Last November, Danelle joined us for our In Haus Kreativ roundtable event at the State Museum (In Haus Kreativ 2 is now open for registration) to talk about her in-house position at Schoolwires. Since then Schoolwires became part of the Blackboard K12 Parental Engagement team, where she leads works as a Senior User Experience Designer. I’m very excited to announce that Danelle will be joining AIGA Central PA again this September as a panelist for re:Charge, the chapter’s first women’s leadership event.
When not working on Blackboard’s Schoolwires K-12 product, she can be found away from the screen learning & practicing hand lettering, a new creative outlet for her. To follow her lettering ventures or read more about her experiences as a User Experience Designer, visit Danelle’s blog.
How long have you been in the field?
Where did you go to school/what for?
Lancaster County Career and Technology School my senior year of High School, I studied internet programming. This was enough to get me a job during college in my field where I worked as a digital marketer and designer in a marketing team. I also learned a lot about social marketing though that was very early in social media and email marketing. Learning to market is a big deal to getting yourself out there in any industry.
I got my Bachelor’s Degree at Central Penn College for a BS in Multimedia & Internet Production. I went to school all year around so I could keep my job in the field during school and turn it into full time as fast as possible. I love learning but the faster I could get into the work field I felt the more experience I could get. Summer breaks were a waste of time to me as I worked to keep myself from ever working weekends again (I haven’t, by the way).
How long have you been an AIGA member?
Since July 2015.
What important milestones do you credit to getting to where you are now?
Lancaster County Career and Technology school in my senior year of High School introduced me to the web and got me my first web design job. Picking up my first issue of Communication Arts Magazine in our college library showed me graphic design (I want to do that!) and then I tried to stay in jobs where I could build web sites, graphics and emails. Each job I’ve had has helped to steer me to where I am today. I would say that the mentors I’ve met at my current job have been very influential in my confidence as a thought leader and practitioner.
Why Central Pennsylvania?
I grew up in Lancaster county where my family is from for generations. I love our heritage and Pennsylvania is beautiful – I’m not a city girl so I love our rural options here.
What advice do you have for professionals looking for a new job or young, practicing designers in the field?
Explore creative outlets. Study techniques, but master concepts. Identify problems. Learn to Learn. Meet other designers. Don’t get stuck or worried about the idea of traditional design career and constantly re-evaluate. Pass on knowledge. Don’t be trendy just for the sake of being trendy. Classic is classy. If you’re looking for a job, put your (constantly growing) work out there, publish your thoughts. Use LinkedIn as a resume and keep it up to date. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Listen. Grow empathy.
For more advice, check our her recent blog post, Things I Learned so Far About a Design Career.
Design is not only fulfilling to the problem-solving nature of most people as a career, but it has and will continue to be the driver of change in the world – for better or worse.
Favorite part of the job?
Using research and data to solving problems, and leading new concepts that I feel can accomplish change for the better. Personally I love thinking about ways that I can lessen screen time for the next generation as my son grows up. The use of technology for this is a reality we haven’t yet scratched the surface of, but design will solve. Technology doesn’t have to mean making more people into techies. It can mean making it possible to spend more time outdoors, or using your hands, being in person, etc.
Why should someone be an AIGA member? How has it benefited you?
I have benefited by the community events by learning that I actually have a lot to offer others in the field. I have tons to learn in many interests from others in the organization, but I feel I can use this community as an opportunity to mentor. I’ll always be a student so I’m hoping to fuel my passions as well!
Know a local designer who could use some recognition? Nominate a member to be a Feature Friday designer by emailing Bri their name, company and contact information.