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Honor Roll: Allison Kerek

Hey! Tell us a little bit about yourself. Whats your major and where do you go to school?

Hello! I’m just about to graduate from Tyler School of Art with a BFA in Graphic and Interactive Design. It was a terrific experience, but I’m ready to see what’s next.

Your illustration style reminds me bit of mid ’90s nickelodeon/MTV, a style I haven’t seen around in awhile. Where you you get your inspiration from? (T.V. shows, comics, other artists, etc.)

90’s Nick and MTV is what I grew up on. When I was young my mom would let me watch shows like Beavis and Butthead, Ren and Stimpy, Daria, South Park, and so on. Looking back on it, I have no idea why she let me watch such disturbing shows, but I’m glad she did. I’m still inspired by those animated series, as well as modern ones like Ugly Americans, and most of the Adult Swim programming. I also love King of the Hill, the characters on the show are perfect. I’m not much of a comics girl, but I am a big fan of the illustrators Josh Cochran and Christopher SilasNeal. Most of my friends are talented designers and artists who consistently inspire me. Tyler has phenomenal professors who have helped me grow tremendously. Dribbble’s awesome as well.

 You’re also integrating this style into the web and I think that it’s awesome to see a website not conformed to a 16 column grid with pretty perfect text boxes everywhere. When you are designing/illustrating for web how do you go about laying everything out? I’m also seeing that you’re working with hand done type for almost every page you do, that takes some severe dedication. Tell us a little about your process from start to finish.

When it comes to the web I research the content of the website, sketch out what I want to do, cruise through a bunch of website websites, see how other illustrators approached web design, and then work my magic. I’m so thankful that I was able to learn CSS. Being able to code a website is so rewarding.

When it comes to type I lay everything out in photoshop, print it out, trace over the letters so that I get the kerning, leading and all of that jazz right and then alter the letters until I’m happy with them. When it comes to medium I like to create my type with pen, pencil, paint, or colored pencils. It’s time consuming but worth it.

 If you had to choose to do either illustration or (web/print) design for a living, which would you prefer?

I’d probably say animation because it’s the best of both worlds. Seeing your illustrations come to life is so rewarding. I’m still very new to animation, so I’d like to work somewhere where I could learn more about the animation programs.

What is your preferred medium for your illustrations? What roll does the computer play in your style?

The medium I use depends on the project. I usually scan my drawings into photoshop, then multiple color on top of the scan, and then multiple hand made textures on top of it all. For my textures I usually use colored pencil or paint, but I also like graphite, pastels, and charcoal.  Sometimes when I’m tired of drawing I’ll paint everything. I like to mix it up.

One project that had my jaw on the floor was “The Retired Kid”. The amount and the quality of those illustrations were unreal. Could you tell us a little about this project.

That was probably the easiest project that I’ve done at Tyler, as well as my favorite print piece. The assignment was to re-illustrate an existing children’s book. I went to the Free Library to find a book, and came across the book “The Retired Kid” by Jon Agee. I loved the story, and thought my illustration style could spice it up. I sketched out the entire book right away, making sure to mix up the lay out often, and then got to work. It was a monster of a project, but I never felt stressed out while doing it, honestly it was a lot of fun. I replaced the siblings in the story with my nephews, which made the project more personal to me. Another bonus about this project was that it the course was instructed by Paul Kepple from Headcase Design, and it was a pleasure having him as a professor. He was incredible.

Your projects have a fun, gruesome, intricate, colorful and super considered vibe to them, how do you go about coming up with the ideas for these illustrations? How big of a roll is concepting for you?

Concept usually isn’t a very big struggle for me. More often than not my ideas come to me very quickly. It really depends on the project. I can pretty much instantly tell what I want my animations to look like. I also like to do a lot of research on all my projects, especially when they involve a lot of content. I take thorough notes on the subject matter, and during the writing process something usually pops into my head. If I’m really stuck I’ll take a break from the project, work on something else, click around on different illustration websites, or clean up my work environment, and then come back to it later. It usually works like a charm. 

