Becoming a Graphic Designer Amid a Pandemic

By Chauncey Rasmussen, Intern

To me, the phrase “I am a Graphic Designer” still feels like a kid wearing his dad’s shoes. Sure, I can draw some pretty pictures, and yeah, sometimes I can put some writing next to it; but boy, is it often way harder than it seems!

Having graduated from art school in December of 2016, I was adamant that I was going to take on the design world — or so I thought! Instead, I was met with an immediate sense of dread. Now that I have an art degree, what can I do with it and how am I going to make rent?! I toiled around for a bit running a furniture fabrication company, working for another artist making his artwork, and finally a “real” job at a sales company. However, at the end of the day these jobs left me feeling unsatisfied; not allowing for me to be creative or feel challenged.

In the winter of 2019, I began looking for jobs and opportunities more in-line with art and creativity (partly due to the well-meaning, but unsolicited advice of my mother). I had already been doing freelance graphic design for other artists and musicians, so I figured I could try and make this a full-time career. Thinking back to the interview process, I see myself showing a pretty barren portfolio of images and album covers I had done for past clients. I jumped at the opportunity for an internship at The Hoffman Agency, and I was fortunate enough to be selected to join the team.

However, almost a month into the internship, the COVID-19 pandemic began to take hold, and the office was closed until further notice as we all scrambled to work from home. I exchanged my new desk, comfy office chair, and awesome view of downtown’s First Street for a converted office/guest bedroom with a view of future home projects (i.e., my backyard’s old and failing wooden fence), and a Zoom link for public interaction (shout-out to the laser-pizza-cat virtual background).

covid-19 wfh desk setup

While adjusting to life during a pandemic could have been a negative experience and slowed the in-person mentorship, my work and colleagues remain positive and encouraging. In addition to design work, I was tapped as a member of a PR team. Although I was timid at first, everyone brought me up to speed, gave me the tools to succeed and welcomed me as a member of the team. (I would like to say thank you to that team! You guys were awesome!)

In regard to design, Chauncey Hill, Bonnie, Kelly and Shereen have been the team that I interact with the most. They are immensely talented, encouraging and wonderful mentors. I quickly learned how little I knew about design and have been absorbing as much knowledge and talent as I can every day! Now, here I am, a few months under my belt as a graphic design intern! To sum it up, the internship has been an awesome experience — everyone has been super helpful and very accommodating. I have worked on a diverse range of projects from digital ads to virtual music festivals. Each and every project has had its own successes and fun challenges. While I have learned a ton already, I am eager to learn more and especially improve my skills and comfort with typography.

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