New Generation of Graphic Arts Professionals Entering the Job Market


Brittany Bolenbaugh 

It's no secret that printers are always on the lookout for enterprising young professionals who can help their companies stay ahead of the curve in a constantly evolving industry. That's why, over the next several weeks, we’ll be profiling some talented students who are about to enter the workforce.

All of the students we're profiling have received monetary awards from the Print and Graphic Scholarship Foundation (PGSF), a not-for-profit, private, industry-directed organization that dispenses undergraduate college scholarships and graduate fellowship assistance to talented men and women interested in graphic communication careers. Housed under the same roof as Printing Industries of America, PGSF has coordinated the printing industry's largest scholarship program since its inception in 1956.

Our first interviewee, Brittany Bolenbaugh, is currently a senior at Ball State University. Brittany was kind enough to share with us a little bit about her university experience, her goals for a graphic arts career, and her thoughts on the future of the industry.

1. What area of the graphic arts do you consider your primary focus (design, print production, digital media, etc.)?

I would say that my primary focus in the graphic arts would be the design as I have a great passion and love for being creative. Although through my classes at Ball State University and my experiences I have grown to love all aspects of the graphic arts.

2. Have you started job searching? If so, what has been your experience?

I have begun the job search since I will be graduating this May and I have found that my school career center and professors have been my biggest resource. I have had many opportunities to pursue and I just hope that I am able to find the right one for me.

3. What will be your top considerations when looking for a job in the graphic arts field? (In other words, what characteristics are you looking for in potential employer?)

As I look for a job in the graphic arts field, it is important to me that I come into a position where I can not only utilize my skill sets, but also enhance them and grow with a company. It is important to me to have that opportunity to move forward and gain responsibility as I further my career.

4. What are one or two interesting graphic arts projects you’ve completed at school?

There are so many! I love to create things and learn new techniques, but I think the process that was the most fun to learn and explore was screen-printing. There are so many possibilities with screen-printing that I wish I had time to do even more with it. I also have been able to do some really neat digital projects with Adobe Creative Suite, making vector graphics with Illustrator and page layouts with InDesign.

5. Have you attended any professional events or conferences? What could organizations that host professional events and conferences do to attract more student participation?

I attended the NBM show in Indianapolis, Indiana in the summer of 2011. I wasn’t aware of the show until a professor mentioned it to our class. I had a great time there and it has made me want to attend more professional events and conferences. I think the biggest part of attracting students to these events is enhancing their awareness, either through our professors or promotions, and knowing whether there is free admittance for students, as money always seems to be a large factor in any decision with a poor college student.

6. How do you see print’s role in the media mix today? What do you think is the future of print?

Print media is always evolving. I know some people have questioned my decision to be in the print industry, telling me that print is dying out with books, magazines, and newspapers going all digital. I don’t think they realize the vast amount of things that are actually printed and used every day from advertisements, to grocery bags, to cardboard boxes, to laminate flooring, and so much more. I think that print has changed so much from what we have known it to be in the past and will continue to make drastic changes in the next ten years or so. Digital printing is the future of print. Everybody wants to be able to have what they need instantly, and by means of digital printing, we can do that; and without needing a minimum of a couple thousand prints to make a profit.

Thanks for taking the time to speak with us Brittany, and good luck as you embark on a career in the graphic arts!

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