Careers In The Arts: Graphic Design
One of our favorite aspects of doing what we're passionate about at Acceptd is meeting other people and organizations who are just as passionate about the same things! Every day we're excited to help connect young artists with opportunities that help them learn, thrive, and succeed. With school break on the horizon, we've recently shared the Acceptd Summer Guide which includes camps, programs, internships, and information about careers in the arts.
To really dig into what it's like working in the arts as a graphic designer, we talked to the fantastically creative Christie Casselring for the scoop. Christie is the Senior Graphic Designer and Merchandise Manager at a Cherry Hill, NJ, non-profit organization whose vision truly aligns with our vision here at Acceptd, called Destination Imagination. As international programming, represented around the world and in almost every US state, you can live anywhere to get involved! They are awesome. Read on to see why.
Name: Christie Casselring
Role/Job/Career: Senior Graphic Designer/Merchandise Manager
Company/Organization: Destination Imagination
Acceptd Category: Visual Arts
Acceptd: Why do you love the arts?
Christie: I love the arts because they are an extension of everything. I get to learn about and be involved with so many different things. I explore math, science, geography, psychology and many other disciplines as part of my job.
Acceptd: Can you describe what it is that you do in your role at Destination Imagination?
Christie: I design logos, print publications, and merchandise. We are an educational non-profit. I also work on digital projects such as websites and apps.
One of my biggest jobs is to oversee souvenir sales at our annual event, Destination Imagination Global Finals. I design and purchase merchandise such as apparel, pins, and other souvenirs. I manage a staff of about 20 during our five-day event, as well as design the store and merchandising. I’m also heavily involved in designing all kinds of signage, banners, maps and other printed pieces for the event.
Acceptd: Did you attend college or any arts programming?
Christie: Yes, I have one bachelor’s degree in Fine Art, with a specialization in ceramics and jewelry, and a second BFA with a specialization in graphic design.
Acceptd: That's incredible, congratulations. Would you say your path to get here was it the “traditional path” for graphic design?
Christie: I received my first degree after attending college right out of high school. After college I worked in a field that was not related to the arts, and after eight years decided I wanted to pursue Graphic Design. I received my second degree and have been a working Graphic Designer for the last 10 years.
Acceptd: Good for you for making the change! Did you ever expect this would be your job?
Christie: I always knew I’d work in the arts, but it did take me awhile to figure out which specific path was best for me. The more I learned about graphic design, the more exciting I found it was, and I haven’t looked back since I started.
Acceptd: Can you speak to risk vs reward when it comes to pursuing careers in the arts?
Christie: If you’re considering a career in the arts, be prepared to work hard to refine your skill. I’ve seen a lot of my friends from college end up working in the arts, whether it’s in screen printing, fashion design, graphic design or art education, and they have all worked hard to get where they are. That said, it’s so wonderful to see that what may have been an outlet or a hobby to some, can turn into a highly rewarding career for others.
When you work in the arts, no two days are the same and creative opportunities never stop coming. I’ve really grown a lot as a person, and as an artist, over the years and I’m happy to say becoming a designer has been the best choice I’ve ever made.
Acceptd: And why is your story unique?
Christie: I think my story is unique because the first time I went to college, I didn’t have a plan, and I probably didn’t take it as seriously as I should have. I wasn’t able to parlay my first degree into a job, and years later had to revisit a career in the arts that was in demand. Graphic design allows me creative freedom, but is also a job that is always needed in industries across the board.
Acceptd: Who was the most influential person on your career?
Christie: I would have to say one of my design professors, Susan Bowman. She worked in graphic design since cut and paste literally meant cutting with scissors and pasting with glue. She put less emphasis on the current technology and software, and more on design concepts and history. Laying the firm groundwork for how to “train my eye” has proven to be invaluable.
Acceptd: What is your proudest achievement?
Christie: I design the logo for our annual event, which is attended by 18,000 people. To see that logo every year on a jumbo-tron, at the airport, on merchandise, and everywhere else across the event makes me feel pretty darn proud!
Acceptd: That is definitely really cool!! Last but not least, what advice do you have for young artists?
Christie: Learn as many disciplines as you can, but know your focus. Students loans ARE real money so use them wisely! Don’t get discouraged if your art isn’t where you want it to be, you will be surprised how much you progress just by practice, practice, practice.
If you or someone you know would make a great featured artist for an Acceptd Careers in the Arts blog, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for being a part of our community! We hope you're making something great today.