Notable Alumni

Notable alumni of Parkland College.  We consider anyone who completed a degree, started an educational journey, or earned job skills through Parkland, a proud alumnus!

Matthew Farrell

Graphic design, interactive design, web development

Associate in Applied Science

Graphic Design


Matthew Ferrell passed away suddenly on June 12, 2016. His positive energy, unique perspective, and community involvement made him a beloved citizen of Champaign-Urbana. Parkland College Graphic Design faculty and alumni will fondly remember him as an exceptionally creative and dedicated individual. Our deepest condolences to his friends and loved ones. (The profile below was submitted by Matthew on 9/9/14)


Hometown: Urbana, IL
Year Graduated: 2013
Currently working at: McKenzie Wagner

How does it feel to be a professional designer: Back when I first started as a student I would imagine doing professional design work and it was all I wanted in the world. To be recognized as a talented professional designer was the dream. The new dream is to have some down time! Nowadays there is always at least three or four projects on my desk at any given time. But really though, it’s a dream come true.

How do you like your job: It’s pretty great. The work isn’t always the sexiest stuff, but that's just the nature of the trade. My creative director and lead designer are SUPER talented, and they throw me a nice bone once in awhile. Everyone I work with is super chill and I've learned a ton since I started. My freelance work is where I get most of my kicks because I get to do a lot of brand identity work, which is my favorite type of stuff.

What was the most exciting project you've worked on since graduation: That would have to be the work I’ve done for the new skate shop in Downtown Urbana, Farm League Skate Shop. I pretty much have full creative control over the stuff I do there. My second passion after graphic design is skateboarding, so you can probably imagine why this work was so cool for me. It’s ongoing, too! I’ve done the logo, an alternate script logo which has been placed on shoes and t-shirts, a shop skate deck, promotional posters, social media graphics. There’s always something new and fun to do for the shop. Sk8 or die!

What were some of the most important things you learned while at Parkland: Man, I learned so much at Parkland. It’s hard to say which is the most valuable thing because they have all contributed to my success today. The first thing that pops in my head would have to be the experience gained when Paul Young brought in real world clients. It really provided a nice basis for me to create my own approach to interacting with clients.

What is your favorite designer and why: This is a hard question. I believe the best design is created when a group of people interact and help each other on a design. That being said, I really like the work coming out of Anagrama in Mexico. Their brand work is so polished and kick-ass. Great conceptual thinkers over there.

What is your favorite typeface and why: This is an even harder question. I have to say that my favorite typeface is the one that suits the job at hand. You know that gut feeling you get when it just seems right? That’s my favorite typeface. Ok, want a solid answer: I’ve been using Trade Gothic A LOT recently. I just can’t pick favorites, there’s too many great ones.

Do you have any advice for current students: Research, research, research. Always be looking at great design. It will soon become your own visual language and one day you won't know what hit you, you will just be able to do it like the pros. Also: network, network, network. If you are looking for freelance work, the more you get out there and say "I'm a graphic designer," the more jobs you will get. You'd be surprised.