In high school, it was drawing and painting, not computer-generated art, in which Brent Gale was most involved. “I wasn’t really quite sure what graphic design was,” he says. “I thought that graphic design was just a more technical way of drawing.” Boy, was he in for a surprise.
Graphic design had more in store for Brent than he originally thought. “You’re not necessarily an artist as a graphic designer — you’re more of a technician or a craftsman,” Brent says. “Art is sort of a personal thing (while) graphic design shouldn’t be about the artist. It should be about the person they’re speaking to.”
Brent is a graphic designer at a small, award-winning design firm in Minneapolis. As a graphic designer, Brent specializes in the design of logos, brochures, websites, product packaging, brand creation and support. “It’s visual communication,” Brent explains. “Basically what I do is try to create a perceived value to somebody’s brand by creating designs that would be attractive to that brand’s target market.”
The best part of Brent’s job, for which he uses computer programs such as Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign, is when he gets to work for clients in which he’s interested. That includes the Evil Knievel poster campaign, the athletic club whose product packaging he designed and the hockey gear company’s brand he helped create.
The drawbacks of graphic design? “It’s a lot of hard work,” Brent says. “We put in a lot of hours trying to come up with something fresh every time, something new.”
Students interested should get graphic design experience whenever possible, he recommends. At MSU Moorhead, Brent worked for the university’s publications office. There, he designed brochures for the theater department and a summer movie series, among other projects. “That was probably one of the greatest things I did while going to school there,” he says.
As a high school student, Brent suggests that you be aware of the kinds of design and art that get you excited. Ask yourself what works, what doesn’t work, who an ad is trying to target and what makes a product’s packaging work.
Besides working at a graphic design firm like Brent does, designers could also work in advertising, marketing or perhaps at a printing shop. Or, try a large corporation with in-house designers. Wherever you want to work, Brent offers this final piece of advice: “If you’re interested in art, end up at a university that is known for its design.”
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