"Be creative, but be accurate."
The Global Design Director shares how she utilizes visuals to improve education, why collaboration is her favorite tool, and why triple-checking your work will always be in style.
DesignRush: Where do you look for inspiration in your day-to-day work?
Stacey Abraham: Working in a corporate in-house creative group provides a large range of projects. Inspiration comes from the sheer variety of projects ranging from video and animation, to "info-stations", web elements and presentations. It is also always helpful to check out other projects in the space you are working and to look through design publications and other marketing materials that appeal to you.
DR: What do you think will change within the next ten years in terms of design?
SA: Knowing how to make the computer do what you need is the least important aspect of being a graphic designer. The technology used will keep updating and changing, but knowing how to use your brain and think your way through to a clear, visual solution that satisfies a client will never change.
DR: What are a few of your favorite design tools and why?
SA: This will sound odd, but my favorite tool is collaboration. A whiteboard or brainstorm session usually brings out the really interesting aspects of a project. I also rely on sketching ideas first, then I move to my laptop. Illustrator is my current favorite but this is always changing.
DR: What does a person coming into the field need to know?
SA: Learning how to think through a visual problem, decide what your design's purpose is, and then executing it to please your client is an important part of being a graphic designer. Attention to detail is extremely important too. From organized project files that include all assets in a clear hierarchy to making sure there are no spelling errors or incorrect color formulas-- a designer needs to be organized and clear.
DR: What structure or culture needs to exist when you work in collaboration on a design?
SA: Each workplace or freelance project can be different.
For example, some organizations have project managers that will handle almost all the client interaction, while a freelance designer will handle their own clients. Most important is a culture of trust and creativity - many times the first concept or idea raised, is only a stepping stone to many more ideas.
DR: Any final thoughts or words of wisdom?
SA: Be creative! But be accurate -- a typo on a resume or cover letter can cause a hiring manager to immediately drop.
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