Job Title: Graphic Designer
I am a Graphic Designer on the Growth Team. We work specifically on marketing materials for our company, Primitive Social, as well as FastPay. I’ve also helped worked on other projects such as Nspire Labs and Rural & Remote.
I graduated from Saginaw Valley State University with a Bachelor's degree in Graphic Design and a minor in Sociology in May of 2015. During my time in college, I had a really great internship with SVSU’s College of Business and Management.
I feel really lucky to have had an internship on my college campus. During downtime, my manager encouraged me to work on my portfolio so that I was prepared for my job search after graduation.
After graduation, my life moved pretty fast! I married my husband, Caleb, and we moved from Bay City, MI to the Detroit area. There were many job opportunities in Detroit - but fortunately my job hunt didn’t last too long. I connected with another alumni of SVSU on a Facebook Graphic Design group who posted about a job opportunity for a Digital Graphic Design position at a company called Sun Communities Inc and their sister company, Sun RV Resorts. It was an excellent company to work for, they took a chance on a graphic design newbie and I feel I was able to contribute a lot to the team. I walked away from the job with lots of great learning experience and design savvy.
How did you hear about Primitive Social? What ultimately drove you to want to work with us?
After living in the Detroit area for 3 years, my husband and I made the decision to move back to Bay City to be closer to our family. Bay City, while it isn’t the smallest city in Michigan, does not have many graphic design opportunities.
My husband had suggested to me that I started looking for a remote job. At my previous job, I had experience working with remote team members - but I hadn’t considered it for myself. I’d say I really sat down and applied to at least 2 jobs a day for a month that I felt I could see myself working at. I had a couple interviews with some companies that sounded right on paper - but when it came to the interview experience, it was not a good fit.
Truthfully I was starting to feel disheartened in my search. Life just didn’t seem to be going my way, and one evening on a weekday - I fell really hard on my back on our back stairs. Now you might be like, “ugh...ok why is this relevant to your Primitive Social Story?” Well I will tell you.
I had to call off work the next day because I could barely move. I had Caleb prop me up in the bed before he left for work and bring me my computer. I decided I could make use of my time and apply for some more jobs - and I came across the Graphic Design job for Primitive Social.
After looking at Primitive Social's website and Instagram I knew it was a company that I could see myself being a part of. Shortly after sending my portfolio and resume, I received an email from Heather asking to set up an interview. I took this as a great sign, it’s not often that you hear the same day from the company you applied to. I had a really smooth interview process and during my second interview with Kade and Heather, Kade offered me the job right on the spot. So although falling on my back was terribly painful, I like to think it was a forceful push in the right direction.
You’re on a fully remote team, what’s that like?
It’s really positive and we all work fabulously together! We all understand the remote lifestyle and although we all live in different time zones, we are mindful and quick to help each other out.
How do you keep yourself motivated working from home?
I had never worked remote before. I was worried I wouldn’t be as self disciplined. However, I feel 1000% more motivated and focused than I was working in an office environment. My husband also works remotely - so it’s sort of like having a coworker, and we also have three cats who keep us company.
We have a little daily routine - which I think helps me stay motivated. Every so often we like to switch it up and work from the library or a coffee shop. Sometimes we take a little dance break with our cats to move around - or if the weather is nice we will take a bike ride or a walk around the neighborhood. Ultimately, what keeps me motivated is working with a great team and I truly enjoy the projects I work on.
What’s your office setup look like?
My office is fairly new since we moved into our house. I have a second monitor which allows me to work more efficiently - I keep blankets nearby and cat toys. I have a nice big window next to my desk that I use to look at my neighbor's Golden Retriever. There is also a record player in my office that I like to use, it’s a very cozy and inspiring space!
You work on a lot of design projects for Primitive Social and FastPay. What’s your favorite project that you’ve worked on so far?
I recently rebranded and redesigned the FastPay website - which will be launching soon! That was a really challenging and rewarding project. Recently, I feel I’ve made some cool ebook designs for Primitive Social, specifically “Your Business’ Guide to Blogging” and “A Guide to Inbound Marketing for SaaS”. I also had a chance to work with Annie, our Chief Of Staff, on Primitive Social's new Team Guide Book - which was great because I feel I was able to contribute visually to the team culture.
What was the first graphic design project you ever worked on in your life?
I’d say all the birthday/holiday cards I ever gave to my family were graphic design projects. Sometimes I would use colored pencils - but then I realized I could make some super sweet designs in MS Paint - we all start somewhere!
How has your work progressed since that first project?
Thankfully, I no longer use MS Paint. I have grown in my eye and technique for design. I also feel more confident in my design decisions and being able to back them up. The great thing about design is that there is always something to learn - so it keeps you on your toes, which I enjoy!
Now let’s talk more about you. Tell me about your family.
My husband, Caleb, and I have been married going on 4 years this September. We are proud parents to three beautiful cat children - Princess Mononoke, Totoro and Calcifer. We are big Studio Ghibli fans, so we named our cats after our favorite characters.
What do you like to do outside of the office?
I like to volunteer my time outside of work working on Bay City Cooperative Markets’ board. I’m currently treasurer on the board, but I also work on the social media and events committee. I help with creating graphics for digital needs, as well as for our events. We still have a ways to go to make the Coop a reality - but it’s a project I feel passionately about. Our city is in need of affordable healthy foods that can be accessible to everyone - also what could be cooler than a grocery store owned by your own community?! I also spend a lot of time hanging out with my friends - we like to karaoke. We are working on creating a karaoke league, we’ve already starting putting together guidelines for the league. So that should be lots of fun once we get that up and going.
How do you juggle your work and your personal life?
I keep a set schedule for work, my work area is for work and nothing else. I think, in that way, it keeps me focused and separated from my personal life. Working remotely has allowed me so much extra time for my personal life. I’m no longer stuck in traffic or having to wake up extra early in the winter to clean off my car. When I’m done with my work day I go into my personal life mode!
What’s something people at the office would be surprised to know about you?
We all follow each other on Instagram, so it’s fun to peak into each other's daily lives. Maybe they’d be surprised to know I frequently karaoke - I never post myself doing that.
How do you define ‘success’ in your job?
I think success for me is having the opportunity to learn and grow everyday. I think some people like the comfort of knowing what to expect everyday at work. With design, you sort of get the best of both worlds - you can expect to work on certain types of projects, but the content will always change and you need to find different ways of visually representing it. I find success when I can visually represent information in a pleasing way that is creative but also logical.
Words of wisdom to pass along?
Never stop being curious! There is always something to learn and never be afraid to ask questions. If you have dreams of being a designer, work hard and practice frequently. I’d say volunteer your time and experience with local non-profits who are always looking for help. Not only will you be helping them, but you’ll have projects to start filling your portfolio with.