Cassi Nicole
Graphic Designer

Design: Here to There

College Years

So you made it to college. Now what? At times I remember the impossible reality of deciding a life professional at eighteen, nineteen and twenty. I was one of the students who stumbled swiftly not so elegantly into my career path. Design did not come easy to me, and I worked twice as hard as naturally gifted artists. However with determination to be successful, my career has evolved and is still unfolding even to this day. Design is a constant journey like many other paths. It is whether or not you are willing to grow, learn and always be open to critic. 

So to erase and rewind for all your 90s kids. Here is how I started...

Growing up I was what you could say an independent artist (making up things as I go). I liked fashion, art, theatre, dance, films you name it. Most of my childhood I was designing clothes and sketching what would be the latest fashion on television. So ultimately it would be an easy choice to decide freshmen year, right? Well not so much. Life choices fell into motion that allowed me to attend school on a full ride scholarship. However, there were little to no fashion programs in sight. I gave fashion merchandising a whirl. Not for me. There was zero designing, sewing, trotting off to glamorous photoshoots, or gaining this media driven experience I desperately wanted to learn. Instead I sat through accounting courses, interior design workshops and sales classes. Dull and boring was the game plan. So back to square one and awaited my appointment with the university counselor. We spoke for a while and came up with a nice combination of art and technology. Graphic design was my new major. 

During my experience through college the learning curve was wide and I needed to minimize it quickly. My skill set never included official drawing classes or technology courses (besides the basics) in K-12. This made my design portfolio reviews extremely difficult. Believe it or not I did not pass my first entrance review. Neither did I receive an explanation of why I did not get it. Instead I got a small note in my binder that said come back next semester and try again. How devastating. Not only was I giving up my dream to be a world famous fashionista, now I couldn't even make it as a graphic designer. Funny joke cruel world. Funny. That moment of disappointment inspired me to be even more determined for success. Backing down from a fight was not an option. I pulled up my boot straps, waited it out, asked a million questions from upper class men and applied again. Whoot Whoot! I got in. Later I would learn from classmates why most applicants are not accepted the first time. It was completely about presentation. Wow. That was it? Presentation? Okay no big deal just learned my first two major lessons from design school: presentation and persevering till the end. Ladies and gentlemen remember these two things in the next few years. Hold on to them and never let them go. Being a designer in the real world, critics may eat you up and spit you out for concept or stylistic choices. However if you can present with unwavering determination, it might win the critics over when you need it most. It is a little like being a used car salesman. It may not be the best model on the block, but if you inspire the buyer its the best car to ever own, then you've made it. That concept is a designer. Not manipulation, but inspiration to see potential, change, influence on companies, organizations and people everywhere. 


Don't give up when the tough gets going. 

Presentation is key.

Slow down and enjoy each step taken to finding life's career path.


No go get 'em friends and students!

Cassi Patterson