Have you ever considered screen printing and selling posters of your work? I’m sure there are some people dying to get their hands on art like this.

I did take a Serigraphy course at Tyler, which was a lot of fun. That was a while ago, and I haven’t had much of a chance to screen print since… but I would love to try it again.

Do you have any side projects or an internship going on? How do you handle your time?

My classmate/friend Kelly Thorn and I make art together under the name Kellison. We’ve done flyers for the local band Lightninging, as well Dj Def Janiels (aka the pizza brain dude.) We also do our own personal art. We haven’t had much time to work together during portfolio semester, but if we wind up in the same city after graduation we’ll continue making some art.

When it comes to time management I’m pretty damn good at it. I have a strong work ethic, and don’t really screw around a lot. My projects take significant amount of time since they are hand done, so I like to work hard on them right away so that most of the heavy lifting is done early.

Outside of design, what are you most interested in?

School takes up my entire existence right now, but during break I like to visit my nephews, and go on trips with my friends (for instance we took a trip to a taping of Jerry Springer. That was inspiring…) I’d love to travel more, go to more concerts, eat more cheeseburgers at Silk City, and I’d like to get to know Philly better.

What are your next steps? Where would your dream job be?

Well, I was recently selected to attend Art Directors Club in NYC for the Interactive Design day. Only 8 Tyler kids are selected to go, so it was a real honor. I’m hoping maybe an opportunity presents itself there. I’m praying that someone will dig my bizarre illustrations and pay me to make people laugh/vomit with my animations. Working on something like Tim and Eric would be a dream. We’ll see…

Thanks so much for answering these questions. I know it’s getting down to crunch time for all y’all college seniors out there. I can’t wait to see some more of your animations around and maybe even someday see some of this radness on T.V. somewhere. Good luck with everything and as long as you keep that passionate work ethic going you’ll have no problem landing a radical gig. If you guys out there in internet land want to see more of Allison’s work check out her portfolio or dribbble OR tweet at her here

Honor Roll: Teresa Wozniak

Hey there Teresa! Tell us a little bit about yourself. Whats your major and where do you go to school?

I’m a 4th year Interdisciplinary Design student at NSCAD University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I’m graduating in May!

As an undergrad what was the most exciting thing you got to work on? What about it made you so interested in it?

I think that when it comes to projects, I’m always really excited about each one while I’m working on it, and the next one just always seems more exciting than the one before it. So I’d have to say that the project I’m working on now - a deck of cards themed after the four food groups in the Canadian Food Guide geared at helping kids and parents learn about nutrition. I’m having tons of fun drawing food, just last night I finished drawing the Queen of Fruit wearing a watermelon dress. the only downside of the project is that I am constantly hungry. 

Where do you get your inspiration from? (websites, people, personal adventures, music, etc)

Honestly, all over the place. Dribbble is incredible, as is We Love Typography, FPO, The Dieline and Lovely Package. The designers and illustrators I adore are Jon Contino, Jessica Hische, Hydro74, Allan Peters, Shoe, Craig Robson - I could go on for days. I don’t really get inspired from music so much as it helps me work, and I usually listen to something loud that has a steady beat.

One of the main things that caught my eye about your work was the elegance of your letterforms, specifically the paper cut ones. Could you tell us a little more about that project and how you went about making it?

I honestly just made the outside of the letterform as a guide, glued it down to some heavy pound paper, and filled it with whatever I could come up with. None of it was really planned out. Some of the inside elements were traditional paper quilling forms, like the swirls and circles. But then you get to the point where you’ve been rolling up paper for hours, and it’s getting boring, and you think “Let’s throw a paper peacock feather in there. How do I do that?”. There’s a lot of trial and error involved, lots of thinking outside the box. I usually don’t glue little experiments down until I know they can work. As a side note, when I first started making paper cut letters, I was shocked at how strong the paper elements were. You can literally pile books on top of them and they won’t collapse. 

