Featured Alumni Success Stories

UX Alumni Share Job Hunting Advice

When it comes to job hunting, User Experience (UX) Design is one of the most competitive markets out there. While demand for UX positions continues to grow, so do the number of UX designers on the market. It can be overwhelming for a recent graduate just starting out to get their footing. How do you set yourself apart from the other candidates? How do you know which applications to prioritize? And once you do land that first internship, how can you leverage your experience into a full time position?

To help answer some of these questions I hosted a roundtable discussion with three recent UX alums, each of whom had their own unique trajectory to getting their foot in the door and launching their careers.

Zoe: Thank you all for joining me today! To get started, would you all introduce yourselves?

Justin: Justin X. Hale, spring 2022 graduate of ACC, currently employed as a Software Engineer for Red Hat, but department title is an Interaction Designer in UXD.

Photo of Justin X. Hale
Justin X. Hale graduated in spring 2022, and currently works for Red Hat, an open source software company.

Adoree: Hello, my name is Adoree Deltoro. I graduated in the summer of 2022 with a User Experience degree. I interned over the summer for a marketing agency called Merge as a CX [Customer Experience] Strategist, and I have now worked with MERGE for six months as a UX/UI Designer.

Christopher: I’m Christopher Specht, fall 2022 graduate of the Viscom User Experience program and currently a full time Associate UX Designer at UFCU. I also freelance doing wireframes for a local startup.

Zoe: So awesome to see so many UX students finding local opportunities! How did you get connected with your current positions? Adoree, I know that you started out as an intern. Christopher and Justin, did you guys have similar experiences?

Christopher: Yes, I interned over the summer and that got extended through the fall semester. I got hired the same week as graduation.

Adoree: Similar to Chris, I also got hired the week after I finished my degree. I did two internships over the summer and found them incredibly helpful in deciding where I wanted my career to go.

Christopher: Yeah my internship allowed me to figure out what UX discipline I wanted to follow.

Justin: I have a different experience. I worked as a graphic designer and freelanced as a social media manager for 10 years before applying to ACC’s UX program. Because of my background it gave me a few more transferable skills needed for the workspace. So I had enough experience to apply for competitive jobs right away.

I was hired during the career class (I can’t remember the name). But literally the resume, cover letter, and portfolio I made during that class is what I used for applications and during the interviews

Zoe: You mean UX Career Lab!

Christopher: With Josh Baron.

Adoree: Before our internships, we were all in the Career Lab class with Josh Baron and it was extremely helpful in getting a portfolio ready and having some prep before interviews. Justin was one of the first people to get hired out of the cohort; it was great to see! Very inspiring!

Zoe: Josh will be so happy to hear that! Really interesting to hear that your internships were pivotal in helping you decide on a direction. UX does have a lot of sub-specializations, and it can be hard for a student just starting out to know what opportunities are out there. For those of us who aren’t yet part of the UX world, can you each give a little more background on what you do day to day?

Christopher: Currently we are in the middle of redesigning the online and mobile banking app [for University Federal Credit Union], so the majority of the time I am building high fidelity wireframes of screens for different features and functions. I do these mainly in Figma. We work in three week sprints. Every couple of sprints we do usability testing, and for that I help build the prototypes and help as note taker when needed.

Justin: That app needs so much help

Christopher: I know! 

We have a department of 7 designers in the UX team. I also spend a lot of time talking to stakeholders (developers and business) to make sure those designs are possible and fit the business needs.

Adoree: I work on a team of UX Designers. There are three sections for the UX team: east, south, and west. Each team has about three to seven members. We overlap with UX work, but what is special about my team (the west) is that we specialize in UX [User Experience] and UI [User Interface] work.

Typically we have resourced projects, and we have a certain amount of time to complete them. Our projects include website redesigns, newsletters, apps, and anything with a screen. We work a lot with hospitals, financial companies, and even just regular chains like Marco’s Pizza. MERGE is partnered with many companies, and we help make their tech spaces great.

