Hometown: St. Joseph, IL
Year graduated: 2003
Currently working at: The Ergopharm division of
Proviant Technologies (Champaign, IL)
How does it feel to be a professional designer: It really didn’t strike me that I had reached “professional” status until recently. I was just a guy getting paid to do something I enjoyed. It finally sunk in that I was a professional designer during a trade show event when a couple people from a graphic design house stopped by our booth. They pulled out a trade magazine with an earmarked page that had one of my ads on it. They complemented me on the design and we discussed my thought process behind the ad. It was at that moment that I realized that I had become a professional graphic designer. While I’m still the same person I was before the show, it was a nice feeling to garner recognition from other industry professionals.
How do you like your job: I love my job! I’ve been able to expand my knowledge and experience into several different types of media and venues. It’s a fresh experience every day as today’s project may be a print ad for a international magazine, then tomorrow may be something web related, a product design, or art directing a photographer on a photo shoot.
How did you get this job: I’d like to say it was due superior interviewing skills and the strength of my portfolio. However this interview was perhaps the worst one I have ever been on. I remember leaving the interview thinking that there is no way I would ever get a call back. Although the portfolio review went extremely well, the oral part of the interview felt like a disaster; the questions were completely out of left field and caught me off guard as they had little or nothing to do with graphic design. In retrospect it's now obvious that my interviewers were trying to pull me out of my comfort zone to see how I would react. Later on, one of the people that interviewed me told me that they were confident that I would be able to do the job before I had even interviewed, and that the entire interview was to see how I would fit into an industry where everything changes in an instant and nothing is written in stone. My online portfolio and resume got me in the door but it was my personality and overall attitude that sealed the deal.
What was the most exciting project you've worked on since graduation: Every project is exciting in its own way, but I think the most exciting project I've done to date would have to be a free standing informational kiosk for a trade show booth. The project involved designing the outside skin of the kiosk as well as designing and programming the touch screen interface.
What were some of the most important things you learned while at Parkland: One of the most important things I learned was the real world application of how the graphic design industry works. Textbooks teach you about various design theories but the instructors at Parkland take it to the next level and prepare the student for what they are going to encounter out in the work force. While the instructors can’t prepare you for everything you will encounter, they do prepare you with the basics of how to deal with the other pieces of the puzzle that are required besides just creating the artwork (i.e. dealing with a client or a printer). It is that next level of knowledge that smoothes out the transition from student to a professional.
Who is your favorite designer and why: I don’t have a favorite designer, but do have a favorite design house. Crispin Porter & Bogusky is the ad agency responsible for the original Mini Cooper ads and the current VW campaign. Their ads focus more on selling the consumer an idea rather than a product. The ads aren’t filled with spec’s on the product or the benefits, but rather promote the idea that the product projects a certain image about the user. Closer to home, I also have great respect for Chris Brown, Matt Hutton of Spinlight, Ann Maroso, and Al Fleener of Surface 51.
What is your favorite typeface and why: This almost feels like one of those “If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?” questions. While I was a student my favorite typeface was Futura, today I try not to get locked into one typeface but my current favorite is Helvetica Neue. The boldness of the font along with its symmetry is very striking to me. On a side note, I’d be a Weeping Willow tree. They are always flexible & never crack under the pressure.
Web link: www.sixdemonstudio.com