I’m also a huge fan of the “Good Bye, Summer” Popsicle piece, was that for anyone/thing or was it just something that you wanted to make for yourself? And how important are self initiated projects to you?

That’s one of my favourite things I’ve done, and I’m revisiting it and making it into a series for an exhibition that’s coming up. I honestly just drew it for kicks, and was really surprised at the response that I got. I think that self initiated projects are probably the most beneficial and important things that any creative can do. Not only do they help you experiment and develop your skills, but they show others how you think and what you’re capable of. Sometimes briefs for work or school are limiting and don’t let creatives showcase their skills, or people get pigeonholed for one skill because of one successful project, and are stuck doing it for everything after that. That’s where self initiated projects come in and save the day.

I noticed you’re pretty active on twitter, dribbble, and what not. As a designer, do you think that these things are crucial to have?

It’s a great way to get your work out, and I’d attribute most of my, albeit humble, success to social media. When it comes down to it, social media is an easy vehicle for self promotion, and with that comes the criticism that every creative needs. We live in a world where almost everyone has a smartphone, brings their laptop everywhere and spends a good chunk of their day on Facebook or Twitter - benefitting from that is just a really smart thing to do.

Do you have any side projects or an internship going on? How do you handle your time?

Right now I’m working on a couple projects for some collectives (I’m not sure if I can say what they are, so I won’t), freelancing part time, and focusing on getting my homework done. Time wise I tend to procrastinate, so I keep myself on track with hour by hour to do lists, and tend to make mental deadlines for key parts of projects. For projects with clients, I always tell them I’ll send them something by a certain time, even if they don’t care. It keeps you on track. I find if I’m under pressure I tend to work harder, and when you divide projects into several deadlines for yourself you’re no longer deluded into thinking you have tons of time, when really you only have a month.

Outside of design, what are you most interested in?

Music, travel, food and my cat. I’m really not that interesting.

Off topic but…I noticed you made a poster about Philadelphia (my stomping grounds) and I have to ask, what’s an outsiders opinion of Philadelphia?

I’ve actually been to Philly and I love it. It’s old and beautiful and has good book stores, good dive bars (Oscar’s Tavern on Sansom, hello!), good cheesesteaks and lots of art. And people who say that it smells are just being huge babies.  

What are your next steps? Are you looking to freelance or maybe live more of the agency lifestyle?

Probably a little bit of both, but I will definitely be looking into working at design studios or agencies. I want to see how this machine works.

Thanks so much fo taking the time to talk to me, I’m so excited to see those Food Cards! I wish you the best of luck out there in the job-o-sphere, and if you ever find yourself in Philadelphia feel free to drop a line! To check out more of Teresa’s work peep her Portfolio or her Dribbble and if you’re looking to get some witty banter going head on over to her Twitter.

Honor Roll: Colin Dunn

Hey Colin! Tell us a little bit about yourself. Whats your major and where do you go to school?

I’m an undergraduate at MICA studying graphic design. I’m scheduled to graduate this May and will be relocating to New York. However, my heart is and always will be on the West Coast.

What’s the most exciting class project that you got to work on while being an undergrad? What about it made you so interested in it?

MICA offers a number of really fantastic courses that fall under the nebulas term “social design.” The classes have different names and approaches, but each aims to use creative thinking to address a social issue in Baltimore. These classes are usually a good mix of students: graduates and undergraduates, designers and non-designers. We work with a partner organization to design, develop, and implement an intervention over the course of a semester.

To name a few examples, I worked on an anti-litter campaign that was developed in partnership with the Baltimore Department of Recreation and Parks. I also worked with a transitional housing program in East Baltimore to develop branding and environmental graphics. Currently I’m part of a small group of students who have partnered with Blue Water Baltimore to address stormwater pollution in the city. The work is challenging, stressful, and always worth it.

