Amy Grellner, aka Amy G, has been my design mentor since college. During school I started an internship at an Oklahoma City ad agency, Jordan Associates. I met Amy G and instantly was drawn to her. She was very kind, helpful, and creatively open with me. I was always asking her questions at the beginning of my internship because well … Amy knew all the answers and I have no fear of asking questions! :] She even let me bug her with school required interviews. I remembered one of my interviews I asked her how long she had been a graphic designer and she told me 13 years. As a new designer at the time, well design intern, this blew my mind! She had so much experience and was creating amazingly fresh work. Wow an apprentice was born.
I owe my collaborative creative attitudes to Amy G. She was not afraid of sharing information. In fact, during my internship and my time working as an Art Director for two years along side Amy G, she openly taught me many of her design secrets on a daily basis. I would run over to her computer and she would share with me bits of knowledge that would help me as a designer. She and I would discuss our thoughts on her designs and mine with true efforts to make each other’s work better! I also shared with her all I knew about Illustrator. At the time Jordan was using FreeHand (yuck) and trying to transition to Illustrator! I trained her on the newest software and she trained me how to be a great graphic designer.
Along with the core creative team attitude Amy G also taught me:
- to align elements in design for overall unity
- to be consistent when designing for a campaign
- to be organized with design files – at a big ad agency she taught me many different people may work on my files in the present or in the future so consider the team
- to build color palettes
- to build image collections when brainstorming a project
- to have someone else review design work – four eyes are better than two
- to pay attention to details
- to stay late when necessary, but also to keep personal life priority
- to step away from design work for a break when things aren’t going right
- not to be afraid to disagree when necessary – “If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.” – Patton
- to be sociable and appreciate the team
- to dress for success – Amy G is always dressed ready for a meeting at last minutes notice
and tons more … Here are a few of Amy G’s designs:
Although I no longer work with Amy G at Jordan we still meet up every few months for lunch. For the past three years I have been enjoying designing websites, and I love sharing with Amy G what it’s like to design for the web! When we meet up we have show and tell with our work, discuss creative concepts, and talk design.
Other individuals mentor me up close and even from afar, but I really have been lucky to know Amy Grellner. She will always be my design mentor and favorite G :]
Who are your design mentors?