Feature Friday: AIGA Central Pennsylvania 2015 New Board Members

Every now & again we like to switch things up, keeping our community on their toes. This week we’re not featuring just one designer, but four! We’re thrilled to introduce our newest board members, Erin, Matt, Jared & Ryaan! These four community members recently made the commitment to step up and fill new positions on our leadership board.

New Board

Who are you, what do you do, where do you work?
Ryaan Beck (RB): Hai, my name’s Ryaan (legally it’s one ‘a’ – but I prefer two). I design and develop web products for Williams Forrest.
Matt Blaisdell (MB): My name is Matt Blaisdell. I’m an eCommerce Webmaster at the Hershey Company // System One, a freelance designer, pizza eater, coffee drinker, flannel wearer and occasional letterer.
Jared Adams (JA): Jared Adams. I’m a designer at Maga Design. Sometimes I do side projects and freelance work too.
Erin Good (EG): I’m Erin Good. By night, I design, develop, plan, tinker, doodle, organize, learn; and by day, I’m a designer at Godfrey in downtown Lancaster.


How long have you been in the field? Where did you go to school/for what?
RB: I’ve been on the grind for ~2 years and counting while graduating with a BA in Design from Millersville University.
MB: Design and I have been ‘Facebook official’ (hip kids still say that, right?) for about five years now (freelance) and one year as a full time designer. During that time, I went to school at Edinboro University (south of Erie – and yes, the snow up there is as awful as you would think). I graduated in 2014 with a BFA in Graphic Design.
JA: A few years. I went to HACC and got an associates to later go onto Millersville and complete my bachelors. I started freelancing and interning after school and then moved onto a full time job, where I’m at now.
EG: I graduated from Millersville University with a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic and Interactive Design in 2012, where as a freshman I began going to AIGA events in Central PA. I’ve been rolling around in the “real world” for about two-and-a-half years.


What made you join AIGA? How has it benefitted you?
RB: I joined AIGA so I could meet with and learn from like minded people – which has already proven itself as beneficial.
MB: I got involved with AIGA because I was involved in the Edinboro University AIGA Student Group my Junior & Senior year at Edinboro and I really enjoyed the experiences I gained from networking and learning from others in the field. Since I joined in late 2014, I’ve met tons of creative minds I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to otherwise.
JA: All my friends were getting involved somehow so it only made sense to join in on it. AIGA is a great community too that I always wanted to be a part of. In terms of benefits Other chapters have noticed a side project I did (Design Pickup Lines) and are the reason anyone really pays attention to that, which I’m thankful for. I’ve met a lot of cool people and have a lot of resources at my disposal because of AIGA as well.
EG: Like I said, I started going to AIGA events as a student, Seeing other people (students, professionals, both young and old) get just as excited as I was to see our heroes in the industry give a presentation or chatting about the latest design news really made me feel like part of a community.
AIGA benefitted me greatly as a student – I had the opportunity to go to three portfolio reviews within a few hours from home and display my work, and practice interview skills; which prepared me to take those first cautious steps post-grad. Currently it is a source for networking, education, inspiration, and, again, a way to stay connected with others who share the same passion I do about design and the arts.


What made you decide to become a board member?
RB: I wanted to become more involved with the local web design community, not to mention the title looks good in my Twitter bio
MB: I wanted to become a board member because design has never been just a job for me. Late nights and early mornings have been spent because I love what I do. Since I was 12, I’ve been involved in various non-profit leadership organizations (and served as the presiding officer of one in 2012) so I’ve really become excited to be involved in a community of like-minded thinkers. It’s all the more of a benefit that I get the opportunity to help build the creative reputation of Central Pennsylvania.
JA: I wanted to volunteer and I just ended up taking it further. I also wanted to get more deeply involved than casually helping out.
EG: Being involved at this level allows me to continue exploring my desire to learn, lead, and hoping to ignite that aspiration in others. The board is able to work together toward a unified goal of connecting others who share the same passions we do. Not to mention, AIGA just feels like a grown-up Art Club, doesn’t it?


Why Central PA?
RB: It’s where I was born and raised. I love Pennsyl-tucky.
MB: To say it in one word – potential. To say it in many, Central PA is in a unique position where its ‘creative identity’ has not been fully defined… yet. There’s tons of potential to show what Central Pennsylvania has to offer and watching organizations like AIGA go out into the community and interact with the public makes me excited to see how creatives from all over come together and give this area a true creative identity.
JA: I was born here and have lived here my whole life—I just haven’t left yet.
EG: I grew up here, learned here, live here – it’s a near and dear place to my heart. To see it flourish only makes me look around and think of the positive impact design and we as leaders and dedicated individuals can have to make the community a better place as well.