Where do you get your inspiration from? (i.e.: websites, people, personal adventures, music, etc)

I think that inspiration and taste are very closely linked. And If I’m being honest, I never thought that I had really great taste. While I don’t think that taste can be taught, I do think it can be cultivated. One thing I’ve noticed is that people who have really great taste look at a lot of things. If art school has taught me anything, it has taught me how to really look at things.

Beyond the usual design blogs (September Industry is one of my favorites) I get a lot of inspiration from reading. I really respond to Hemingway’s Iceberg Theory as it relates to design. Malcom Gladwell is my guilty pleasure. I read almost everything John Gruber writes over at Daring Fireball. Most recently, I have been enjoying Wendell Berry and his take on systems thinking, and I’m almost done reading Nudge by Richard H. Thaler and Cass Sunstein.

What kind of projects are you working on right now?

I am doing some freelance web design and am also developing my senior thesis. Without giving too much away, my thesis is a web-based mind mapping tool that can be used for collaboration, ideation, and brainstorming. I have a process blog setup here for anyone who is interested in following along. The beta will hopefully be launching this May.

Tell us a little about your process from start to finish.

I think that good design is the result of clear thinking. At the heart of every great design solution is a clear understanding of the problem. My work is the result of my own struggle to understand and state an idea as clearly as possible. As a result I tend to work conceptually with word lists and mind maps rather than visually by drawing or sketching. I will usually spend more time researching than my instructors (or clients) would like me to. Getting a bird’s-eye view of the problem helps me to direct my thinking. I’m always looking for the bigger idea that will drive my decisions. Having one clear, concise thought that I can turn back to at any point and say, “is what I’m doing right now addressing this larger objective?” helps me keep my thinking focused and directed. Only after I have a working understanding of the problem will I will turn to the computer.

I hear that you work for Pentagram. How did that come about and what was is like doing work for them?

I worked at Pentagram for a little over a year. Ellen Lupton was one of my instructors at MICA and is married to Abbott Miller, a partner at Pentagram. Through her connection I was able to get an internship.

Pentagram was the best/worst experience of my design career so far. I was able to contribute to big projects with big budgets and learn from amazing designers, but it was a grind. Abbott’s team is small, the projects were big, and the hours were long. Pentagram is a design machine and I was a cog.

Do you have any side projects or an internship going on? How do you handle your time?

I have been trying to limit my freelance work in an effort to focus on my thesis. At the moment I am working on a couple web-related projects that should be out soon. I also work one day a week at Post Typography where I do web and print design for the amazing Bruce Willen and Nolen Strals. I tend to work more than I should and would probably benefit from getting off the comptuer and going outside more often.

What are your next steps?

As I mentioned before, I’m moving to New York and will soon be working full time with Oliver Munday. I am incredibly excited about being in New York and learning from Oliver, but am equally nervous about leaving the comfort and safety of school. I suppose that’s a normal feeling.

Are you looking to freelance or maybe live more of the agency lifestyle?

I don’t see myself being a studio designer long term, nor do I really want to freelance for a living. I think that design is most interesting when it’s serving a higher purpose. Apple, for example, isn’t in the design business, they are in the computer business. But design is a core principle of what they do. Airbnb and Warby Parker are two more recent examples. I think design driven businesses are starting to really blossom and I would love to be contribute to that space in a meaningful way.

I kust want to say thanks so much for taking the time to chat with me. You have an amazing work ethic and your process is on point. I seriously can’t wait to see what you put out next! I’m sure I’ll see ya in NYC sometime soon! If you’d like to see more of Colin’s work check out his portfolio, blog and/or pop over to his twitter to say wassup.

Honor Roll: Zach Roszczewski

Hey Zach! I just want to start this off by saying thanks for taking the time to chat with me. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Whats your major and where do you go to school?

