Grads Are Back Panel: Succeeding in Graphic Design



Photo Courtesy of FAMU School of Journalism and Graphic Communication


By JonMichael Francis

SJGC graduates returned to The Hill Thursday Oct. 12. The school hosted their annual Grads are Back event, which was in full swing through out the day. Conversations, meetings and panel discussions were catered toward advancing current students as they prepare for the transition into the work force.

The event “What Does it Take to Succeed in Graphic Design” was one of the first in the morning. SJGC faculty member and creative director Anosh Gill facilitated the discussion. Three graduates and one current student lead the discussion. The room was packed with students eager to hear real-world advice from experts in the industry. The designer’s eye-catching portfolios and projects were on display around the room.

“You must be a chameleon in this field, or you will not make it,” said Allen Goodrum, FAMU 2015 graduate. “Working in a design firm is rewarding but tough”, laughed Goodrum, who currently works at Moore Communications Group, “Everyone is subjective, but you must be able to sell it as creative.”

Goodrum emphasized the importance of having a strong portfolio. The ability to promote yourself and your work, and to recognize yourself as a brand, is key in order to clinch the job you want.

Graphic communication is an all-encompassing field, using graphic elements to aid in communicating a message. “Tell with visuals,” was how SJGC graduate Chris Crouch defined it. The 2015 graduate is employed through Sachs Media Group, a strategic communication firm in town. “You must be passionate with graphic design or else your work will show,” said Crouch.

Crouch accredits FAMU for equipping him with the foundations of how to succeed in graphic design. He stated that he must continue to listen and learn, even now as he is in the industry though. “The agency life is very fast paced,” said Crouch, ”You must be a problem solver and use outside resources.”

The field of design is adaptable and fluid, and FAMU graduate Jaymee Smith knows that first hand. An artist and painter by trade, the fine arts graduate was able to blend her passion to practicality by obtaining a minor in graphic design. The 23 year old is currently serving as senior graphic designer for the State of Florida Lottery.
“It is big challenge [working in this industry],” stated Smith, with a smile on her face. “Find something you love, and love to do, and build your portfolio around that,” Smith said. She thanked FAMU for preparing her for the work ahead and encouraged the need to network and use your connections as resources.

Junior SJGC student, Malkia Peterson, rounded out the conversation. Peterson has pushed herself and her designs to land internships and multiple awards for her work. Peterson affirms that multiple internships and utilizing professors’ office hours can be used to benefit you and your abilities as a designer.
The graduates stayed till every student’s questions were answered, handing out business cards and giving out contact information. The discussion was held in room 2060 in the SJGC building.

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