Art Director at ab + c creative intelligence
What is your professional background?
I am still fairly new to the professional world. I graduated from The Pennsylvania State University in 2013 with bachelor’s degrees in both Marketing and Advertising. Shortly after graduation, I was offered an internship on the creative team at Brian Communications.
After two months of interning, I was hired full time as Junior Designer. Since then, I was promoted to Designer, followed by Junior Art Director, and most recently, Art Director. About a week ago, I started a new gig at ab+c creative intelligence as Art Director.
Not only do I feel extremely grateful to have secured a position in creative advertising, but it’s also been very exciting to experience such positive career growth over the last three years.
What sparked your interest in graphic design?
Art and math were always two areas at which I excelled in school and two of my passions growing up. I’ve always loved expressing my creativity, but I’ve also always been very methodical and organized. I love the sense of accomplishment I get from problem solving, which is what graphic design in advertising is all about.
I should have realized I was passionate about graphic design when I took Computer Arts I & II in high school, but it took me a little while to really understand that I could build a career in the field of graphic design. As soon as I took my first creative advertising course my junior year of college, it was like a light bulb went off.
Your passion turned into a career. What has that been like for you?
Honestly, it has been amazing. When I finally had the realization that I wanted to pursue creative advertising, I was worried it was too late in my college career to build a portfolio and get a job as a designer. Now that I’ve been lucky enough to turn my passion into a career, I can’t imagine my life any other way.
I actually had a full-time job offer in New York City as a Junior Media Planner, and I turned it down for my internship at Brian Communications. I was so dead set on making it in creative advertising that I opted for an internship over a job, which was a very difficult decision to make as a recent (and poor) college graduate, but it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
Most days, work doesn’t feel like work – it feels like play. In the wise words of Confucius, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
As a member of the Ad Club 2.0 Leadership Team, what are you involved with?
As a member of the Philly Ad Club 2.0 Leadership Team, I have the privilege of working with other talented young professionals to plan and organize various events hosted by the Ad Club 2.0 committee. As one of the only graphic designers on the leadership team, I am typically responsible for designing all of the promotional materials associated with each of our events. I also help out with running the Philly Ad Club’s social media channels, so I’m usually the one snapping photos at the 2.0 events – anything for more social content!
I was always involved in multiple organizations throughout high school and college, so it’s been really exciting for me to have the opportunity to get involved with the Philly Ad Club. I’ve met so many wonderful advertising professionals in the region through my involvement, which I’m incredibly grateful for.
You were awarded Philly Ad Club’s Movers and Shakers 2.0 Award in April 2016. What was that experience like for you to be recognized by your industry?
That experience was a whirlwind. It was so rewarding to be recognized among so many other talented and impressive professionals and young professionals. Just to see my name next to the names of the others recognized that day was such a cool feeling. It also felt great knowing that I was nominated by two of my colleagues at Brian Communications. Our agency has close to 60 employees, so to be the one employee nominated was pretty awesome. It’s always a great feeling knowing your hard work isn’t going unnoticed.
What advice would you give to someone who is starting out their career in graphic design?
Have confidence in yourself and your work. It’s a crowded, competitive space, but I guarantee you that you are your own biggest critic. Graphic designers can be very vulnerable, but it’s important to develop thick skin. It’s easy to get attached to your work. Learn not to take feedback from clients and colleagues too personally. Don’t let anything discourage you from designing and sharing your work – it’s all part of the learning and growing process. Keep sketching, designing, reading, exploring and sharing your work with the world. And never stop improving. Keep that ego in check.