Visual design seniors accredit creativity as the key to their future

Senior visual communication design students deal with a lot of stress from art projects and finding a job after they graduate, but some say their best memories at NKU are those late nights they spend thinking of creative and innovative ideas.

David Maley, a senior visual communications major, has a passion for design. He is planning to work at a small shop called PB&J as a full time junior designer upon graduation.

“I am always trying my best to improve and work hard on my craft, I think that’s why I have had some amount of success so far, because I keep trying,” Maley said.

College has really changed Maley, design-wise and as a person. When Maley first came to NKU, he said he was a close-minded person and did not really want to try new things.

“I have been lucky to have some really great friends at NKU that I have grown with over the past five years that have really shaped me into the person I am today,” Maley said. “They thought me to be open-minded and to be confident in myself.”

Maley feels like he has grown a lot as an artist as well. He started out in the program learning about the basics, but worked their way up to doing new things.

“I started out doing small-time posters and now I am making videos, books, packages, photos and all sorts of other mediums,” Maley said. “That’s the great thing about design; it’s not limited to one type of medium.”

There are several seniors in the visual communication design program who are graduating in the spring, but are starting to apply for jobs now. Watcharee Iemwimangsa is one of these students.

Iemwimangsa feels that since coming to NKU, she has learned new skills that will be important for her, going into the field. She feels it is important to look at things from different perspectives in the field; it’s important to have a crazy idea, but still have a message to convey.

However, Iemwimangsa does not think of herself as an artist.

“I am a new designer who is hungry to learn new things,” she said. “I feel so lucky that I have met very generous instructors who are very patient.”

The professors are also willing to explain assignments and give advice when a student needed it, Iemwimangsa said.

One of the many memories at NKU that stand out to Iemwimangsa is her Bachelor of Fine Arts Show. As a Thailand native, the art she presented in her show represented her perspective as a Thai woman, and it expressed how she feels that people in the United States waste too much energy.

“I poke fun at them and say, It’s your turn to save energy,’” she said.

Iemwimangsa tries to get people to make a public commitment that they will start conserving energy.

“It was one of the best days of my life. I created artwork that educated an audience and had a lot of fun,” Iemwimangsa said. “I can never forget that day.”

Sarah Faulkner is another senior visual communication design major preparing to graduate this spring. Faulkner wants to find a job that will leave her “satisfied, fulfilled, and happy at the end of the day,” she said. “With design, there are so many different things that you can do which is one of the reasons I love it.”

Faulkner is already employed at Hyperquake, a design firm in Cincinnati.

“I work roughly 15 to 20 hours a week so I could have time to work on my BFA show this semester,” Faulkner said. “Next semester I will most likely do the same so I can focus on my last two classes.”

Working at Hyperquake and taking these classes helps Faulkner to develop her skills as a designer. She feels like the most important skill a designer needs to have is confidence.

“You need to really have the confidence to really push yourself to express your ideas in a public setting without feeling insecure or embarrassed by them,” Faulkner said. “Some of the craziest ideas are the best ideas for guiding you through the creative process to a great solution.”

Krissy Gully, another student in the program, thinks that technical skills are important when it comes to being a designer.

“I would say creativity, critical thinking and problem solving superpowers are just as important,” she said. “I’m pretty adept to solving problems and thinking critically. After 5.5 years of school, I’d like to think I have a handle on the technical skills aspect.”

For Gully, the program has given her a chance to work in her element.

“It provided the opportunity to solve problems and while still working in a creative field,” she said. “I would say the biggest change I saw in myself as an artist was actually finding my niche in the art world.”

Gully’s work ethic took a positive turn since high school, where she slacked a bit.

Despite the fact that she has pulled all-nighters throughout her college career, she believes that college has made her a “more responsible and a smarter and harder working individual,” she said.

Since Faulkner has started at NKU, she feels that she has changed as a designer and as a person.

“It’s hard to show exactly how I have changed, that is what my work shows to me in a way,” she said. “A lot of that credit goes to a great family, fantastic professors that pushed me to personally reflect and grow as a person and designer and great friends that I have made in my time here at NKU.”

Faulkner gives the advice to not set a specific plan for after you graduate, just in case your plans fall through, she said

“Let life take its course. Whether you make plans or not, you are going to end up where you are meant to end up,” Faulkner said. “Just do what you love and what makes you happy and you will be headed in the right direction.”

Gully gives advice about how you should act with employers.

“Employers want you to be as curious about them as they are of you. Don’t be afraid to be pushy,” she said. “I always follow-up with an interview the next day with a quick email or phone call.”

It is important for students to be memorable to future employers, Gully said. She thinks it is important to tell the employers information about yourself that will make them remember who the person is and make a connection.

“Reaching out to show an interest in a business is never a bad thing,” Gully said.