I spend a lot of time in meetings, designing wireframes in Figma and talking to clients about what can make their user experience better. Because I started at MERGE as an intern for CX [Customer Experience] strategy, I also got to dabble in strategy projects. We build personas and do a lot of quantitative research. This consists of doing research interviews. This is fun, and I feel like it keeps me a well-rounded designer. There’s an opportunity in any area in which I wish to grow my skills. The beauty of a Design Marketing Agency is that there is an area for everything to build your experience.

Soon I’ll be learning more about combining UX with marketing. Overall, every day consists of improving users’/customers’ day by listening to their problems. I then use Figma, Miro, and Google Slides to help present the solutions to those problems.

Justin: As a tech professional, my focus lies in working with Software as a Service (SAAS) products. My typical day comprises numerous meetings, brainstorming sessions, and design tasks. I concurrently work on two to three unrelated applications, each with its unique requirements. One of my ongoing projects, in which I am the design lead, involves revamping an Angular UI to align with our design system. In contrast, the other project revolves around an open-source upstream initiative aimed at application modernization, presenting a more forward-looking perspective.

Zoe: Justin, I think you lost me.

Justin: Ha! Sorry. I completely understand. These people have me speaking differently. To stakeholders it all makes sense

Zoe: For a student who’s maybe just now taking a Survey of UX Design class, can you define some of those terms, like “Angular UI” and “open-source upstream initiative?”

Justin: Project 1… I’m taking a 10-year-old UI [User Interface] and modernizing it using our design system, Patternfly. 

Project 2… working on an open source, upstream project, meaning the people tell us what they want and we make it happen.

Zoe: Ah, that makes perfect sense!

Justin: It’s interesting we didn’t use the term upstream and downstream in our UX program. Definitely a term to learn. At least if going into tech

Zoe: I’ll make a note to add that to my vocab flash cards!

Many UX students are pivoting into UX after already having a successful career somewhere else. Justin, it sounds like your prior experience played a big role in you being able to land your current position. Adoree, and Chris, do you feel that was the case for you as well? If so, how did each of you translate your prior experience into marketable skills for the UX job market?

Justin: One hundred percent. When I started looking into UX, I figured I had to learn all these new skills and such, but as Chris and Adoree mentioned, there are a lot of UX paths. The trick is to learn those paths/titles, see which fits your current skills, change a few words around on the resume, and get your best foot in the door.

Adoree: I ran my own nanny company for nine years creating custom curricula to help parents get their children into the schools of their choice. My experience helped me understand humans and taught me how to problem-solve. During my internship, I know they saw the skills of entrepreneurship and product development as one of my biggest assets. The constant desire to understand why and make products better is what helps me be better at my job. ACC gave me the hard skills to enter the field, but my prior job experience gave the soft skills. Specifically for entry positions, soft skills are very important. As long as you have the desire to learn and actively work on building your hard skills, companies will want to work with you, in my experience.

Christopher: My prior experience was in customer service and retail management. The skills I learned in those jobs translate very well in my day to day. Patience, listening, empathy, problem solving. The soft skills let me stand out as well. Also one of my hobbies is comic book creating, so being able to tell a story with pictures helped.

Zoe: That’s awesome! Many students don’t even realize they already have tons of great skills they can add to their resume. So it’s inspiring to hear that from each of you.

Christopher: It’s those skills that set you apart. A lot of the competition has the same portfolio.

Adoree: Josh Baron encouraged us to put those soft skills on our resume. It helps humanize us!

Justin: Facts. I’ve met quite a few people who have the Google UX certificate, for example, but can’t get a job.

Zoe: Soft skills every day!

Adoree and Chris, what advice do you have for students who are about to start their internships? How can they stand out and turn those internships into long term, paying jobs?

Christopher: Make sure to talk and listen to anyone who is willing to spend 5 minutes with you. The point of an internship is gaining experience but the networking is also crucial. Also volunteer for any job or task, you may be surprised at what things you didn’t think you would like that are actually fun.