Why do you love design?
RB: I’ve always had an itch for the arts and design speaks to my obsession for detail.
MB: I love design because what we do, as designers, is come up with solutions that are highly dependent on our creative process, the intended user/viewer, current and emerging technology and our design styles – there’s no one answer to any problem, which makes it an exciting opportunity for creative problem solving.
JA: I kind of fell into it. I “acquired” Photoshop CS2 when I was 13 (sorry Adobe!) and was fascinated with it, staying up until 3 am most nights, following tutorials and stuff. I made dumb websites when I was young, learning to code pretty much by trial and error. That and Xanga/Myspace, I fixed a lot of my friends profiles during that era. I also took a class in high school that involved screen, vinyl, and intaglio printing which was the only class I really enjoyed in high school. My teacher suggested I go to school for design and I just ran with it. I’ve always kind of had that eye and a desire to create, I think.
EG: Plain and simple, it keeps me on my toes.


What inspires you to do the work you do?
RB: Passion > Money > Fame
MB: Humans do. No, really. My work revolves around how others will react to human-centered design interactions and I try to put myself in the user’s shoes to gain a different perspective. Also – Ancora Imparo, I am still learning –  Don’t forget that. Ever. 
JA: Seeing a lot of other designers really inspires me. I like collaboration and conversation.
EG: I scribbled in a notebook during college a quote from my home girl and yours, Jessica Hische: “All the hungry, young designers that are struggling to find their own voice, but end up a bit too close to their inspirations.” My walls are adorned with creatives that inspire me, but when it comes to my own work, I need to force myself to move outside of ordinary pieces that would catch my attention (beautiful lettering, the top 10 websites of the week) and look outside to nature, architecture, signage, clothing, and everyday objects. All of those elements and principles of design that were drilled into our heads are more present in those things than anything you can find on Pinterest. Also, my cats.


How will you use your role as a board member to benefit the design community & beyond?
RB: Haven’t thought that deep yet but at the very least I would like to spread the word and get more people involved with AIGA.
MB: I’ll use my role as a board member to help spread the idea that design isn’t just photoshop and web design but it is an opportunity to facilitate visual change, public communication and focus on user interaction through various creative ventures.
JA: Whatever I can do to make this chapter the best version of itself. I like coming up with event ideas, and that’s what I’ve been doing so far.
EG: I am thrilled to take part in building an organization that meets the needs of creative students and professionals, whether that be as a source for information, inspiration, or forming relationships. Some things that are currently sparking my attention are the Women’s Leadership initiative and how we can strengthen and empower the female role in the technology space, and making resources for up-and-coming professionals more available in our area. To devote my time to AIGA thus far isn’t asking for much considering the generosity and kindness that has been shared with me through AIGA and its members throughout my career.
One of my favorite design moments was seeing James Victore present in Harrisburg on his 11 Commandments to Kickstart Your Life, and when I asked a question in regard to number eleven (“Demand greatness from your life … Be bigger than life. Suck the marrow out of everything. You don’t have five lifetimes, you have one. Make it count), he responded to me, “BE Erin. Walk into the room and have people know you’re there.” I want others to feel that same empowerment in and out of the workplace, and I feel AIGA and its resources can help give them the tools to do so.


Random fun fact or other misc. information about yourself.
RB: I have really weird ~good~ luck, so much that I should play the Power Ball more often.
MB: There’s quite a few, so I’ll just list them…
<ul class=”FunMattFacts”>
<li> I once won a cow at a small town country fair. </li>
<li>I once got a hanger stuck in my eye as a kid. Don’t worry, it came out and I can still see!</li>
<li> My favorite Hershey’s product is the Heath bar. </li>
<li> My goal in life is to be a user experience designer and letterer on the side. </li>
<li>If I had it my way, I’d eat pizza every day for the rest of my life.</li>
JA: I’ve never swallowed a pill in my life.
EG: Seeing Bon Jovi live in concert is on my bucket list. Only if they tour with Richie Sambora again, though. I’m an avid tweeter and instagrammer, find me @eringood02.
By Bri Piccari
Published July 3, 2015
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