How it All Began
I was a teenager when I decided I wanted to make movie posters for a living. This was my first motivation to pursue graphic design so I enrolled in a program at the Drumright Central Technology Center as a junior in high school and began earning college credit. I excelled in class and at local competitions for the SkillsUSA Vocational Industrial Clubs of America.
I did some career path research and quickly realized I needed a four-year degree. I moved to Claremore, Oklahoma to live on campus and attend Rogers State University as an art student when I was 17. Some of my favorite classes included Design Practicum, in which we worked local entrepreneurs on real brands; Animation, in which we made stop-motion videos, flip books and learned Flash; and Web Design, in which we built our own websites using Dreamweaver.
A couple of years into college, I joined Rogers County Printing as a graphic designer. Working on a team of 3 (including the owner and our press operator), we helped small businesses with their design and printing needs. My favorite moment was seeing my name and official title on my business card. This was my first professional design job and I worked at RCP for four awesome years until I finished school.
The Final Countdown
I graduated from Rogers State University in 2010 with my Bachelor's Degree of Fine Art in Visual Arts, with a major in graphic design. I was awarded as the Distinguished Graduate of the Class of 2009-2010 by the Head of the Fine Arts Department, Gary Moeller, for exceptional academic performance.
After graduation, I moved to Tulsa and joined a team of graphic designers at Community Publishers in Broken Arrow in 2010. I worked on publication, editorial and advertising design at the Broken Arrow Ledger for two years. After our engagement, I moved with my fiance, James, to Austin, Texas.
Everything is Better in Texas
In early 2014 I joined Community Impact Newspaper as a graphic designer for the San Marcos/Buda/Kyle edition. For two years, I worked on editorial design and print advertising and then was promoted to Senior Designer. I began helping train, support, and mentor the greener designers while tackling any extra design-related tasks as needed around the office. As the company grew, I was promoted to an internal support role as the company's first Senior Digital Designer. I began working on corporate website design, social media campaigns, online advertising processes, content management training, and the promotion of our digital products.
As my duties and responsibilities grew, and I was promoted to Senior Brand Designer and given a more appropriate title to match my responsibilities. In addition to my previous duties as the digital designer, I worked on corporate branding, digital product design, and the UI/UX for in-house software and applications. I also began working more closely with internal teams and management to improve company culture and encourage employee engagement, increase recruiting efforts to bring in top talent, and redesign the onboarding process for new hires. I spent an incredible five years at Community Impact and I will forever be grateful for the opportunities I was given to develop myself personally and professionally.
Check out three big projects from my time at Community Impact: CommunityImpact.com, Community Impact Printing, and Community Impact's branding.
A New Adventure
In May 2018, I was offered an opportunity to join a new team at a marketing and branding agency for higher education, TWG Plus. As the Senior Designer (and unofficial Digital Ambassador), I worked with colleges and universities across the country on their brand, including multimedia design, publications, direct mail, email, digital advertising, websites, and landing pages. Additionally, I provided art direction, copywriting, and content creation for print and digital marketing campaigns. As part of the Culture Team, we created an internal monthly newsletter, organized office events, created team building opportunities, and provided feedback to management about employee engagement.
During my time at TWG Plus, I worked with colleges and universities across the country, like Catawba College in North Carolina, Marshall University in West Virginia, Greenville University in Illinois, and many more! After TWG closed in January 2019, I spread my wings and begin exploring contract opportunities in the Austin area and beyond.
In March 2019, I began working with Hunt, Gather, a boutique creative agency based in Austin, as a Senior Designer. After a month of hard work, good food and corny jokes, I was invited to join the team full-time. Hunt, Gather is a powerful group of multi-talented professionals that partner with clients of all kinds to provide a wide range of marketing, consulting, and creative services.
During my time at HG, I gained several new skills, including strategy and concepting, illustration and GIF animation, and email marketing design. I created multimedia work for clients like Chipotle, Planned Parenthood, Gartner, HID Global, and more.
Back to the Future
After seven months at HG, I decided to take my show on the road and revisit freelance and contract work. Now you'll find me covered in dog hair in my home office, working on projects for nonprofits, startups, small businesses, and entrepreneurs. I am excited to see where this new path takes me in 2020!