Area of Study: BFA, Graphic + Interactive Design. Minor, Art History.
Current City: Boston, MA
Graduation Date: Spring 2008
Current Occupation: Senior Visual Experience Designer, Mad*Pow, (Boston office)
Why did you choose WCU and/or the Department of Art + Design?
Towards the end of high school and during my first year of college, I fell in love with fine art and photography; this led me into the acknowledgement of design as a career path. WCU had an amazing curriculum in the Department of Art + Design and provided me with the well-rounded, diverse knowledge that I craved.
What training or education did the Department of Art + Design provide for you that relates to your current occupation?
The Department of Art + Design of course the things that you would expect such as classes on color theory, typography, layout design, web design, packaging design and so much more. But what really stands out to me is the practical knowledge and experiences that WCU provided for me. Presenting my ideas to colleagues and professors who made sure that I was giving my best, questioning all of the decisions I made to provide the most well thought out results possible, and providing the environments that allowed for free-flowing and creative collaboration between classmates.
What is a typical day like for you?
Every day is different for me (which is one of the reasons I love design). Typically I'm on 1-3 projects at any given time, which can be in varying stages of the project from kickoff to delivery. Sometimes this can be a bit crazy but it always keeps things interesting and ensures that you stay on your toes!
I am usually in the office around 9 AM after a morning run and a of couple cups of coffee. I typically start my day answering emails that may have rolled in over night and then I get straight to designing. I typically design in Illustrator, manage projects in Basecamp and Trello and put screen designs into InVision for gaining collaborative feedback.
I used to be in the print design industry but since working with Mad*Pow I do primarily interactive work both on the visual design and UX spectrums. I've always been interested the psychology behind design so this venture into User Experience has been an incredibly exciting road!
Being involved in both the visual design and UX of a project often means that I am a part of the design process from the beginning, which is my favorite way to work. My best day is one where I start and end it in our whiteboard room called The Bat Cave. A group of us on the project team will lock ourselves in and do immersive brain storming sessions; this includes concept sketches, whiteboard drawings, and lots and lots of Post-Its!
What advice would you give to someone who would like to enter your field?
Try every avenue of design that you can. In my career as a designer I have worked at a publishing house, a packaging design firm, an advertising agency, a small design firm, a sign shop, freelance, and at my current position. Working or interning at so many different places allowed me to really understand the different paths that I could take as a designer. Some things that I thought were what I had wanted ended up being the wrong fit in the end and I would have never known that if I hadn't had so many different experiences in the design field. Having those experiences also gave me many different skills, which I have been able to use throughout my career.
What is your favorite memory of being a student at WCU and/or in the Department of Art + Design?
The Senior Art Show. For me the Senior Art Show was more than just presenting my work to colleagues, family and friends. Of course it was a stressful time, but it was also a time where I was able to take everything that I had learned during my time at WCU and put it to the test. I was able to rework projects and see how much I had grown as a designer. Seeing everything that you have accomplished in one showcase is a truly fabulous feeling and worth all of those sleepless nights!