Beginnings of a Designer
If you have read my "Meet the Owner" blog post, it discussed a little bit about my innate quality of being creative. In this post, I'd like to expand on something I often get asked by people my age, "How did you start off?"
First let me give you a brief background of the way beginning. In school, I always took art classes up until I graduated and had a great experience with every teacher. The one that kick started my career path though, has not only become a former teacher of mine, but also one of the most wonderful friends and mentors to me. Mrs. Mary Mattern is simply wonderful all around. She dresses in trendy clothing and is exactly the definition of artsy. She has a vast knowledge of art history and she always studied art with a close eye, stood in front of a work, and said moments later....."it's beautiful....wonderful", in the softest tone of voice. I had absolutely thought she was overanalyzing it, until I now stand in galleries nose to nose with art and do the same thing. I learned to look at the fine details and appreciate the hand that made it.
Anyway, I wanted to be a neonatal nurse since I was little, but as I got older, the thought of it all just made me nauseated. So, I was probably a little lost (honestly I can't remember), but I know I started looking into interior design since I was obviously good at decorating my Barbie's houses and making special additions with cardboard. I mentioned this path to Mrs. Mattern and she steered me away from that and mentioned graphic design. I remember her explaining what it was to me and then during parent conferences, she discussed it detail with my mom and again, can't remember, but I settled on that.
For those local NEPA native's, many bashed Luzerne County Community College as being a crap school, however I had made the best decision of my life. I left there being a Suma Cum Laude grad (4.0 every semester), many honorary awards, and a heck of a lot of knowledge. If you're an alumni and have heard "over the bridge", you may know what I mean when I say that the teachers in the "ATC" building were world's different than those across campus "over the bridge". For me, I had a wonderful experience across all studies, but those in the creative arts field have given me the skills to be the designer I am today. I can never fully repay them with the gifts of knowledge they gave me, the time they spent guiding me when I needed it, and the extra push when I really needed it. They are all now just as critical to me as Mrs. Mattern. My silly goal is to develop every business I ever created while I was there and offer each one of them free services for life. I even made my boyfriend go there for basically the same program, and he has left there saying just the same.
After LCCC, I had a really hard time leaving there and honestly got really lost. I wanted to stay with my teachers forever and keep learning more that they had to offer, as two years was WAY too short. I tried to pursue marketing to learn the other end of the business, at Misericordia, but that epically failed. I used to sit in class and critique the fonts the teacher used in her powerpoint instead of taking in the lesson. I failed my first test BIG TIME. I couldn't finish a midterm for a literautre class that involved remembering the exact quotes, page numbers, and stories from any of the 6 chapter books we read, and write a response to 6 essay questions in 1 hour. I failed more than you can fail and never finished. I told the teacher in a private meeting, "look, I am a graphic designer, this isn't for me. I am trying to leave here and go back to design. It's my passion. I am sorry, but if I can make up a test let me know". She was so cool and supported me all the way. I ended up with a B+ in that class. However, I cried everyday on the way home from school, just to be able to leave there and go to an art school again.
I took a semester off to get myself together. I came Wilkes University and studied graphic design again. My transfer counselor was literally amazing. She gave me a piece of advice that I'll never forget and I tell to any student I know. I was a perfectionist after coming from LCCC with a 4.0 and basically full scholarship to Misericorida. I didn't want to lose that standard. Amy said, "maybe this time around since you know you can do it, you have the drive, you get some B's, C's, but you take in the experience and do your best. For god's sake you have a business at a young age! Do you think your employer is going to look at whether you got a 85 in American Lit or that you have the resume, skills, and portfolio?". From that moment forward, I didn't stop caring or trying to be perfect, but I was a lot easier on myself. I did my best, and I usually did just fine.I learned a heck of a lot about time management and balancing 20 credits, a part time job, and client work. I left the school with President's List credentials too. Overall, I still was able to work with great professors who were really knowledgable and learn a lot about motion graphics, video editing, and I left there with a really great portfolio. You can check out my personal portfolio here: www.brianafedorkodesigns.com
Here's the good part.
I had been doing client work for about 2.5 years before coming to Wilkes. Actually, right out of LCCC, I took on a national wine society rebranding. I came across them from a mutual connection and man was I scared to death. I actually turned them down 3 times, before my connection said, WTF LET'S GO. And now I have been with them ever since and design some really amazing stuff with them.
Anyway (again), I was sitting in an english class at Wilkes, with a professor who was old and rather boring (I actually appreciate the heck out of him now), and I secretly checked my email. With tears in my eyes, I learned that I was being offered to take over the design of a quarterly magazine I had hoped and prayed for. I knew right then and there, it was time to get serious. I had to start a business.
Stay tuned for the next blog to learn more about the name "Blue Flower Graphic Design".