Zoe: Any examples of fun tasks that surprised you, Chris?

Christopher: I was unsure of what discipline I wanted to do, so during my first internship I asked to moderate one of the usability tests. It was way out of my comfort zone, but I had fun doing it.

Zoe: What about you, Adoree? Any advice for new interns?

Adoree: Network! Take the opportunity to network! That’s how you are going to make an impression and make connections. I had over sixty one-on-ones during the summer. I talked to them about imposter syndrome, job hunting, skill building, and really anything. My key question at the end of my interviews is, “Now that you know me a little better, is there anyone you think I could benefit from meeting?” This question got me to talk to the owners of MERGE and the CEO. By the end I had real conversations that had everyone pulling for me to get a job. This showed how much I cared about my own career growth. Even if you don’t get a job, those conversations can give you some great insights on what you want to do.

Justin: Wow, that’s a lot of one-on-ones. That would be way too exhausting for me.

Adoree: Oh, I was exhausted! But I got a job! Last summer was the grind that never stopped. Two internships and so many one-on-ones.

Justin: I’m a mentor for the program where we get many, if not most, of our UX interns from. For us, the people who are inquisitive tend to be the ones who get the job.

Adoree: And to echo what Chris said, you should be excited to help with any task. Treat it as an opportunity and know that this will help build your skills.

Zoe: So I think what I’m hearing is to be led by curiosity and a willingness to learn.

Christopher: And be willing to take criticism.

Adoree: Yes, being able to take criticism as a way of growing is so important. Even now after every project I ask for real feedback on performance and use that as a way to keep growing.

Zoe: Asking for feedback is definitely part of curiosity! Ask a lot of questions, even if it might invite some criticism of your work!

Adoree: Oh, this is random, but make sure you communicate and show up on time. I may not always remember what my interns did, but I remember the ones who communicated and showed up on time everyday.

Zoe: A quick little nitty gritty question about networking before we move on to our closing comments. As Justin pointed out, Adoree’s sixty one-to-ones is majorly impressive! With networking being so crucial, do you have any strategies for how to keep track of everyone, and proactively stay in touch? Any tips and tricks?

Justin: I absolutely hate networking and I’m terrible at it, so I don’t have anything of value to add.

Christopher: For me, it’s whenever I am thinking of that person I try and reach out even if it’s a quick text.

Adoree: I have been on the receiving end of Christopher’s messages, and honestly, he always makes my day! That’s great advice.

I also use LinkedIn and follow up with people there. That follow-up message on LinkedIn is just as important as the one-to-ones. Say hi to people. Work on getting to know others, and everything will just flow. We all get busy, but sometimes try and send a “I’m thinking about you, hope you are well!” message.

Zoe: Great advice!

Okay, last question before I let you go. What advice do you have for students who are looking for their first job or internship? A broad question, I know.

Adoree: I think the thing that made my ACC experience special (besides being in a pandemic) was my strong connection with my cohort. It helped normalize the job hunt process and helped with my classes. When everyone is interviewing, you almost get a taste of what to expect. You also get some help with negotiating because you hear what others are getting offered. But most importantly, the job-hunting process is hard on the ego, and it helps to have that friendship!

Community is crucial to have that support. Go out of your way to meet people, and get feedback on your projects and portfolio. Apply for internships that help you answer where you want to go and notice what you like and don’t like from that experience. That will take you far. I know that it’s not traditional but apply to everything! UX has so many random tags, so look them all up! I found my internship by looking at CX. That was the first time I even ever heard of CX. Go into these experiences with a willingness to learn and an open mind, and you will be fine. An open hand always catches something.


  1. Put yourself out there. 
  2. Don’t get discouraged; I put out over 100 applications and only heard back from a handful.
  3. Your portfolio will never be perfect or done, just get something together that  you can present.

Adoree: 100% on the idea that your portfolio will never be done! Also remember a portfolio can be a pdf of your work. If you need something quick to apply somewhere, just mock up a pdf really quickly. We forget you don’t always need a fancy website.