Thank you for showing interest in my work and featuring me here Mike! My name is Zach Roszczewski and I am currently on my final semester at Central Michigan University. I am working towards my Bachelor in Fine Arts with a Graphic Design Concentration. Aside from school and freelance design, which consumes my life, I try to spend any free time that I have outdoors and away from technology. I love the mental and physical break and really allows me to escape and reflect. 

As an undergrad what was the most exciting thing you got to work on? What about it made you so interested in it?

The most exciting project I am working on is probably the one I am currently working on. It is a project about finding a balance between technology and nature, a hybrid lifestyle. Follow me on Twitter to stay updated on the progress. The reason for so much interest is because I am very passionate about this topic. Technology is such a new and huge thing right now, but a lot of people are being consumed by it. We need to find a healthy balance of Technology and Nature if we want to live a fulfilling life. 

Where do you get your inspiration from?

I try to get my inspirations from the widest range of places, to keep my style unique for every project that I am working on. Some individuals that I truly look to for inspiration are Justin Mezzell, Emir Ayouni, & Dustin Wallace, all AMAZING Graphic Designers. Dribbble is a great resource for inspiration because it gives you such a wide range of styles. To find the hidden treasures though, I look to my ever-growing bookshelf for unique inspiration, a lot that can’t be found on the web.  

I noticed on your dribbble that you were getting into some UI design and I was really loving the balance of your two styles, the flat textured illustration look mixed with the web 2.0 look. Is there a particular style that you prefer? And are you getting into writing any code? How do you feel about the future of design on the web?

I am always experimenting with different styles and trying to blend styles together to create something different and unique. The style I prefer most is ‘Subtle’. Subtle textures, subtle gradients, subtle design elements. Design that is aesthetically pleasing but not distracting to its functionality. Thats what I believe the future of web design will be like for the most part. I do write my own code as of now to better understand Web Design, but I hope that eventually I can just focus on the design and user experience and leave the coding to the programmers. 

Take us through a little bit of your process from concept to execution. What do you consider the most important part?

My process is similar to the typical design process, but I believe the most important step is the research. Research is the structure of the process, and without the framework, you have nothing. I get most of my inspiration from researching the topic at hand, and use that information to my advantage in the rest of the process.

Do you have any side projects or an internship going on? How do you handle your time?

Currently I am working at a design firm on CMU’s campus, as well as working freelance part time. The load is heavy but I believe the hard work will pay off in the end. In terms of handling my time, I try to just take it one day at a time and work most of the day, but take small breaks when needed so I don’t go clinically insane. 

Outside of design, what are you most interested in?

Nature, Basketball, NHL12 for PS3, Yoga, and good food.  

What are your next steps? Are you looking to freelance or maybe live more of the agency lifestyle?

My plan is to find a Graphic Design studio that I mesh best with, I don’t like all the extra business aspects that come with the freelance lifestyle.

Thanks again man! I wish you the best out there in the so called “Real World”. For more of Zach’s work check out his Portfolio or to see some work in progress stuff head over to his Dribbble.

Honor Roll: Anton Pearson

Hey Anton! Tell us a little bit about yourself. Whats your major and where do you go to school?

Salutations! Currently I am a senior studying Graphic Design at Minneapolis College of Art and Design aka MCAD. I’m a native of Saint Paul but have migrated to the twin across river, Minneapolis, where life is a bit more lively.

As an undergrad what was the most exciting thing you got to work on? What about it made you so interested in it?

Hmmmm. There are so many to chose from since I’m enthusiastic about each project in different ways. I have a sentimental place for my introduction to design classes where I was learning about Gestalt Principles, trying to figure out how in the hell to use the Creative Suite software and really striking off in an expressive direction. I bet we all can fondly remember the first time we made a poster that commanded attention and reached people. That same excitement carries on it’s just the projects have become more elaborate and build off of one another. 

