TJA prides itself on creating a winning culture through the rad people who work here. Now’s your chance to get a peek behind the curtain on process, origin stories, and even some secrets from one of our very own. Content Strategist, Teresa Velasco, interviewed Graphic Designer, Nichole Peterson, via Slack.
TV: Okay girl, when did you know being a designer was something you wanted to do?
NP: I was always into anything that involved art growing up, but I knew I wanted to be a designer when I took a high school graphic design class and fell in love.
TV: Is being a designer all it’s cracked up to be?
NP: I think it’s excellent! I get to make pretty things for work and always have the opportunity to be creative. There are days when my brain just isn’t creative. Working in an agency, I have to push through that mental block to get my work done. It’s a struggle to find inspiration some days. When I’m in one of those ruts, I usually need to seek out work from other people for inspiration. I have some design websites I frequently reference:
TV: When there’s a more challenging project, what’s your plan of attack?
NP: I collaborate with my teammates and start planning the best course of action before I even open a program so I can begin with a strategy. This is something that’s become a bigger part of my process as I grow as a designer; I spend more time in the planning phase before diving in.
For example, if I’m designing a poster, I’ll talk with our Production Director to get a grasp on specs and size. Then I’ll consider what the poster is meant to do—whether it’s to drive traffic, build brand awareness, act as an informational piece—and combine that with all the info provided by the client services team. That’s when I start thinking about the layout. Once I have some solid ideas, working with other Creative team members to get feedback is extremely helpful in creating a piece that is aesthetically appealing as well as functional.
TV: What are some hot design tips you can share?
NP: I found that learning the actual theories and history behind design helps set you up for success. Without a solid foundation, people tend to just throw design work together with no real purpose. It is always important to have intention behind your design, and knowing the history of it helps you understand that better.
TV: Do you remember what your first project was at TJA?
NP: It was a stairwell mural of the greater Phoenix area for Hotel Valley Ho . My first impression of the work I was doing was that we had really rad clients that allowed us to be creative with their projects, which meant they trusted us to design our best work for them. That was a really good feeling.
TV: What about your first impression of TJA?
NP: We have so much fun here. We have crazy ice breakers, pops of fun, team builds and more. It’s all meant to create an enjoyable environment for us. That was something I wasn’t used to coming from my old job. The people here are also extremely dedicated, honest and unique. It makes for really good work and even better culture.
TV: Alright, last question: what’s your deepest, darkest secret?
NP: Oh geez, really? That’s a tough one. Well, a work-appropriate one is that I feel like I don’t live up to my title as a creative because of how I named my stuffed animals as a kid. I had a polar bear named Pola, an ostrich named Ostrey, and a worm named Wormy.
Don’t let her stuffed animal names deceive you: Nichole has cranked out stunning work during her time at TJA. Check out some of our case studies to get a taste of the kind of creative work Nichole and the rest of the team can create for your organization.