Michelle Martir is the former Multimedia Coordinator for commonvision and iNet. She left us last year to accept a position at ADG Creative. She was kind enough to answer some questions for us about her current role and current and past projects.
commonvision: When were you working with commonvision and what was your role?
Michelle-Marie Martir: I worked at commonvision as a student designer and animator from 2010-2012, and worked as a full-time Multimedia Coordinator from 2012-2014. I oversaw the branding for the Division of Student Affairs, ArtWeek 2014, and helped run commonvision and iNet.
cv: What skills and experiences did you gain at commonvision that has helped you out in the "real world"?
MM: Oh man, it’s hard to narrow this answer down. I was able to gain a diversified skill set in design, animation, photography, and even event planning. It was really the multifacetedness of the job that allowed me to be flexible not only in the different mediums I work with, but also in how I communicate my designs to others.
Also printers. Dear god, if you are going to do print design, know how to work a printer!
cv: Are there any projects that you are particularly fond of having created while working at commonvision?
MM: I have a couple that are on the complete opposite sides of the fun-serious spectrum. Running ArtWeek 2014 will always have a special place in my heart. I certainly didn’t “create” ArtWeek itself, but I had a blast organizing the event and working with the students that year. It was a lot of work, but it was all worth it. On the other end, I oversaw the design of the summit posters for the Division of Professional Studies. It was incredibly technical, and we had to sift through massive amounts of data. We came up with a style that was cohesive, yet with visualizations that were specific to the data. It certainly wasn’t easy, but I eat up that technical stuff like candy!
cv: What is your current role and what projects are you working on there?
MM: I’m unfortunately not allowed to talk about a good chunk of my projects, but rest assured that book design, infographic design, and presentation design are all heavy hitters for my current role as a Designer at ADG Creative. As a sidenote, do not underestimate the power of a good slide presentation--it’s well worth your time and energy to really work with your client and create a presentation that is effective and beautiful.
I also still do freelance work every now and then. Recently I worked on a project for the John Maxwell Company doing print and presentation design; and an infographic and brochure for Sylvan Learning.
cv: How would you describe your "style"? And who are some other artists/designers that inspire you?
MM: In terms of design, I like to think I don’t have a style. I don’t like to limit myself, especially when you have potential clients ranging from small start-ups to multi-million dollar corporations. I guess I will always design cleanly, but some designs will certainly be cleaner than others depending on the client. Idealists call it “selling-out,” but I call it pragmatism.
At this point it’s impossible to narrow down the artists and designers that inspire me; it’s so easy to find people and their work online these days. Pretty much anyone that is shamelessly passionate about the work they do and willing to keeping pushing themselves even after work is done: they all inspire me.
cv: So, what is it with the scarves?
MM: You know, I’ve never really thought about that. I’ve just always liked them! I think I like their flexibility: literally and figuratively, ha! They’re an easy, fast way to dress up or dress down an outfit. And frankly, 40+ scarves take up much less room than 40+ dresses. And they’re just cute!
cv: And what is it with Pokemon? What is the age limit to be liking the Pokemon's?
MM: Geez, way to be condescending, Dwayne. :) Yes, the pokemon video game is technically made for 10 year olds, but competitive battling against other players is where it’s at for everyone older. There’s a surprising amount of strategy involved in breeding, raising, and battling pokemon. There are certain tiers of pokemon that are simply better for competitive use than others, and specific pokemon needs to be raised and battled in very specific ways. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s a very easy game to pick up and go into a vegetative state for a while. And it’s just cute!
cv: What advice would you give the current commonvision student staff and UMBC students that are about graduate and leave the comfortable academic environment?
MM: Be prepared to step well out of your comfort zone, especially at first. Be flexible, but learn your limits. It won’t be easy and you will probably make some big mistakes. It’s how you get up from those mistakes that define you.
If you are some sort of designer or animator and you don’t have an online presence one way or another, you are useless. I know it sounds harsh, but at this point there is no excuse. Even if you don’t do web design, you need to establish yourself in the world outside your front lawn. Setting up a Twitter or LinkedIn is easy, just make sure you maintain it too.
In the first year of your first relevant, full-time, Imma-Big-Adult-Now job (or even the ones thereafter), you may feel like you aren’t good enough to be there. I’m pretty sure my immediate bosses in the jobs I’ve had, have seen me break down for that reason at least once, even though I’m really doing just fine. Yes feeling that way sucks, but it is actually completely, 100% fine to feel that way. In fact, there are studies out there that show that if you question your abilities a lot, chances are you’re doing just fine because you analyze yourself and your work a lot, and are able to catch mistakes before any client sees them. (For those of you interested in this, look up studies on the impostor syndrome.) And really the feeling will only get worse as you get better jobs, because you will probably be working with evermore talented people. So, don’t beat yourself up too much. Don’t abandon self-criticism either, but take a step back and look at the grander scheme in play every now and then. Because really, you’re probably doing just fine.