Get a Behind-the-Scenes Look at Graphcom’s Graphic Design Team
A Q&A with Graphcom Art Director Jessica Dean
When Art Director Jessica Dean started working at Graphcom in 2009, the Creative division was nothing like it is today. With only three people working in the entire Creative office, there was plenty of room for growth. Today, with Jessica at the helm, our graphic design team is pushing boundaries every day to create exciting marketing pieces for clients.
What’s a typical day in the life of an art director?
I come to work and I don’t know what I’ll get into. There are so many variables, and a client can change their mind at any minute. My role is to make sure that the design team has the tools they need to be creative, push the envelope, and constantly be asking why. It’s important that we’re making decisions that benefit our clients and, more importantly, their audience. It can look pretty—but it has to work!
Is there an aspect of design that you enjoy working on the most?
It’s always fun to do our own stuff (Graphcom), and we’ve been doing a lot of trade show booths. We have a lot of clients that are larger and campaign driven, so that’s both complex and fulfilling. I love the projects that are affecting families and young children (like the work we do for Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital or Einstein Healthcare Network and its Albert Einstein Society). It is nice to know that through our skills, we are in some way helping patients and healthcare staff.
How do you keep everyone in the department motivated?
It can be hard when something personal has happened to you. On days when you’re just tired, it can be tough to keep everyone happy and motivated. Thankfully, our team is not only hardworking, but we keep one another inspired. It also helps that we are one big family!
What’s your process for understanding what a client wants from you as a designer?
I do a lot of research. The first thing I need to do is learn about the company. I also think it’s important to show your work to people who understand the clients and those who don’t.
What did you go to school for?
Growing up, I loved art—especially drawing and painting. When I went to high school, I had a great fine arts program, so I’m not afraid to pick up a pen and paper. I went to Bradley Academy for art school, which was very hands on. The instructors there were mostly working professionals, and I liked that a lot. That allowed me to get a lot of real-world experience while still in school.
What would you tell someone looking to start a career in design?
First, you need to be passionate and love what you do. It also doesn’t hurt to have a natural eye for design. Finally, you have to have thick skin, because you will constantly be told, “I don’t like that.” Don’t take it personally, and don’t get too worked up. There are a million ways to do one thing.
What’s your workspace like?
Messy and hot. (Our office is an old candy kitchen, so it’s not the most efficient—thus it gets a little warm!) I try to keep things organized, and I have a bin system. When someone has a proof for me, they stick it in my bin so that I can see it. Printed proofs are the best way to review work. Finally, I have a standing desk, and I try to stand for most of the day.
What creative projects do you work on in your free time?
We have Celebrate Gettysburg, and that’s a great outlet for us because I’m the client. I also love to decorate and interior design in general. I also enjoy being outside and finding inspiration in things in nature.
Ready for our design department to take your campaign to the next level? Give us a call at 800-669-1664 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.