2018 was a great year! I graduated from Champlain College and was hired full-time as a graphic designer at qwerkal. Here’s my take on my first year as a professional graphic designer and some of the interesting projects I worked on thus far. My life up until this point has been all about finding myself as an individual and now, more so than ever, as a graphic designer.

This past year has been crazy, to say the least. Pre-graduation was an experience, having to balance 2 to 3 projects a week and an internship at qwerkal, whilst keeping my social life intact. But in a time of complete chaos, my internship at qwerkal gave me a bit of a break as well as projects that I enjoyed doing, not to mention I was being paid to do them.

Fast forward a couple months and I was offered a full-time position at qwerkal as a graphic designer and I couldn’t be happier. I was days away from walking across a stage to receive my bachelors of fine arts in graphic design & digital media and I now had the opportunity to stay in a city that I fell in love with almost immediately after visiting in late 2013. Now, here I am 5 years later recapping 2018, a year that has changed my life in so many ways, and to be honest it still doesn’t feel real.

Hello real world

As for the first few weeks of the “real world” it wasn’t much of a change from the internship workflow, just a whole week of work instead of a few hours a day in between class. But even so, I was thrown completely into projects I had merely just grazed upon during my internship, becoming a part of a team that works with entrepreneurs and early-stage startups to build standout brands. Some of my favorite projects this year include KellyBoat, Ceres Greens, Reconciled, Packetized Energy, Learnly, Art Herstory, and last but not least qwerkal itself.

KellyBoat, was one of the projects I just grazed upon during the internship. But on becoming full-time I dove a little deeper and was able to help design a lot of the social media and web graphics for the website.

Ceres Greens was the first project I was fully immersed on. With this brand we completely updated their logo, branding, stationary, social media, package design, and a fresh new website with fresh new looks! I also had the honor to work closely with Ceres Greens’ co-founders, Jacob Isham and Greg Kelly, which was a pleasure. Two great men who really believe in a sustainable solution for food scarcity.

Packetized Energy illustration by qwerkal

Reconciled, Packetized Energy, and Learnly were 3 projects that we completed simultaneously, which may seem like a challenge but being so fresh out of college, I can say that this was nothing new for me. For Reconciled the logo design process was a challenge, it felt like I made a few hundred variations before finding the winner. For Packetized I was able to use my illustration skills and create a brand illustration outlining the company as well as what they strive to achieve, and it has to be one of, if not my favorite project I’ve completed so far.

That leaves Learnly, another favorite but for a different reason. For this brand we worked closely with the founder and created a new brand around the ideas and trends that have been working for existing brands for years. The unity and consistency that we created with this brand is what I am most proud of. Between the colors, gradient, shapes, and typography they all work well together in capturing an approachable brand that will comfort and inform the audience and users of the software.

Art Herstory is a brand that really speaks for itself. Founder, Erika Gaffney’s goal is to showcase women artists who have either been discredited in the past or not even credited at all. So working closely with Erika to create a brand identity that compliments these works has been key and although we have not completed this brand entirely yet it is still a project that we are consistently working on and ensuring that it will showcase these artists in a respectable manner as well as create and identity for itself.

Authentic branding illustration by qwerkal

Last but not least, qwerkal, the company that has given me the opportunity to work with all these clients. Over the course of 2018 I have helped Travis Bragg, the founder of qwerkal, define who qwerkal is and update the identity into a cohesive brand that represents what we offer as well as what we can do. I have created brand illustrations that have been making their debut in social media posts, our sleek new website, and updated stationary that convey the company’s mission.

All in all 2018 has been a magical year. Whether it was graduation from Champlain College or landing my first full-time job as a graphic designer, I wouldn’t change a thing and I am so excited to see what 2019 will bring!

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