Hometown: Arcola, IL
Year graduated: 2014
Currently working at: The Libman Company (Arcola IL)
How does it feel to be a professional designer: It feels pretty flipping amazing! There are days to where I still can't believe that I finally made it to this point after all that time in school, but it was all worth it!
How do you like your job: I absolutely love my job. I love the people I work with, the environment that I work in, and everything in between. One thing I enjoy in particular is being able to go to a store like Home Depot, Walmart or Menards and seeing artwork that I have designed on the shelf. It's still so mind blowing every time I pass through our aisle.
How did you get this job: I started working at the factory, on the floor/warehouse at the age of 16. I was there throughout high school and some of my college years. About two years ago I heard they were offering a graphic design internship in the office and I applied. I brought my portfolio to a couple of interviews and was offered the position. My internship ended and I was asked if I would be interested in staying while I finished up school at Parkland, and of course I said "heck yea!" So here I am now, full time in-house graphic designer, and I'm loving every second of it!
What was the most exciting project you've worked on since graduation: I have been fortunate enough to work on some awesome projects other than just packaging, but I would have to say that the most exciting thing I have done lately is designing one of our two "Heritage" walls. Just recently we had the International Home and Houseware Show going on at the McCormick Place in Chicago and I was fortunate enough to have designed one of the walls that was showcased at our booth. The wall depicts memorable points in the company's history that helped mold the company to what it is today as well as what is currently taking place at the company.
What were some of the most important things you learned while at Parkland: One of the things I learned from Parkland is that you should never settle with your first idea! Keep your creative juices going, because your first idea, no matter how awesome it is, it might not be the right or best answer to the solution. I also learned to always carry a sketchbook! You never know when you catch your inspiration. Freelancing on the side, I have learned that my answer to a solution hits me at the most unexpected times. So I have made it a habit to carry my sketchbook for whenever inspiration strikes.
What do you wish you would have done differently when you were at Parkland: Although I mentioned in the previous question to never settle for your first idea, it also important to not over do it because you will miss the deadline. I wish I could have toned it down a bit because I was never pleased with what I doing, so time management became an issue for me.
What is your favorite typeface and why: I'm a sucker for an elegant script fonts that is well-designed like Bickham Script.
Do you have any advice for current students: Research, stay up-to-date with what is going on in the design world. Network. This one is important. If you know a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy who knows that you are a designer…boom…you have a job. Also if your not planning on freelancing to pay your bills, get a job in the real world while you are in school as quickly as possible! Either get an internship or something, because school is a SAFE ZONE! Although school is great and allows us to explore our creative ideas while getting helpful skills and tips to help further ourselves in the process, it does not teach us what it's like in the real world. You need first-hand experience, people skills, and you need to know how to work in a team. Also don't be weird. Nobody likes that guy who randomly makes cat noises in the corner by himself. Just kidding! Learn to have fun while at work, it makes the day go by faster.