Part of the curriculum for our Graphic Design Associate’s Degree program, is a portfolio development class. This is a class all students are required to take before finishing their degrees. It ensures they are well prepared to present their design work to prospective employers and helps them discover what their strengths and weaknesses are. Platt College student, Emily Castrence, is one of our most recent graduates and her portfolio is stunning! We asked her about the experience of developing her portfolio and have some examples of those designs below.
Natasha: You’ve just completed your Associate’s Degree in Graphic Design. We saw your portfolio and were blown away! What was your favorite part about the design program here at Platt?
Emily: My favorite part about the overall design program was getting to really dive into the Adobe Suite. In each term you get a progressively harder version of the Photoshop, Indesign, and Illustrator classes. I loved this. Before I came to Platt I had absolutely zero confidence in using any of those programs since I thought it would be too complicated for me to really learn. However as I progressed on through the terms I became more confident in my skills. Before I knew it, I had a waiting list for some freelance Graphic Design work!
Natasha: What would you say was your biggest challenge when it came to putting your portfolio together.
Emily: My biggest challenge was designing a layout that represents me as a Graphic Designer. I had so many ideas for this blank canvas that I had trouble figuring out where I wanted to go with the design. However drawing out potential layout designs on paper to compare them to one another really did help narrow it down.
Natasha: How do you dig yourself out of a creative rut?
Emily: Whenever I am in a creative block I just simply walk away from the project at hand for a bit. Sometimes when I come back with some fresh eyes I can see or envision a new solution for the design. When I walk away I also tend to look through magazines like Communication Arts and PRINT to spark some inspiration.
Natasha: What’s your favorite design project in your portfolio?
Emily: My favorite design would have to be a my Little Prince book cover re-design from Julio Frizza’s Illustrator class. I honestly can’t draw so taking this class was really tough for me. However, as I progressed in the class I decided to push my abilities and try to hand draw as much as I can with each project. The book design was the final project for the class so I attempted to take a risk and draw everything with the pen tool. Little did I know it became one of my strongest pieces out of the whole design program!
Natasha: Do you have a favorite artist or designer who inspires you?
Emily: My all time favorite artist is Makoto Shinkai. He is a Japanese artist and animator who has been recognized for his use of color and his super detailed work. He is well known for his movies such as Your Name, 5 Centimeters Per Second, and The Garden of Words. I just fell in love with his use of colors. Putting together color palettes is one of my favorite activities to do when it comes to brainstorming some designs. He has an eye for picking the right color palette to convey certain feelings for his art. This definitely inspires me to try to do the same with all my design projects and jobs.
Natasha: What’s your dream job?
Emily: My absolute dream job is to be a back end web developer. I always had a love for coding but I didn’t want something too rigid like standard computer programming. I do enjoy creating and designing layouts but I like the logic behind the coding for the sites as well. I feel like going into the web design and development field really gives me the best of both worlds.
Natasha: What advice do you have for students just getting started here at Platt?
Emily: Take each project seriously. Even if you hate it try to design the project in a way to make you like it and be proud of it. Pretend that each project is for an actual client and try to go outside your comfort zone. That way you can really apply and practice all the lessons that you’ve learned in the term. Finally, don’t stop designing. Try to get some freelance work in to really help you refine your abilities. If you don’t have freelance work, try to find ways to renovate your old projects with some new skills you might of picked up from the later terms.
Natasha: Where can we see more of your work?
Emily: I have a temporary art page on Facebook under Fox Trot Designs. I’m currently working on designing and coding a personal website that will feature my designs. Keep a look out on my Facebook page for updates on that!