In high school I didn’t know what I was going to do for a career until my final year when I took a graphic arts class. I was the only girl and top student in my class of all boys. I knew this was the career I was born for.
I’ve been involved with the Graphic Design industry since the mid 80’s. My first job was working on call in the Bindery department at Pepco Litho in Cedar Rapids.
After a few years of working odd jobs in between these “calls” I landed a job with Lilly Printing in downtown CR. At that time my only experience was the bindery gig and the Graphic Arts class from high school. Lilly Printing decided to take a chance on me.
I worked for the small Mom & Pop print shop for 4 years and learned everything from paste-up to dark room (pan developing), to film stripping.
As my desire to learn more pressed at me I searched out new employment and was hired at a little larger print shop called Type2/Graphic Resources. I continued with the paste up, dark room and bindery projects for the 4 years I worked there. As time went on I noticed computers becoming more prominent in the industry along with the design software so I taught myself the basics of Illustrator. When the company started going under and I got laid off, the job I applied for at Nash Finch was the next step in my career as they hired me based on that minimal computer experience.
I worked for Nash Finch for the next 4-5 years designing grocery store inserts which were printed by the local newspaper The Gazette, which is a child company of Source Media Group. I worked directly with The Gazette staff and at the end of my tenure with Nash Finch I was hired immediately by The Gazette to work in the Ad Design department.
I worked in the Ad Design department for 9 years as a level 4 (top) designer on the Majors team. My duties included small B&W and 4-color ads, full page, full color newspaper ads as well as full color and multi-page inserts and special sections for major accounts.
After 9 years of ad design I discovered a job posting within the company for work in the online department. I was just getting familiar with Adobe Flash and was very interested in expanding my knowledge so I applied. The position was for a web designer and the Online Director at that time told me she had me in mind for the position the entire time thus I was hired for the job.
My job responsibility was to design and code web pages. Flash ads were added to my gig later on. At the time I had very little exposure to the web but I took a 6-week online course for HTML and CSS and passed with flying colors. I took right to it. My co-worker and mentor in the Online department told me he never saw anyone learn coding that quickly. And thus my online career began.
A couple years later, when the economy took a downturn, the online department was broken up. Most were laid off, one went to the WebDev department, the Flash guy went back to Ad Design (he started as an Ad Designer too) and I was sent to the Niche team which later was renamed Product Planning and Development. Within a year PPD was also rearranged and I was meshed with the Creative team.
Now, 13+ years later I am positioned with The Creative Department at Source Media Group. We cater to the company and our projects are for internal clients. My responsibilities include flash banner ads, web page and e-newsletter design and development, logo design, and other miscellaneous design projects.
Source Media Group has three divisions: The Gazette – a local newspaper, KCRG – a local TV station and Color Web – the print production end of things. The Gazette and KCRG are in different buildings and are separated by an alley. For my first 11 years of service I was located in The Gazette building. After joining The Creative Department we were moved over to the KCRG studio building and were combined with the broadcast creative team. This has been advantageous for me as now and again I get to dapple in commercial editing.
Check out my work over the years. There is a separate page for each subject and you can access them via the navigation above.
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