Justin: Never perfect or done! 

  1. Take some time to sit back and think about what you are good at. What do you do well that sets you apart from others. What kind of working gives you the most fulfillment? Writing, painting, drawing, research, interviews, etc.…now google how what you enjoy most ties into UX. 
  2. Think about what type of company you want to work for, what type of team you would want to be a part of, and how much of an impact you would like to make. Personally, I enjoy working independently and making a big impact in chaotic environments. Working in a department of 200+ designers, at an 8 billion dollar company can make it very difficult to get that type of fulfillment day in and day out. I do seek out those opportunities, but I recognize that if I had taken a job at a smaller company this could be achieved faster. But don’t get me wrong I love Red Hat. The culture is, bar none, one of the best. The resources seem infinite, and the caliber of senior designers is amazing! 
  3. Get a mentor.

Christopher: If not a mentor, then an accountability partner.

Justin: What does an accountability partner do?

Christopher: Holds you accountable. Adoree and I held each other accountable over the summer

Adoree: It helps you stay accountable and ensures that you are working towards your goal and not just wasting time.

Justin: Ah gotcha. I was thinking maybe it was different because I was thinking about it in terms of going to the gym.

Adoree: Same idea, less sweat. May include more crying, though. 🤣 

Zoe: To summarize: your connections and relationships can make a huge difference in helping you stay on track, and ensuring you don’t get discouraged. Because you will face a lot of rejection to land a great role.

Also, I want to highlight what Adoree pointed out about how sharing your experiences with interviewing can be helpful when negotiating a salary! Let’s normalize discussing salaries, it’s so crucial to building equity for everyone!

Well, this was incredibly eye opening and inspiring! Thank you all for sharing your experience. Any closing statements? And where can everyone find you?

Adoree: You miss 100 of the shots you don’t take. Just go for it! Feel free to reach out on LinkedIn. I love to hear from new people. Especially from ACC! My name is unique, you can find it pretty easily on LinkedIn. I’m first generation, and if anyone needs help walking that road I would love to help! You got this 🙂.

Justin: Apply, because the worse they can say is no. Find me: LinkedIn.

Christopher: You already have a powerful network with your fellow students, teachers and alumni. Lean into them. You can find me on slack, LinkedIn, the alumni LinkedIn group and the alumni meetup group.

Justin: Didn’t even know there was an alumni LinkedIn group. But I’m barely on LinkedIn.

Zoe: Yes! I try to post job opportunities whenever they come my way so it’s definitely worth joining! Let’s make that the final tip: join the Viscom LinkedIn group!

Find Adoree

Find Justin

Find Christopher

Featured Alumni

Viscom Student Designs Diverse Art Book

Jeanne’ N. LaFrance graduated from our Graphic Design program in fall 2022. During her time as a student, The Art Galleries at ACC hired her to co-design The Necessity of Truth, a book highlighting a group of diverse artists exploring social justice and cultural awareness. The book was created as a tie-in to the Miñarro/McClinton: Negotiating Spaces exhibit which ran during spring 2022. I met with Jeanne’ over g-chat to discuss her design approach to this impactful project.

The cover design utilizes graphic lines to represent the seven featured artists.

Zoe: Can you give me some more background about this project?

Jeanne’: The Necessity of Truth is a book that features seven minority artists that are located around the Austin Texas area. The artists talk about their hardships or hardships that others might experience while being a person of color. Their work showcases their emotions on how they are portrayed/what they see within their ethnicity.

Zoe: The book is absolutely gorgeous. What did it mean for you to participate in this project?

Jeanne’: It meant a lot to be able to participate in this project. This was my first time ever doing a project this significant! I was honored when my professor at the time/mentor Rachel Wyatt asked for my assistance. I was a full time student juggling four studio classes; it was a lot of pressure but well worth it.

Zoe: Was the pressure mainly because of time?

