Born and raised in Denver, CO and never having been to the east coast, I ventured to Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY to study Art & Design and play Division III Women’s Tennis. While I didn’t start formal graphic design courses until my Junior year, the studio art training that I received at Skidmore was invaluable and laid a strong foundation for basic principles such as color theory, form, and space.
After graduation, I took a design internship with the Aperture Foundation. There, I was lucky enough to work under Emily Lessard--one of the most lovely and inspiring Design Directors in NYC. For a full year, I typeset photo books, designed marketing materials, helped rebrand the foundation, and learned to code eblasts and websites. To this day, I consider it my year of grad school.
Post Aperture, I transitioned to Borsa Wallace Design Studio--a small design firm with big clients! I chose to dip my feet in the agency world as I wanted the experience of working on multiple accounts each day. During this time, I gained incredible knowledge about packaging design and print production. Because the firm was small, the designers wore many hats--we were account managers communicating directly with clients, designers creating the collateral, and production managers overseeing and working alongside our print vendors. Designing for big names such as P&G, Tory Burch, and Johnson & Johnson, I was lucky enough to round out a nice portfolio.
For my final gig in NYC, I became the Art Director at New York Magazine in the Creative Services department. There, I had the opportunity to create all print and digital pieces for audiencedevelopment, and I was responsible for the conception, art direction, design, and production for all NY Mag signature events. The branding, art direction, and design for the 3rd Annual Vulture Festival in 2016 was perhaps my greatest achievement with the company--the festival consisted of 36 events, at 9 venues, over 2 days, which brought Vulture editorial coverage to life through live performances, screenings, animated conversations, comedy, and more. Seeing my work in subway cars and on billboards in Times Square is something I’ll cherish forever!
Currently, I am the Design Services Manager for MOO Print Ltd. in Denver. I feel fortunate to manage such a remarkable team of designers and production artists--all of whom are incredibly talented. My typical work day involves meeting with my counterparts in Providence and London to improve processes and workflow within the design department, reviewing custom design work and providing feedback/guidance, communicating with the sales teams to ensure quality customer experience, and delegating projects to each designer. Of course, most days, I tend to make time for a chocolate break, as well!
Process! I love seeing beautiful, pristine finished products, but I Iove seeing the process behind those finished products even more. Seeing initial sketches, digital renders, or even handwritten notes/edits clues me into someone’s thought process and the work that went into the final piece. Knowing the process and background of a project gives so much more meaning the work, itself.
My advice is twofold.
It’s ok to feel uncomfortable. You may think you’re an agency designer through and through--try going in-house; you may thrive in small environments--take a corporate position; you may love print design--learn to code. As creatives, we should never be complacent. There is always room for change and growth.
Always be the hardest worker in the room. This is a lesson that I learned, not from my professional life, but instead from 15years of playing competitive tennis. In my experience, success is rarely achieved through natural talent--it’s the 110% effort day in and day out that will get you where you want to be.
Professionally, I’ll be continuing to work withmy team at MOO. The Design Services Team and MOO as a company have some big goals to hit in 2018, so I’m beyond thrilled to be part of the action and help make a difference for such an amazing company.
On a personal note, 2018 is a big year for me. I finally get to marry my wonderful fiancé, Jesse, and I couldn’t be more excited. October can’t come soon enough!
I could not be more in favor of internships. After all, that’s how my career began. I do believe, however, that internships are what you make of them. For me, it was a chance to be a sponge--to soak up all of the information I could, work with as many different people and departments as possible, and learn new skills. Internships also help build your portfolio and show that you’re eager to learn and grow within the field.