Who or what influenced you to get into the design field?
I have loved creating for as long as I can remember. I love to design and build a wide variety of things. When I was younger, I would create comic books, music, paintings, stories, clothes, toys, accessories, and anything else I was interested in at the time.
At one point, I realized that I wanted to be an artist when I “grew up” because I wanted to spend every day creating new and interesting things. I knew what I wanted to do; I just didn’t know how I would make a living off of art until I discovered the Digital Arts class offered at my high school. This class introduced me to the world of graphic design and, as a result, the possibility of being paid to create ideas and art. I had found the right career for me.
Where do you get your creative inspiration?
It depends on the project. I’ve found that I can get inspiration from the most ordinary objects. There have been times when I’ve developed the design of an entire project around a single word.
What tools of the trade do you use to make your life as a designer easier?
I use the Adobe Creative Suite for the majority of my design work. I also use almost any browser you can think of to test websites, although I’m not sure if this makes my life easier.
I know for a fact that my life as a designer is made easier by my Wacom tablet. I can create things quickly with my Wacom, and it doesn’t leave my wrists in pain like a standard mouse does.
What is your next planned software or hardware purchase?
I would like to get a Cintiq21UX. It is a giant Wacom tablet with a built-in display. It looks amazing, and I’m willing to bet it would speed up my design process exponentially.
What do you see as the next evolution in design in terms of trends?
I believe companies will be requesting more websites and other design projects that are designed to appeal especially to women. This will result in more projects with feminine colors and patterns, curves, rounded corners, and a crafty or handmade look.
This quarter, every potential client who has contacted me for a project has requested a feminine look.
Could you share a favorite recent web or graphic design project that you worked on and tell us a little about it?
I recently began volunteering as a teaching assistant for a program that educates middle school students about the graphic design industry. This is just one step in my larger project of becoming a design teacher. One day, I would love to teach design at the college level.
What are your favorite websites or blogs that you frequent?
Any advice or tips for someone wanting to become a designer or improve their quality of work?
Continue learning. Be interested in many things, and continue learning new things. By cultivating a broad knowledge of diverse fields, you are able to discover more connections and develop more new and interesting ideas.
Take the time to learn about your client’s company, products and services, and target market. The more research you do, the more informed your design decisions will be—resulting in a more effective design.
Have you found a particular theme or industry that has become your favorite to work with and/or design around?
One of the reasons I enjoy being a freelancer is because it presents me with the opportunity to interact with and learn about many different industries. I like the variety. I never know who will contact me with an interesting project next.
Jessica Greenwalt is a freelance graphic designer, web developer, and illustrator with 6+ years of experience in all three areas. After speaking with Jessica, it is obvious that the passion for creating that she felt as a young girl has not faded during her years as an adult in the industry. She has worked with a variety of clients all over the world, is involved with several organizations, and is taking steps to accomplish her goal of eventually teaching design at the college level.