Q&A session with Meredith Mandel, a graphic designer who works for a clothing brand company in Los Angeles, California.

Q:  What is your job title and where are you employed?

A.:  I am a graphic designer for a clothing company called Matix, which is a subsidiary of Podium Distribution. They design clothes for people who enjoy the skater/surfer lifestyle. I work in Los Angeles, California.

Q:  How long have you been a graphic designer?

A:  This is my third year as a professional freelance graphic designer.

Q: What type of training did you have to become a graphic designer?

A:  It all stems from my days of being a Fine Arts major at the University of California Santa Barbara. I took courses on art, painting and printmaking at that school. While enrolled at UCSB, I went abroad and studied graphic design in Australia for a few months.

I currently am enrolled at the Otis School of Art and Design in Los Angeles, California studying graphic design. In the past, I have had the opportunity to intern at various companies that did not require a degree in graphic design and that has helped out a lot. There have also been many freelance opportunities that have arisen and that work has given me a great feel for the working world.

Q:  What do you like best about your job?

A:  I really enjoy being a creative person and being involved with art. I also enjoy the collaborative side of graphic design and getting to bounce ideas around with fellow peers.

I do not enjoy the fast paced environment and constantly trying to sell my product. At times, you may think you have a great idea, but when the client shoots it down, it doesn’t feel good.

Q:  Describe your typical day on the job.

A:  Right now, I am doing print work for a clothing company. A lot of my daily work involves the area of branding for the company. Currently, I am working on flyer and t-shirt designs for their next ad campaign as well as design work for their website. I basically come into work, perform the tasks that are given to me at the start of my day and then a supervisor revises that work and we make necessary changes.

Q:  What traits do you feel are necessary to be successful as a graphic designer?

A:  You have to have good speaking skills or you will never make it. A graphic designer must be able to articulate their body of work to a client and sell it. A good designer also must have high self-esteem and be proud of their work. Even if you do not think your work is 100%, you have to make the client believe it is or else they will see right through you.

Being personable is also a great trait to have as a graphic designer. You are constantly meeting clients and trying to win them over with not only your work, but yourself as a person too.

Q:  Would you recommend this career to someone else?

A:  I definitely would! Being a graphic designer forces you to be a creative person and makes you feel useful in today’s world. It constantly keeps me on my toes, is a lot of fun and I have been told it is a job that can add years to your life. I get to spend my day making art and get paid to do it as well.

Q: What is your next career move, if any?

A: I would love to work for a creative agency and be involved in more collaborative projects. Also, I think I would enjoy working for a company that has more of a collective background instead of one that is just in-house.

A career in graphic design can be extremely rewarding, as Meredith has told us.  If you’re thinking about pursuing this career,  check out a list of schools in California offering graphic design programs.