What kind of work are you doing now?
I’m employed at Mission Media, a full service agency in in downtown Baltimore, Maryland. I was just promoted to art director after three years of working as a designer. I mainly focus on the design and overseeing of branding, print collateral and the development of advertising campaigns, in coordination with our web and interactive design team. My work ranges from logos and catalogs to package design, book jackets, in-store signage, apparel, and outdoor graphics — I even get to design the handle graphics for field hockey and lacrosse! Mission has a vast client base, including sporting good companies, entertainment venues, non-profits, and education. Some of our most notable clients would be STX, Nike, The Maryland Zoo, Charm City Cakes, and Warner Brothers.
What is the best thing about being a designer?
I think as a designer you develop a different and very specific way of looking at the world. Throughout your education you learn the power and value of aesthetics in communicating a specific message. Design is great because it gives you the chance to see how other creative people are trying to communicate similar messages and what the most effective methods for doing so are.
How did the graphic design program at SU prepare you for the real world?
The day I learned that good grades aren’t the be-all, end-all of becoming a designer was the day I allowed myself to start taking chances, and allowing myself to “fail.” While you do need to maintain a decent GPA in school, college is the best place to explore and push your limits, and sometimes that means experiencing failures. The design program at SU recognizes this and allows for students to grow and have failures in order to become better, more skilled designers. Learning your strengths and weaknesses is essential! After being out of school for a while and meeting many designers from other schools, I really credit the Susquehanna program with developing fundamentals to an extent that I rarely see in designers from other programs. Really knowing these fundamentals not only provides a competitive advantage when you are looking for job, but also gives the designer a set of skills that is applicable across many different platforms, whether it’s print, digital, interactive, or environmental design.
What are your favorite memories of the graphic design program at SU?
Nothing really compares to the late nights of delirium and genius that happened in the design studio. Years later, my classmates and I still talk about those nights.
What advice do you have for someone choosing a college design program?
Put the time and work in while you’re in school. Soak up all you can while you’re in the college environment — working on longer deadlines, not having clients kidnapping your designs, and having a room-full of competition to motivate you. That being said, you also need to learn to be self-motivated. Find things that inspire you, whether it’s other designers, artists, or something from a completely unrelated discipline, and then let those inspirations fuel your work. Also — embrace criticism. Learn how to really hear people and appreciate different perspectives, and be able to balance that with confidence in yourself.