Where do you get your inspiration from? (websites, people, personal adventures, music, etc)

All of the above and more. Music offers a deep emotive connection and can drive vast inspiration (more on that later). Friends give rejuvenation and insight, I’m lucky to have some talented friends who also are mentors. Websites are great but nothing will compare to actually experiencing a great lecture or holding a beautifully designed book and so on. Last semester I had a class in conjunction with the Walker Art Center exhibition Graphic Design: Now In Production, visiting the exhibit and interacting with the show along with all the people involved on a weekly basis was profound. If you have the opportunity to see it, do so!

You’re very big on hand making/manipulating your type. What’s goes through your head while you’re making these letter(s)? How much does actual legibility come into play?

Ha! I wonder what goes on in my mind too… Making type and type forms has become an obsession for me which is informed by my younger days of graffiti writing. When I’m working on personal work or non-client projects it’s seems as though I’m always riding the line of form versus function. Trying to push type as far as possible by subverting meaning or coding information. Obviously this can be an issue with clients where any given communication needs to function quickly but I do think there’s a power in abstraction of the familiar. Our minds are constantly trying to decode information around us and by offering a puzzle for our eyes/brain to solve a designer can create an experience and memorable piece. 

I am a huge fan of the “Incomplete Manifesto For Growth” piece you have on your site. There are some amazing little quips/sayings in there that are truly inspiring. Tell us a little bit about your process with this piece, from conception to final product.

In 2011 I was researching different design processes and stumbled across Bruce Mau’s “Incomplete Manifesto For Growth.” It really struck a cord with how I related to design and life as well. I found myself reading it, A LOT and with each reading taking away something new. The rules in the manifesto are explicitly positive and deal with everything from laughter to personal growth to mistakes. I felt compelled to take these truisms and create a book as a response to  how I had internalized them. It was important for all the gestures in the design to have a significant relationship to the manifesto. The cover of the book was blind debossed on a Vandercook press I had access to, hinting on the impermanence of the list. The prong binding allowed for the rules to be added too or changed if needed. The sketchbook newsprint it was printed on also re-enforced these ideas. I created imagery ranging from design and illustration to photographs in response to each of the rules. I love how it all came together. Maybe one day I’ll be able to show it to Bruce Mau.

I’ve seen that you’ve done some amazing work for Target and Walker Art Center. How did that come about and what was is like doing work for them?

The Target projects were amazing opportunities that came about via connections at MCAD. Working with Target was really exciting because they saw opportunity for artists and designers to envision their brand in new ways which lead to a lot of imaginative outcomes and creative freedom. Last Summer I was lucky enough to have an internship at the Walker Art Center design studio. Being able to work, learn and connect with the designers there was pretty damn awesome. It also lead to a few nice portfolio pieces but the I think the overall experience supersedes any work that was made.  

Do you have any side projects or an internship going on? How do you handle your time?

Currently I’m working in the MCAD’s design studio, Design Works, which produces a majority of the schools design needs and also works with outside clients. I also try take on freelance projects whenever possible to help with the bills. A lot of my time right now is going to developing my senior thesis work at MCAD. It’s an exploration between the emotional fabric and connectivity I have to music and DJing. 

Outside of design, what are you most interested in?

Most definitely music. I’ve been DJing for years and have roots in the local Hip-Hop scene. In 2009 I helped co-found a collective called Wants Vs. Needs. WVN is made up of DJs, artists/designers and some business folks and collectively we throw parties, make t-shirts, release mixtapes and music. The Twin Cities has rich art and music community so whenever I have a chance I try to take in out concerts or exhibitions. I’m also a bit of a film buff and a MPR / NPR junky. Politics has always intrigued me and I try to keep up with global events as much as possible. 

What are your next steps? Are you looking to freelance or maybe live more of the agency lifestyle?

Honestly I’m not quite sure yet. It could go either way. I would like to just keep making compelling work and hopefully the path will reveal itself. 

Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us! Your work is super inspiring and perfectly executed. I can’t wait to see where you go with it! To check out more of Antons work hit up his Portfolio, Tumblr, or Twitter

Also, for any MCAD students reading this, my pal Alyssa Nassner is teaching a class called: Sell It Yourself: Doing Etsy Rightthere next semester! So if you’re looking for an awesome class to take, this is the one. She’s an amazing illustrator that everyone can learn a lot from! 

Check it out, sign up, pool party.

Honor Roll: Ryan Hubbard

Tell us a little bit about yourself. Whats your major and where do you go to school?

I’m a senior in graphic design at Iowa State University, in Ames, IA. I recently spent some time in Philadelphia interning at 160over90. 

What’s the most exciting class project that you got to work on while being an undergrad? What about it made you so interested in it?

That’s a tough question to answer, for me. Each project always comes with a fresh set of problems to solve, and that’s always fun. I really enjoy developing brands, because of the complex nature of their problem sets and the variety of ways you can solve them. I’m also currently working on a senior project that addresses the accessibility and visualization of information in medicine. It’s tough, but I like it because I get to develop every bit of the project from start to finish. 

Where do you get your inspiration from? (i.e.: websites, people, personal adventures, music, etc)

Websites, absolutely. My friends I’ve met in school do a lot to inspire me. Being around other talented people does a lot to inspire me, and drives me to do better. I also really enjoy found, vernacular design and typography. When I was in Philly, I’d spend my entire weekend on my bike riding around and snapping pictures of awesome type I’d find on the sides of buildings, etc. 

What are you working on right now?

I hit on it a bit earlier, but I’m working on a sort of “personal health dashboard” that allows individuals to get more involved in their personal health by collecting their records in one spot and presenting them in clear, intriguing visuals. There’s still a lot of research to be done and details to work out with this, but I’m excited about it. 

Aside from that, I’ll be working on my personal brand this semester, in preparation for doing that job-hunting thing. 

Tell us a little about your process.

My process always starts with thinking/brainstorming. I don’t like to just jump into sketching without some sort of clear-ish idea, or I wind up just sketching a bunch of nonsense with no focus. From there, I usually move to the computer. The process really varies by job/problem at this point. If it’s a branding project, I’ll start thinking up and developing appropriate elements and applications. From there on, it’s a matter of fleshing things out, revising, and so on. 

I saw that you got to do a little work for GOOD, how did that come about and what was it like doing work for them?

I landed that job through connections I made while interning at 160over90. I definitely consider myself pretty fortunate to have been given the opportunity, and it was a great experience. It was unlike anything I’d really in the past, and I really enjoy new challenges like that. 

Do you have any side projects or an internship going on? How do you handle your time?

Currently, I’m doing a little work for a property management company here in Ames, helping them refresh and expand their brand. Aside from that, I’m always noodling something in my sketchbook or on the computer. Time management really isn’t an issue for me, simply because I enjoy what I do. It rarely feels like work. 

What are your next steps?

Like I mentioned earlier, I’m going to be working up my personal brand and getting out into the job market over the next few months. 
I graduate early May, but I’ll start actively searching in a little over a month or so. 

Are you looking to freelance or maybe live more of the agency lifestyle?

I’ve been in contact with a few different agencies over the past few months. 
Agency life is where I see myself starting off at least. Long-term, I’d love to open up my own shop, but that’s definitely a few years down the road.  In the meantime, I’m looking forward to making good connections, seeing new places, and helping people make great things. 

Thanks so much Ryan! Maybe we’ll be hanging at 160 in the near future? Who knows? Anyway, thanks again for taking some time out of your day to talk to me. Too see more amazing work from Ryan visit his portfolio, check out his dribbble or tweet at him all day.

Honor Roll: Ray Ureña

An introduction to Honor Roll, as told by creator Mike Smith:

This Honor Roll section was made to shine the light on the younger talent out there in the design community. When I was in school, I was reading blogs every day and stalking the shit out of all the heavy hitter designers never thinking that anyone would ever want to write about me because I was just some kid in school. But now that I am out, I look around at some of the portfolio sites that kids are putting up and I am just blown away by the work coming out of these undergrads. So I wanted to start this for those kids that are working their asses off and give them some recognition for the time that they are putting in.