Jeanne’: Time wasn’t really a big deal; it was important but not the main focus. We did have a deadline but it wasn’t set in stone. I’m a slightly a perfectionist and I didn’t want to let [the gallery] team down. There were a lot of people working on this book from translators to copyright and when it was my time to do my part I felt pressure to make sure the layout pleased the clients.

Zoe: It sounds like there were a lot of stakeholders involved! Did you feel like there were a lot of competing wants/needs that you needed to find a balance between in your design?

Jeanne’: At first glance when I was introduced to the team I felt overwhelmed by where I should put all the text with the images that were provided. But after listening to my clients and following a slide show they put together, it was easy! [Rachel] Wyatt did set the layout style for the first artist to kind of give me an idea since this was my first book. From there I had free creativity to do as I pleased as long as my clients approved! I was able to take on the rest of the task and finish out the six other artists. It was key to make sure that the text on each page matched the image the artist was talking about. I had three different size fonts to work with for pull quote, body copy, et cetera. And at the same time to I had to make sure there was enough space for breathing room so the pages didn’t look overcrowded.

Each layout is designed to have plenty of breathing room, despite packing in a ton of content.

Zoe: This book packs a lot of content into a small package, but no page feels overcrowded or hectic. You also had a unique challenge because of the text is presented in both Spanish and English. How did that impact your overall design for the layout of the book?

Jeanne’: I feel like it didn’t really impact it as much as I thought it would because we had the space. When I got my cliff notes of all the text together it was overwhelming at first, but when I started to place the text down in InDesign I realized early on that it wouldn’t be a problem. And having the Spanish text in the color picked out for each artist really helped give the book an extra flare.

Color and placement make the Spanish text the primary focus.

Zoe: I agree! Highlighting the Spanish text with color was a great way to emphasize it as the focus of the book. It made the Spanish text feel primary, rather than secondary.

Jeanne’: Exactly! My clients wanted the Spanish text to be priority over the English text because you never see Spanish first. And with this being a book all about minority artists I feel like that was the best move possible!

Zoe: Then I would say, “Mission Accomplished”!

Each artist has such a unique point of view, style, and medium for their work. Each section of the book feels special to them, yet the book as a whole is still cohesive. Did you take this into consideration when designing the layouts?

Jeanne’: When it came to designing each layout I wanted to make sure that I didn’t repeat the same style for each artist, because, just like their work, each artist is unique. Each opening of the artist’s section starts with their portrait and goes into some of their work but after that I had freedom to be creative. I wanted to give them the personal shine that they deserved and plus it makes the book design a little more interesting so the reader won’t get bored halfway through.

Zoe: You can definitely see how the layout allows each artist’s work to shine. Another thing that gives each section of the book a since of individuality, while still being cohesive, are the colors you chose for each artist. What was your approach to deciding on each color?

Each layout is designed to coordinate with the artist’s work.

Jeanne’: Yes, the color choices that were picked out for each artist actually came from their own art work! I used the eyedropper tool in InDesign and got the color from there. Then I would show the clients and they would either approve it or not. We had to make sure that with whatever color they decided to go with that it was legible for the Spanish text.

Zoe: I didn’t even notice that, but now that you mention it, I can’t unsee it! The colors are also integrated into the cover design. This palette is a totally unique combination, yet they still seem to fit together. Did you tweak the colors at all to get that to happen, or did it just work out that way?

The color for each section was pulled from the colors present in the artist’s work.

Jeanne’: Luckily, it just happened to work out that way. But even if I didn’t, I don’t think it would have been too much of a problem because once you reach an artist’s section you are stepping into their work/world. And yes, for the cover the clients wanted to make sure that we captured something that represents each artist on the front. So simple line work was the final outcome to make sure we kept the book elegant. And you can also find that line work throughout the book, which helps separate some of the text.

Zoe: Was the line work your first idea, or did you draft any other options before landing on this cover?

Jeanne’: We had a couple of drafts. The first drafts included just artwork of one artist, but we felt that wouldn’t be right to the others if we are not printing multiple versions. Then I played around with just using the colors in abstract forms and I had two drafts with just line work and text. And the line work was the one they were leaning towards. I got feedback and I provided copies until I got it to where my clients were pleased.

