuable lesson that I learned at Parkland. One thing about Parkland's graphic design program that is so important is that you are always being taught essential things about how to be a designer in the real world, how to get a job, and how to stay current. There is so much more. I could write a book.
What do you wish you had done differently when you were at Parkland? I think the biggest thing would have been to push myself to get a lot faster during each phase of the design process. Even though we were always told that the real world doesn't afford you the luxury of long blocks of time for projects, I really didn't realize how short some of the deadlines truly are. I'm still working to improve my speed and efficiency.
Who is your favorite designer and why? I would have to say Jessica Hische, primarily because I'm so into the art of lettering, hers in particular. I admire her attitude and courage, especially considering how young she was when she approached Louise Fili and ended up working for her firm. I was inspired by her Daily Drop Cap project (which was the impetus for doing a daily project myself), and I am always in awe of any of her work that I see. She is also extremely fun to listen to in an interview or presentation. She's so smart and talented. She is definitely my idol. (I have her new book, In Progress, and it's stunning and very practical for people like me who want to learn how to really get good at lettering!)
What is your favorite typeface and why? I really like Museo and Museo Sans. They are both really appealing to my sense of aesthetics and are useful and practical in many applications. I like the geometrical yet friendly look. Very versatile.