Below are excerpts from a conversation between Queens College Design graduate Ginine Gordon (Class of 2017), and Assistant Professor Ryan Hartley Smith about entering the job market after graduation, and advice for current and prospective Design Majors.
RHS: Hi Ginine, thanks for doing this! What are you doing professionally now that you’ve graduated?
GG: I am an Art Director [at Ogilvy, an NYC advertising agency].
RHS: Entering into the professional field of design is extremely competitive and it can be difficult for recent graduates to balance supporting themselves, making new work for their portfolio, and networking / applying for jobs. How has this process been going for you?
GG: I knew the design industry was a highly competitive field and it would be difficult to find a job. I can’t stress enough how fortunate I am to have been a part of the One Club internship program. Professor Weinstein and Justin [from the One Club] found an agency that was the perfect fit for me, and I’m fortunate the agency has kept me on the team long term.
RHS: How would you describe the work you’re making now?
GG: I love the work I’m doing now. I enjoy the challenge it brings. Plus, I get to make gifs for a living, how many people can say that?
RHS: What are your professional goals for the near future? How do you plan on achieving them?
GG: I want to experience many different kinds of projects. I plan on developing my skills at multiple agencies as a senior Art Director or a Creative director. I want to be able to grow and evolve on more than one team.
RHS: Did you participate in an internship while at Queens College? If so, what was it? How did you get it? And what was the experience like?
GG: Yes, I completed two internships while at Queens College, both under the One Club. During my last two semesters, I submitted my design portfolio and resume into a competition headed by Professor Weinstein. The One Club then selected 7 students to intern at big agencies. I was fortunate enough to be chosen both times. My first internship at BBDO was a culture shock experience.The environment was faster-paced than I expected, but, it gave me a great taste of the advertising world. My second internship, which was at the agency I currently work for, was even better. I was able to get a lot of great feedback on my book. I was eventually scouted by a Creative Director. He said he always liked to pass my desktop to see what I was working on, including my book. I thanked him and gave him my card. The next day I was told he wanted to hire me on his team. In one word, it was awesomeness times two.
RHS: What was your favorite Design course at QC and why?
GG: My favorite design course was book design with Natalya Balnova (yes this is a shout out). It was one of the first times I had a professor kick me into high gear. There was no sugar coating in class. We also had a chance to make great projects for our books. My advice for students considering a major in design is to understand this is not the “easier” courses. This major will take a lot of time to master (I’m not even one yet!). But, it is worth it. It’s not a major that is not really grade focused (although you should always aim for that A!), but more about the quality of the work that you produce. Half-a**ing is not welcome.
RHS: What advice do you have for students who are considering pursuing a major in Design?
GG: One Club, One Club and if I forgot to mention, One Club. It’s the go-to place for a chance at internships with big companies. Professor Weinstein is always posting new internship opportunities on her website. A clean resume and portfolio are a given, and it should be on your personal website. I’m not going to tell you what your professors have probably been telling you forever, but it is important.
RHS: What advice do you have for QC Design majors who are beginning to search for internships and their first Design industry job(s) after graduation?
GG: I would definitely apply to more internships during my time there. I would have also taken more After Effects courses. I found that in this business, most art directors don’t know how to use After Effects and most clients like motion in their work.
RHS: Where can we see your portfolio (website, behance, anything else you want to share…)?
GG: My website is ginine-gordon.squarespace.com. I also actively make gifs for Ibmblr from time to time, so you van see my work there as well. Make sure to also check out Art with Watson, the Josephine Baker portrait. I was an art director on that team.
RHS: Thanks Ginine!
GG: Happy Designing!