Zoe: The final outcome is gorgeous! I have one more question.

Okay, maybe two.

First, since this is the first book you designed. What advice do you have for other students who are pushing themselves to tackle a project that’s outside of what they may have already done?

Jeanne’: I would tell them to not be afraid to step out of their comfort zone. Things are more challenging because of what you make up in your mind than what it actually is. If you don’t know what you are doing don’t be afraid to do research or ask for help. Once you start, just have confidence and don’t look back. If I would have turned down this opportunity I wouldn’t know what I was capable of and missed out on something great.

Zoe: You’re right that we don’t know what we’re capable of until we test those boundaries!

My second final question is, what was it like for you to contribute to such a meaningful project?

Jeanne’: It was an honor to be asked to assist on this project. I am thankful for [Rachel] Wyatt seeing the potential in me while I was in her class and for her to trust me enough to carry out this project to the finish line. I was a full time student at the time and I had some extremely talented classmates and I was/still am trying to find my place in the “art world”. But, being a minority myself, being able to help with a book that focuses on minorities and their struggles finding their light in the world was inspiring.

Zoe: That’s awesome! Any closing thoughts you want to share?

Jeanne’: I would like to thank Rachel Wyatt, Peter Bonfitto, and ACC T.A.G. for this opportunity! It was great to be able to leave something behind at ACC that I am very proud of. Also to my husband Aaron, my mom and family for encouraging me on times that I felt like giving up. Nice to have great people in your circle.

You can find Jeanne’ at all the places below:
Instagram: @lafrance_graphics
Etsy: LafranceGraphics

Featured Alumni Featured Students Success Stories

Graphic Design Student a YETI Featured Artist

Zaine Vaun is a recent graduate from the Graphic Design program at ACC. This past semester she was selected by YETI to be a featured artist for their “Artist Series”of customizable drinkware. YETI customers can choose from five of Zaine’s unique nature-inspired designs to customize mugs, tumblers, and water bottles. I met with Zaine over g-chat to discuss her design process and what it was like working for such a huge brand.

Zaine’s nature-inspired style makes her a perfect fit for outdoor brand YETI’s Artist Series.

Zoe: First of all, congrats on being a featured artist for YETI!

Zaine: Thanks, it was a really fun project and I felt honored to contribute to their Artist Series.

Zoe: How did you get connected with this opportunity?

Zaine: Well, the Associate Credit Director reached out to me and asked if I wanted to participate. And of course, I said yes. I think I came on their radar via Instagram, but over time I became friends with them. I don’t think that is the only reason I got hired, but I’m sure it helped!

Zoe: That’s amazing! What do you think caught their attention?

Zaine: I think I’ve done a good job of creating a niche for myself. I focus a lot on creating work that uses animals and nature as a main subject, which works well with outdoor companies like YETI.

I also have a pretty unique style, that is illustrative yet graphic. So I think they saw potential in how it could be applied. When an image is etched on a product it has to be pretty bold and simple, and work in just one color. I guess they saw that my style would work for that.

Zoe: I do see how your brand/niche and YETI’s brand seems like a natural fit! Were these designs that you already had on hand, or did you create them specifically for YETI?

Zaine: I created them specifically for YETI.

Zoe: What was the prompt that you were given, and what was your inspiration for these designs?

Zaine: The prompt was “High Desert”. When we met for the first time, they showed me a few different pieces of mine they liked and kinda just let me run with it.

Since this was an “artist series,” they had chosen that prompt for me specifically because it jived with my other work and common subject matter.

I drew inspiration from my time in the Southwest… Colorado, Arizona, Texas. I have spent most of my life in the more arid desert regions.

There were five designs commissioned, and so I had to be choosy about which animals I displayed. We played around with a lot… coyotes, hares, snakes… it was hard to decide!

The five we settled on were: bighorn sheep, mountain lion, collared lizard, gambel’s quail, and roadrunner.

