Feature Friday: Melanie M. Rodgers

Central Pennsylvania is home to a number of excellent universities and colleges that have incredible design programs created to mold the next batch of bright design minds. This week we’re featuring just one, of the many, fabulous design educators in this area, Melanie Rodgers. Melanie has been an AIGA Central PA member since 1999, and is currently an Associate Professor of Art and Program Coordinator of Graphic Design at York College of Pennsylvania.

York College will be having an exhibition of Melanie’s work done during her Spring 2015 sabbatical, The Lettering Office. The exhibition runs from August 24th – September 19th at Brossman Gallery and focuses on Melanie’s interest in “how graphic design form can be used to convey the personal narrative, and how this content is interpreted by the viewer”. She’ll also be giving a lecture on September 3rd at 5:30pm at DeMeester Recital Hall called “Stop Learning New Things”.

Melanie Rodgers

How long have you been in the field?
I taught graphic design at various institutions since 1991 and began full-time at York in August of 1999. Before that I had 15 years of professional experience in illustration and design.

Where did you go to school/what for?
UndergradFine Art graduate of York Academy of Arts much later, MADA (MA in Digital Arts) at Maryland Institute College of Art then after that, MFA in Studio Art from MICA. My child will inherit my student loans ; )

What important milestones do you credit to getting to where you are now?
…attending a great school (MICA), having a supportive husband (Steve), loads of hard work, late nights and early mornings (Mel), the support and respect of my colleagues and institution (YCP)

Why Central Pennsylvania?
Because I live in York. I’d rather be a member of the Honolulu chapter, but it’s a little far to travel on a school night. ; )

What advice do you have for professionals looking for a new job?
• Be resilient
• Be persistent
• Keep the faith
• Tout your value
• Don’t burn your bridges
• Don’t let your current employer know you’re looking

Advice for young, practicing designers?
• Don’t be a prima don or donna
• Master the stuff you already know how to do
• Work harder than the next guy/gal
• Don’t overestimate your value
• Keep doing personal work
• Put the phone away

Advice for students?
• Work outside of class
• Experiment now, worry about “the real world” later
• Make things with your hands
• Learn to draw like a beast
• Become intimate with typography
• Put the phone away

Why design?
Why not? If you care about form, color, history, utility, language, expression, service and beauty, it’s an obvious choice

Favorite part of the job?
Watching students become obsessed with typography.

Why should someone be an AIGA member? How has it benefited you?
Being a member of AIGA says you take graphic design seriously, even if the majority of people have no idea what graphic design actually is. I have had the opportunity to see loads of graphic design movers and shakers in person in venues all over the country, have forged relationships with some of them, and have spent many hours of quality time with my students at events. It’s a win-win.

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.

By Bri Piccari
Published July 31, 2015
AIGA encourages thoughtful, responsible discourse. Please add comments judiciously, and refrain from maligning any individual, institution or body of work. Read our policy on commenting.