Gaining Confidence and Working with Clients
BFA in Graphic Design student Kristin Weidemann is always knocking it out of the park with her school projects, so it’s no surprise that she lined up several real clients for her Internship and Entrepreneurship class. One key goal of this BFA program class is to give upper level students the confidence to gain experience with clients or employers. Already quite an experienced designer, Kristin used the opportunity to line up some really cool professional work: designing cover artwork for bands, creating POS materials / business collateral materials for a tequila company, and rebranding a wine label!
We chatted to Kristin about how she developed the confidence to develop a client network.
Q: Kristin, why did you decide to pursue graphic design?
Right when I graduated high school I went straight into college for a nursing degree. I ended up moving and realizing that I didn’t want to do nursing, so I did not complete that degree. Years later, I started doing graphic design, kind of organically; I was managing online stores for bands, and shipping their CDs and T-Shirts. I ended up designing some T-shirts, which led me to designing album artwork, which led to more and more work. I realized that I really enjoyed doing design work, and kind of “discovered” graphic design as an option.
My first professional projects were primarily designing band merchandise: t-shirts, hoodies, and so on. Then I started to work on single cover designs, and album artwork, as well as some basic website designs. During the time I was getting my first Graphic Design Certificate with Sessions, I was working on a logo for a pizza restaurant as well as a sparkling water brand, doing their packaging, and initial branding.
Q: How do you ﬁnd clients?
I have had a lot of success with connections and word of mouth. I have made sure to do my work well and keep my relationship with each client positive. This has led to repeat work with them, as well as them recommending me to others. I have been fortunate to get some great opportunities this way, and have learned that relationships and word of mouth are a key component in getting more and more work.
Q: What is it like attending college and simultaneously working with clients?
It has been so interesting to be a student and also be working in “the world” at the same time. Ironically there have been many instances where I will be studying a topic that I am concurrently dealing with in my work. So, I have been able to practice my lessons in real life situations, and even refer back to courses. One of my teachers, Dr. Meryl Epstein, helped me to understand how to juggle a busy schedule, and suggested time blocking and time management techniques that have really helped me out as well. My teachers have been huge support to my work overall.
Q: During your education here at Sessions, what helped you build conﬁdence?
Since attending Sessions, my conﬁdence has grown overall. I have learned a lot, and feel conﬁdent in my knowledge. The interactions and advice I have received from teachers as well, has encouraged me in all of my work. The diversity of projects while studying at Sessions helps me to feel more well-rounded. Through different classes, I have been able to hone in more and more on what I want to do. In some of our classes we have been working on deﬁning our goals, and I am feeling ready to begin to pursue the kind of work I want, versus relying so much on referrals.
Q: What does earning a BFA mean to you?
Completing my Bachelors degree is a huge feeling of accomplishment for me. It has been a lot of years for me to get to this point, and I have poured a lot of work into earning this degree. I am proud that I have kept going, and I am excited at the opportunities this will open for me.
Q: Advice for an aspiring designer just starting out?
My advice to someone just starting out, is to realize you will never stop needing to learn and grow, to embrace each project or job as an opportunity, even if it’s not your dream job. There is always something to learn from each experience, and everything builds upon the last thing you did. Be like a sponge and soak up wisdom, knowledge and experience, have your goals but be ﬂexible with where your path takes you!
To find out more about the online BFA in Graphic Design program, visit the Bachelors Degree in Graphic Design page.
Lauren Hernandez is the Manager, Faculty and Curriculum Development at Sessions College. Lauren is an artist, educator, and former middle-school teacher with a passion for everything art-related. Outside of work, Lauren likes to take care of her plants and hang out with her bird.