Graphic Design graduate Jen Guimarães ’17, shared with us her story and how she landed a job two weeks after she graduated. She talks about the importance of surrounding yourself with those that believe in you, what her ideal job would look like, and offers some pretty killer words of wisdom for anyone else interested in a similar path.
Name: Jen Guimarães
Current Title: Art Director at Sullivan Higdon & Sink
Location: Shawnee, KS
Education: Bachelors of Fine Arts: Graphic Design, from Park University
How has your life changed after graduating Park?
It actually has gotten a lot less busy! In my last year at Park, I was working full-time while going to school full time as well. So now only working from 9-5 and having some free time is wonderful! School projects have now turned into new home projects.
What’s the most surprising part of your new position?
Fortunately, I worked in an advertising agency while I was finishing my degree, so moving to Sullivan, Higdon & Sink, there weren’t many surprises.
What’s your favorite part of the job?
My favorite part of my job is collaborating with my creative team to pull together fantastic concepts and work to present to our client. We work so seamlessly together and are always looking to help elevate each other’s designs, that when we present to the client, they are wowed.
How did you hear about this opportunity?
I heard about the opportunity at SHS from speaking with one of the VPs of creative at my Park U senior design show. I had already committed to another design position before graduation when he spoke with me at my show. At the show, he gave me his card and said to reach out if I was ever interested in creating opportunities at SHS in the future. Even though my new job at the time was great, I felt that I would be a better fit at SHS, so I emailed him asking about coffee & creative opportunities – I got the job two weeks later!
Is there a project you’ve worked on that you’re most proud of?
The project that I’m most proud of is my senior thesis I did for Park University. Our professor, Jeff Smith, told us that our senior thesis can be whatever we want – basically a project that represents what we would want for our dream job. So I chose to do a women professional soccer team called Phoenix Fury FC. The Fury represents how I view soccer and women that play the beautiful game. I grew up playing soccer, am a part of a soccer family, played at the collegiate level for Park University, and even met my husband (also a soccer player) playing soccer. I must love the sport just a little right? The Fury represents a power of fierce, strong women athletes going to battle in the game of soccer. The campaign showcases that through the brand identity, advertising campaign, merchandise, uniforms, season ticket packages, digital and social media platforms & content and even a hype video!
Do you have a career mentor or role model?
My number one role model is my mom. She’s hardworking, resilient, kind, passionate and selfless. She raised me to be the same and always encouraged me to follow my dreams. If I grow up to be half as great as she is, I’ll be set. Another influential person in my life is my husband, Felipe. He stepped into my life in 2013 when I was at my lowest and gave me the confidence in my design talent that I needed all along. He is my number one fan and urged me to go back to school for design because he knew that I belonged in the creative world.
My greatest career mentor is my professor, Jeff Smith, from Park University. Jeff believed in my talent from the first day I stepped into his design lab in 2012, even when I didn’t myself. I left the design program in 2013, but he didn’t give up hope on me. In 2016, when I emailed him asking for his permission to return to the design program, he told me that he had been waiting for this email since I left. He has helped me become the designer that I am today through his teachings, mentorship and friendship. He is the Jedi Master of design.
I wouldn’t be where I am today and owe my success to these three wonderful people.
What did you do as a student to help prepare for your career?
In my whirlwind of a senior year, the biggest thing that helped me prepare for my career is sticking to timelines and successful time management of my work. I paid attention in my courses to learn what would be expected in a creative position, and I wasn’t afraid to ask questions or went to my professors/fellow classmates to help make my designs the best they can be. Most importantly, I believed in my talent, voiced my opinions and was confident in my work.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Still at Sullivan, Higdon & Sink actually (I hope!) and continuing up the creative ranks. SHS is a one-of-a-kind place and once you’re here, you can see a future here. I hope to continue growing and learning in my design career and go where my heart takes me. The dream would be to work for a MLS team or soccer team as an art director or creative director in my future, so I’ll keep you posted on that. But away from the screen, I hope in 5 years that I’ve started a family and above all, that I’m happy.
Words/advice you’d give upcoming graduates?
- STICK TO YOUR TIMELINES. But seriously, do it.
- No concept is too “out-there”.
- Go above the requirement – the bare minimum never gets attention
- Have fun! If you’re not having fun designing the things you want, you won’t when you’re designing a client’s wants.
- Keep in contact with your classmates – they’re your biggest allies in this crazy design world.
- When in doubt, go simple.
- Always think “designerly” – don’t just mess with things to make it work.
- BE CONFIDENT AND DECISIVE IN YOUR WORK.
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