Mike: Hey Ray. Tell us a little bit about yourself. What’s your major and where do you go to school?

Ray: I am an illustration major at Rowan University, currently in my junior year. Whenever I’m not designing, I’m likely to be rock climbing, reading or with family and friends. I also enjoy sleeping whenever there’s time ‘laughs’.

Mike: What’s your favorite project of yours and give a little description as to why you dig it. 

Ray: I can’t say I have a favorite project. Most of the work on my site was done last semester (fall 11). I really took the semester as an opportunity to explore new techniques, composition and color pallets. The professor gave us total freedom to do what we wanted, so I did just that. I’m excited with the end results. I think I have something to continue with going into the spring semester.

Mike: Where do you get your inspiration from?

Ray: Well, for me inspiration is something you tune into. Almost like switching to your favorite radio station. It’s not separate from you, although it may seem that way. You become aware of the subtlest thing, like the patterns on a leaf or the way hand muscles work together to type on a keyboard. Things that you once weren’t aware of now are present. It’s a very mindful and peaceful practice. The next time you walk your dog, or eat dinner, be present. Become receptive and observe your surroundings. You’ll have this intense curiosity and you’ll notice things you once didn’t see. I get a lot of ‘ah-ha’ moments when doing this. So yea, most of my ideas just come to me very naturally.

Mike: What are you working on right now?

Ray: For now I have a lot of little things going on. I have school taking some of my time. I also have a few freelance and personal projects going on as well. Nothing earth changing. But for now, I’m fine with that.

Mike: Tell us a little about your process.

Ray: Well like most artists, my mind is constantly filtering ideas. So usually writing or drawing them out is my first approach. I then take the ones I resonate most with and develop them even more. I sometimes, jokingly, believe I was a philosopher in my previous life. I love to think. After refining the sketch, I than transfer the work into the computer.

Mike: What’s your ideal kind of project?

Ray: It’s a bit hard to think of an ideal project at this point in my life. I find myself thinking in new ways everyday. Maybe finding the ideal people to collaborate with seems more appropriate for now. Passionate and imaginary minds that seek to become world class at what they do. That’s what I’m pursuing!

Mike: Do you have any side projects or an internship, how do you handle your time?

Ray: Yes, since the start of April 2011, I’ve been actively designing for Atversal Ambition. A clothing brand with a strong message “Success is not an option, it’s a lifestyle” and a very young and talented team. I’m also active with the nightlife scene. Working closely with various Promoters’, DJ’s and Producers on ongoing branding projects. For the spring semester I’ll be an intern at 160over90, a design agency in Philadelphia. There’s so much talent there, very fortunate! 

As far as handling time, I’ve notice that working in blocks of time works well for me. Bringing attention to one thing and moving on to the next. Everyone has 24 hours in a day. So managing time is an art, it’s a craft! I sold my television two years ago and sort of live a minimalistic lifestyle. So there isn’t much to astray me. I think that’s what has really allowed for my productivity.

Mike: What are your next steps?

Ray: I’d like to be more active. I feel 2011 was a year to reveal myself as an artist. This year I look forward to going out and building relationships. Embrace the design community a bit more.

Mike: If you could end up anywhere where would it be?

Ray: I’d like to check out the scenery in Brooklyn and San Francisco. I thought of Colorado because of the landscape, which complements my background in climbing. But more than the location, I’ll be looking for the quality of people I’d be working with. So to find a design studio that reflects my work ethic would be great. Just really want to do extraordinary things! I am sure that’s on the mind of many ambitious designers.

I just want to say thanks man for taking the time to chat with me. I’ve never met such a level headed dude that was so inspired and ready to take the world by storm. Can’t wait to see what you put out in the near future. Check out more Ray’s work on Dribbble or his Portfolio.