Graphic Designer (Female, Age 32) in Appleton, WI

This is a REAL-LIFE job profile written by a Female aged 32 who works as a Graphic Designer in Appleton, WI. This professional kindly spent a bit of their time to complete our job profile survey so that prospective job seekers like you could read their insights. Please excuse any punctuation or grammatical errors in this profile.

At a Glance

Current Job

Basic data on your current job

Job TitleGraphic Designer
Salary$47,000
Other Compensation None Set
Hours/Week
Company Size(not answered)
LocationAppleton, WI
Years Experience5 years

Career Ratings

Opinions on your CAREER overall (i.e. not just your current job)

Years in Career0
Education(not answered)
Income Rating0 / 10
Interest Rating0 / 10
Work-Life Rating0 / 10
Fulfilment Rating0 / 10

Table of Contents

Current job Q&A

Describe the type of organization you work for.
I work for a small design firm based out of San Diego, CA. Out of the 8 employees, on 4 are located at the home office. The other 4 work from their homes scattered across the country. We work on many large national accounts with our clients being heavily based in the financial and religious markets.

Describe your job role and responsibilities.
I have several accounts that I am responsible for taking care of. I work on all marketing materials for these account from the start to the end of a campaign.

Please list an additional benefits (beyond compensation) that you receive.
Annual all expenses paid conference, 3 weeks vacation, Health costs fully reimbursed for both me and my husband, 2 weeks sicks leave, 401k

Do you feel you are under/over or well/fairly compensated at your current position?
Well compensated

Does your job entail you working with others on a daily basis? Is this something you like/dislike about your job? Please explain.
Yes, I have to work with people on a daily basis, but only via email/phone/chat. I enjoy the people I work with, both fellow employees and clients.

Do you work collaboratively with supervisors/managers?
Yes

Do you work collaboratively with your co-workers?
Yes

Describe your work location (e.g., office, home, theatre, in the field) and what you like/dislike about working in it.
I work from a home office, sitting on my couch with a dog on my lap typically.

Please rate each of the following aspects of your current job on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the highest/best):
Income: 2
Benefits: 5
Hours: 8
Co-Workers: 3
Supervisors: 4
Job Title: 6
Level of Responsibility: 7
The Actual Work: 1

A day in the life of…

Please describe a typical workday for you in your current job:

5am to 6am
6am to 7am
7am to 8am
8am to 9am
9am to 10amI wake up around this time and start getting ready for my day, which starts at 10:30am.
10am to 11amWhen I begin my day, I sit on my couch, grab my laptop and fire it up. I also log into ichat at 10:30 which is how everyone in my office communicates with one another. After logging into ichat, I then check my emails to see if there are any pressing matters that need attention. Today I got an email from a client letting me know that she rolled out the new campaign that we worked on at their company’s national sales meeting and that it got rave reviews. She thanked me and told me I was amazing. That is always nice to hear. She’s my favorite client. She also let me know that she is gathering feedback and will get back to me on Monday with revisions. I sent her an email back letting her know that I was very happy that it went over well.

After checking and responding to my email, I then log into our job management system to see what my workload is for the day. It looks like there are no deadlines for today, but there is one coming up next Thursday for a business card design. I decide to complete that today to give me a running start on next week.

11am to 12pmI open the Adobe Creative Suite programs (Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign and Acrobat) to begin work. As those are opening I read over the job request form to get an idea of what the client is looking for. This client is a church and they want a business card handout for their high school youth group. This will be used to entice new people to join. I see that they want us to provide copy that would attract a young adult. I fire off an email to our copy writer letting him know that I need 25 words on this. He lets me know that he will have it to me later today.

Next I start searching through a stock photo site looking for art that I can use on this handout. I am looking for something young and hip. Something that will appeal to young adults that has bright colors and lots of energy. I enter the search term “teens” and start browsing through photos.

12pm to 1pmStill browsing through teen photos and not finding what I am looking for. I am looking for some very fashion forward artistic shots. It usually takes me a good hour to find the right artwork and there are thousands of photos to search through. I’m getting frustrated that I can’t find what I want so I decide to take a break and come back to it later.

I decide to go to my news sites and read up on the news for the day. I see a link for an infographic on the complexity of the US tax system. The first thing I notice about this infographic is that the design is terrible. I would have done it completely differently. Honestly, the fonts they chose are hideous! Interesting information though, it really makes you think.

Ok, back to the photo hunt. This time I am going to look for background images rather than teen photos. Since I can’t find what I’m looking for I am going to make this interesting with great typography rather than artwork. I will go for a very bold and clean look.

1pm to 2pmI found a great vintage looking wallpaper background that I will use for the handout.

My husband leaves for work at this point so I kiss him good-bye and wish him a good day.

Now it’s time to pick a font. The font on this has to be perfect since this design will be typographic rather than image centric. With over 14,000 fonts in my database this can take a while. I go to a website that has thousands of interesting fonts that you can download for free. I am looking for a strong san serif font that has a bit of character to it. Not your typical san serif font.

I find a font called Masterplan that I like and download it. I then pull up a new page in Illustrator to start working on the type treatment. I just realized that I don’t have a headline to work with. Yeah, I should have figured that out before. I fore off another email to our copy writer asking him is he can shoot me off a headline really quick to work with. He responds minutes later with about 5 options for me to choose from. I choose one that I like and start working on the type treatment.