The initial sketch phase of the project helped to narrow down the unique style for the designs.

Zoe: I think my favorite design is the Roadrunner! How did you narrow it down to those five animals?

Zaine: It was a combination of trying to find a balance of representing the animal kingdom and attempting to choose the designs that felt the most unique. I really loved the coyote, but it’s a little overused to represent the region.

Reptile versus bird. Predator versus prey… that kind of thinking. Comparing the demographic that may choose one over another. Lots of thoughts on that sort of thing.

Zaine drafted designs for many different desert animals before narrowing it down to the five animals featured.

Also, just which ones we thought looked the best played a role as well!

One that didn’t work very well and didn’t make the cut was a peccary. It’s a type of wild pig; they are cute in real life, but it was hard to make it look cute.

We did three rounds of designs, the first being a variety of sketches that approached the project in different ways. From there we homed in on the approach we wanted to take and which animals to highlight. The last round was just a few small tweaks to make them compatible with the etching machinery.

Zoe: Have you ever designed anything for etching onto a rounded surface before? If not, what did you learn from the process?

Zaine: Nope, this was my first time. It was pretty easy since YETI already knew all the specs. The big thing was just making sure the line width and spacing were to spec.

Otherwise, it is as simple as making a vector graphic. The cool thing is that YETI actually has a place on their website where anyone can upload anything they want (to spec) and make a custom mug or whatever. Mine are also available of course, but anybody can do it!

Zaine had to ensure that her designs met specifications for etching onto metal.

Zoe: Wow! I didn’t know that; that’s pretty cool! Other than making sure your designs were to spec, how did you approach the designs for this project? Did you have to take into account the way that the etching appears on the various colorways of the products? 

Zaine: Yes, I definitely had to take into account how it would look etched. My designs use quite a bit of texture, lines, dots, etc. Since there was only one color I wanted to make sure they still felt dynamic. When I was deciding on the patterns to use I had to play around with whether they would be inverted or not, and how that would work with the etching.

Doing mock-ups was a helpful tool for checking my work along the way and for showing the client what to expect.

Zoe: Was it a challenge to be so limited with how you could approach the design? Or did you enjoy having those limitations?

Zaine: I enjoyed the limitations. Boundaries create opportunities to explore new ways to approach my style. It kind of puts it to the test in a way.

Also, I knew what they were expecting, which is helpful. But they gave me complete artist’s freedom within the boundaries as well.

Zaine’s designs are often characterized by texture and pattern, which helped make the single color designs more dynamic.

Zoe: It sounds like YETI was pretty good at collaborating on this project. Was it intimidating at all to work for such a big company?

Zaine: They were very good at collaborating and made me feel welcomed and appreciated. It was a little nerve-wracking getting on our first call with everyone in a conference room… but I was put at ease pretty quickly.

Zoe: That does sound like it could be nerve wracking at first. Do you have any advice for other students heading into their first client meeting like that?

Zaine: My best advice is to take ten minutes or so before the meeting and just refresh yourself on who you will be meeting, their names, positions, et cetera. Maybe refresh over the emails or whatever you have already talked about so that it is fresh in your mind. That always makes me feel more prepared.

Additionally, remember that whoever you are meeting with are just people too, and there’s a reason they want to work with you, so act with confidence!

Zoe: Good advice for any situation! Especially job interviews!

Last question: Do you have any advice for students looking for opportunities like this or just looking to get their work out there in general?

Zaine: Yeah! It’s all about the time you put in. You have to make a lot of stuff to get good, and you have to share a lot of work to be seen. Showing consistency in your work allows potential clients to feel like they can know what to expect from you, which they like. So, making a body of work is good for that. Even just a series of ten things can help.

Also, there’s so much out there to learn and absorb in the design world. You have to be proactive in educating yourself with what is important historically or on trend currently.

Lastly, make friends and be friendly! There is no substitute for real-life friends and mentors.

Zoe: I love that. It’s the connections that make all the difference, in your career, and in your life.

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