Graphic Design / Interactive Design / Fine & Applied Arts / Parkland College

“To land this job took determination, failure, motivation and maintaining a creative positive outlook at all times.”

James Smith

Alumni Profile:
James Smith


James SmithHometown: Chicago IL
Graduated: 2008
Currently working at: Mundocom (Chicago IL)

How does it feel to be a professional designer: It feels great to have finally broken into the industry. After moving up here to Chicago, I thought there would be infinite job opportunities, but I was wrong. I went on several interviews that required certain skill sets that I did not possess at that time. I treated them as learning experiences and taught myself the skill sets many companies were looking for. An example would be, a company world-renowned for break-through package design. I had some experience with package design but needed to expand. I dissected all types of packaging designs and developed my style from these source files. I freelanced for a year and attained many clients to stay afloat.

How do you like your job: I love it! The old saying "work is not work if you do what you love" is a true statement. I am very lucky to have been offered a position at a very creative design firm who holds clients such as T-Mobile, Phillip Morris and Kellogs.

How did you get this job: I learned from my mistakes, developed a wider range of skills and freelanced to build a real-world portfolio. I applied online to Mundocom not knowing how large of a firm they were. I wanted to make an impression so I completely re-formatted my portfolio into a CD-style packaging that would house 5x5 squares which displayed my work. I included only work that I was proud of and showcased a wide variety of samples. At the interview they were impressed by my range and made me an offer a week later. To land this job took determination, failure, motivation and maintaining a creative positive outlook at all times.

What was the most exciting project you've worked on since graduation: Prior to joining Mundocom, I was a freelancer with my own business called L-emental Designs. I landed a client who needed an identity for their sunglasses. I developed their brand identity and the packaging for their retail shops. We are currently working on developing the press release and marketing materials. Keep and eye out for Moda sunglasses.

What were some of the most important things you learned while at Parkland: Graphic design is something that you have to work hard at and one has to establish their own individual creative style. All my classes where essential in preparing me for real world scenarios. The client simulations we did in class were very important as they helped me communicate with my clients on a professional level. Lastly, learn the design principles (i.e "the rules") and know that they can be broken. Always sketch a concept prior to jumping on the Mac or PC as this will save you time. Be able to take criticism without an attitude. Feedback is important and critiques can help you develop into a better designer.

Who is your favorite designer and why: David Carson for his use of type and pushing legibility to the limits in visual communication. He has influenced my style due to the fact I love typographic logos. Paul Young said it best: "Less is more." And I hold that true through all my designs.

Last updated: 1/8/17 ■ Webmaster: Paul Young