2pm to 3pmLunch break time. I walk into the kitchen and heat up some leftovers of last nights dinner. I sit down on the couch with my lunch on my lap and watch an episode of Mad Men. I swear I’m not just saying that because the show is centered around an ad agency. I just really love the show and need to get caught up to my husband. I fell asleep last night when we were watching this episode, so I need to finish it so he doesn’t have to watch it again. Great stuff. Great show.
3pm to 4pmI’m still working on the type treatment. I try stacking the words in different ways, using different weights of fonts and end up coming up with a treatment that I think works well for the brand and the objective. There is a lot of trial and error in this process. My method is to keep fooling around with the design on the screen until I get to something that I think works. Others like to sketch out the design on paper beforehand, that never has worked for me.
4pm to 5pmNow that the type treatment is figured out it’s time to work on the design of the piece. I pull up a page in InDesign and set the document up for a business card. I decide to make this a folded business card to give me more room to work with. I also like that it makes it a little less standard which adds interest to the piece.

I get an email from our office manager asking me to proof a job from a printer that I sent out earlier in the week. I scan the pdf in Acrobat to look for errors. I am looking for obvious errors like photos looking bitmapped, fonts defaulting and what-not. Everything looks good on this so I send her an email saying that this job is ok to print.

Back to the handout. I’ve got all of my margins, bleeds and guides set. I import the background image that I’ve selected onto the front bottom half of the front of the handout. I size it accordingly. I then import the type treatment that I worked on in Illustrator. I also import the logo of the church and the logo of youth group and set those to the side of the page for now. I gather the other element I need for the design, the map, address, phone number and url. I create a type box and fill it with greek type, 25 words. I now have all of the elements needed for the design in my document and I just need to figure out the best way to place everything.

5pm to 6pmBetween the last hour and this one I complete the design. I’m pretty happy with the results and hope the client is as well. This client is usually pretty easy to satisfy thankfully. I make a pdf and run it by the owner (who is very involved in the design process) and get his thumbs up. He suggests that I add the service hours, so I make the change and then send the revised pdf to the office manager to send out to the client.

I get an email from a co-worker with some changes from a nightmare client. We are now on revision 39 of a brochure. Wow, just wow. They change their legal disclosure for the 15th time. This job has been open for over a year and at this point it has become a running joke with everyone at the company because the client can never settle on anything! I shake my head, make the changes and move on.

6pm to 7pmI really don’t have anything else to do for the day. I log on to our job management system and make sure all of my billable hours are logged for my jobs. I get everything up to date and now have an hour to kill before my weekend officially starts. I think I’ll turn on the tv and see what’s on.
7pm to 8pmMy computer is closed and I’m done for the day.
8pm to 9pm
9pm to 10pm
10pm to 11pm
11pm to 12am

How you got your job

How did you get your current job?
My father owns the company.

What was the application process?
I was doing temp work for the company and hired on full time.

Did you have to interview for your current job? If yes, what did the interview process entail?
No, I did not have to interview for my current job.

If you can remember, what questions were you asked during the interview?
No interview.

Do you feel your employer properly prepared you for your job? Explain.
Absolutely. It was just like any other design position but I was introduced to the clients and the way this particular firm runs things.

Was there training for your current position? If yes, what did it entail?
No training for this position. You either know how to do the work or you don’t.

Do you feel your educational background prepared you for your job? Explain.
No. College teaches you theory of design but does not prepare you for the real life situations of life in a design agency.

If applicable, do you feel your internship experience helped you prepare for your job?
I did not have an internship, but have worked with many interns at my current job. I would say in this industry having an internship at an ad agency would be the most beneficial thing to come out of college.

If someone wanted to go about getting a job similar to yours, what would you recommend for him or her to do?
I would recommend that they skip college and find an entry level position at an ad agency or design house and start working on the field right away. In this industry a college degree means nothing while a strong portfolio and work experience mean everything. What you learn on the job is so much more valuable than anything college teaches you about the industry. Working with real designers in real life situations is a great way to move up and start building your portfolio.

What skills do you think a person should have if they want to pursue a position like yours?
They need to be creative first and foremost. Just learning how to work the programs will only get you so far in this industry. You will also definitely need great social skills. Being able to interact with clients is key. You need to know how to get them to trust you so that it makes it easier for you to do your job.

Do you feel that you need a certain level of education or training to be successful in your job?
You need to learn how to work the programs which you can teach yourself to do. Don’t waste your money on college.

What advice would you give to someone who was about to start work in your position/ line of work?
To check your ego at the door. There is a lot of ego in this industry and that only holds you back. Look at what your co-workers are doing. Ask lots of questions. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Examine everything around you from menus to billboards to websites that you visit. Read about the industry constantly and stay up to date with current trends.

Long-term career plans

Is your current employment part of your overall career plan? Why or why not?
Yes. I plan to retire at this job. I hope to work here for the next 30 years.

What are your current career goals?
To work hard and retire at 60. I suppose I wouldn’t mind making more money, but that will happen on it’s own as I get a raise each year.

Is there anything else you would like to share about your career?
It is the best career choice ever. I could never imagine doing anything else.

Prior work history

Please list your most recent jobs prior to this current job:

TitleLengthSalaryDescription
Prior Job 1Graphic Designer5 years45000Responsible for working with clients to establish marketing campaigns.
Prior Job 2Owner3 years40000Responsible for working with clients to establish marketing campaigns.

Educational background

Please list your educational background:

High School GPA:3

GPASchoolDegree
College (Undergraduate)
or Technical/Vocational
3College of the RedwoodsGeneral Education
Graduate or Professional
(Masters or Doctorate)

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