Nine Birds in a Trench Coat

Yes, this photo only has six, we're working on getting all of them together in one calm photo

My First Design Job

My very first graphic design job was in college for a state government agency. I had taken exactly one class on Adobe Illustrator and one on basic graphic design principles with InDesign. I still don’t know how I was the one chosen for that position. Unless I was the only one who applied, which may have been the case, thinking back on it…

But anyway – I loved it. I had constraints with the content, but I was the design department. I got briefs from the marketing director and then I had creative freedom over what I did with those briefs. The designs I made while there were mainly for ads – I still have the magazines with my designs in them somewhere! – but I also created event collateral, like menus and brochures, table signs, that kind of thing. I also designed the icons that they used for each tier of their membership! Wow, the more I write about this, the more I remember about my time there. I don’t think they still use those icons, but it has been eight years and they’ve gone through a rebrand, so that’s not surprising.

My calling has always been working in a creative field

I used to design invitations and flyers for pool parties and Halloween parties and birthday parties… I’d edit group video projects, I’d draw and color birthday cards, etc. I LOVED being artistic creating visuals. Now… were any of those designs or videos good?

…I was in junior high and high school and had zero training or education on graphic design, so I’m going to go with “no,” but I enjoyed creating them nonetheless and it sparked a passion. Taking those very introductory level graphics classes in college only fanned those flames.

Because I’d had that graphic design internship in college, I was able to get a Marketing Designer position right after graduation at a large real estate company that had an in-house marketing department for their agents. This real estate company spanned multiple states, as well as the US Virgin Islands. It was my first real graphic design job (that wasn’t considered an internship), so I was bound to learn a lot, but wow! I don’t think I was prepared for just how much I would learn from my peers and grow as not only a designer, but as a person, from that job.

I took a break from professional graphic design

When I left that position in 2019, I went to a company that specialized in 3D visualization and also learned a lot there about creating 3D in a professional capacity. Though I wasn’t doing graphic design, I was creating architectural renderings from AutoCAD plans in 3DS Max and different rendering engines. (That is a service that I may provide in the future! For now though, I’m focusing on branding and web design)

These days, I have a lot more experience and a lot more skills at my disposal, but I still get briefs and I still (mostly) have creative freedom over what I create – the amount of creative freedom depends on the client. Only now, my designs are supported by research and strategy and not just “oh that looks cool!” which, I feel like, is how everyone starts out with graphic design. But hey, we all start somewhere. (That somewhere is probably Word Art in Microsoft Powerpoint). And the cool thing about life is that we all have endless opportunities to learn and grow and, if we’re really lucky, endless opportunities to pursue new interests and passions.

I can confidently say that I would not be writing this post right now if I hadn’t taken that one single-credit class in Adobe Illustrator and gotten my internship at that government agency. This is one of the very first things I did in Illustrator after that class ended:

Adobe Illustrator vector graphic design of a dog laying on the floor in front of a Christmas tree

It’s not the worst thing I’ve ever seen, but definitely not the best. And clearly I got tired of outlining everything after the tree, gifts, and dog, because the rest of that image is the photo with a filter applied.

And this is a carousel post I designed for a brief challenge on Instagram within the last week:

After spending my entire childhood believing I was going to be a wildlife veterinarian and then all of my teenage years thinking I was going to be some kind of super famous actor, I now own my own graphic design business that focuses on brand and web design and I could not be more thrilled.

If you’re a business owner in an industry where you’re constantly told, “This is the way it is because it’s how it’s always been done,” and you’re really sick of hearing that excuse, I want to help you disrupt that industry and shatter that mindset. If you are interested in working with me to do that, click here to inquire and get started on your project.

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