10 Questions for our alumni
Elyse Flynn, BFA, Graphic Design, 2011
1. Why did you choose to attend Grand Valley?
I liked the idea of attending a public university with a liberal arts background. I knew I wanted to major in art but the idea of getting a well-rounded education was interesting to me, I always enjoyed my other required classes and electives as well.
2. How or why did you choose your major or main emphasis area?
I didn't go into school knowing I wanted to focus on design, but after my first year it was obvious I had a love for typography and the application of illustration and color theory, so I applied for the graphic design program.
3. What advice do you have for future students thinking about colleges?
Try to find a school that really feels right for you. Small, large, in the heart of a city, etc, what speaks to you? The people there, professors and your peers, should equally make you feel comfortable and constantly challenge you to grow.
4. What advice do you have for current students thinking about careers?
Successful careers require a lot of hard work. They require self reflection and the desire to constantly continue learning and pushing yourself. Find something you're interested in and do that thing, do it a lot--follow your passions. Find people to collaborative with, they will make you better at what you do. Volunteer. Surround yourself with people who you respect and admire (they might be the same people who intimidate the hell out of you). And at the same time, don't be too hard on yourself, you're going to do great.
5. What did you do after graduating?
My first job after graduating was managing a chocolate shop! I did freelance design work also and got much more into hand lettering and letterpress printing, which has contributed to the studio work I do on the side with my studio-mates at Not Design. I eventually started working part time at an education research firm after a successful freelance re-brand project and part time designing product at my current company.
6. What are you doing now?
I am the Creative Director at Design Design, a social expression company in Grand Rapids. I also serve as President of AIGA West Michigan and do all sorts of crazy fun side projects with my studio, Not Design.
7. How have you used the skills you developed in your field of study in your life and/or career after GVSU?
Absolutely. GVSU taught me how to research and work with others. My art and design classes taught me how to channel my creative thoughts into work I could do for myself and others.
8. What is the best advice you got from an instructor at Grand Valley?
"Just wait until you graduate and get out there, you will continue to learn so much more if you're open to it." (My advice back, definitely be open to it!)
9. What is your favorite memory of being a student at Grand Valley?
Oh, probably the late nights at Calder! All-nighters were so literal there but that's when breakthroughs happened, friendships were formed, and a lot of 3 am McDonald's was eaten (worth it).
10. Anything else you would like to share with our Visual and Media Arts Community?
Never stop creating!
Image credit by Bird+Bird Studios. You can see connect with Elyse at www.elyseflynn.design .
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