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Designer to Director: An Interview with Stacy Kimmel

I can remember meeting Stacy Kimmel about a year ago when she was considering joining the Advanced Print and Graphic Communication Certificate. And join she did!

Since then, with her new and improved portfolio, she has landed a new job: Director of Creative Services at City of Hope. Read on to learn about what her new position involves, how she got it and what she’ll look for in your portfolio if you meet her in an interview.

See her portfolio here.
Learn more about City of Hope here.

What brought you to UCLA Extension’s DCA Advanced Print and Graphic Communication certificate?
I am an advocate of continuing education. If you believe you have all the answers and have learned everything there is to learn you might as well retire and call it a day. Our industry is constantly evolving through technological advancements including the introduction of new platforms such as social media. Taking classes, attending trade shows and learning from your peers are a just a few of the steps we can take to stay relevant in our field.

What was your design/work history before starting the certificate?
I have been very fortunate in my professional career which has spanned over 20 years. I have worked in a variety of industries both as an employee and as a founding partner of Kismet Design Group, an award winning design firm. Past clients include: Disney, Warner Bros., Mattel, Paramount Pictures, Kid Space Children’s Museum, Pier 1 Imports, Ross, Ryman Auditorium, Southern California Edison, Travel & Leisure, The Grand Ole Opry, The Motion Picture & Television Fund, The Topps Company, Universal Studios and USA Today.

You recently got a new position! Please tell us more about it.
I recently accepted the Director of Creative Services position at City of Hope. It’s a remarkable facility which I am very proud to be part of. For nearly 100 years, City of Hope’s pioneering research has brought the world closer to cures for many life-threatening diseases, from cancer to diabetes. Compassion drives the ongoing innovation. Every discovery made and new treatment developed gives patients the chance to live longer, better and more full lives. My department, which consists of 10 members, is responsible for all the print materials which support the development and clinical sides of the institution. That includes cause and celebrity marketing, event and fundraising as well as clinical materials that the patients, doctors and researcher use at the hospital.

You’re in a position to hire new and more senior graphic designers. What do you look for in those roles?
An invaluable skill for any designer is the ability to be a team player and have an understanding of what that really means. As a senior member of any team you are expected to take part of the collaborative process, respond well to art direction and have a positive attitude. When I review a portfolio I look for a well rounded book both stylistically and in the variety of work represented. I look for a good use of typography, color theory and most importantly creative conceptualization.

You have a continuing education benefit at work. What do you look forward to learning in the future?
I will be finished with my certificate in Advance Print & Graphic Communication next quarter after which I would like to take a few additional classes. I am considering your new class Social Media for Designers. City of Hope has a dedicated team in the Communication Department that works solely on social media platforms. Our 2 teams partner up frequently and it would be beneficial if I had a better understanding of that world. I am also interested in taking some business classes to further develop my leadership and management skill set.

Thank you, Stacy! There you have it – direct from a designer who could hire you one day. Core skills like type and color are critical, as are staying open to the new technologies in design. I really appreciate Stacy’s openness to learning new things and accepting that just because you’ve got a great portfolio and client list doesn’t mean that you don’t have anything left to learn.

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