Alumni Update: Interview with Amanda Hovest
Alumni Amanda Hovest (2007) has stepped into some pretty major shoes since her time at BGSU. Having moved out to California and worked up to various leadership roles within AIGA Los Angeles and creative firm KBDA, her mounting success is only coupled by her dedication to quality design solutions and maintaining excellent relationships. We got a chance to catch up with Amanda for an insightful interview.
What drew you in to graphic design and why choose BGSU to study design?
I’d have to say that graphic design found me. I started out at BGSU as a psych major in the hopes of becoming a Guidance Counselor! I switched my major 3 times, moving closer and closer to an art major… and then I took a design class and that was it. I found a major that combines what I liked about psychology with the arts.
What are you currently up to now?
My official job title is Senior Designer at a studio in Santa Monica, CA called KBDA. My job includes being a project manager, designer, director and self-elected social chair! I think I’m pretty lucky because we focus on nonprofits and cultural institutions here at KBDA. I work on projects that range from museum exhibits to websites to branding to packaging design. We create pieces that help our clients raise money and awareness for their causes. I feel lucky to get paid to do good.
Just how important is it to maintain rich relationships with your clients?
Client relationships are pivotal to the success of a project. It is very important to create trust and an environment for collaboration with the team you are working with; this includes not only the clients but everyone that is part of the project (artists, architects, printers, writers, etc.). The client needs to know that you are part of their team and want the best outcome for them.
Speaking of leadership and relationships, how has AIGA impacted your design career?
If you would have told me that I would be the President of AIGA Los Angeles 10 years ago I would have told you that you were crazy. AIGA has impacted my life in ways I have yet to experience. It has enabled me to lead and work side by side brilliant creative minds to do some pretty special things for our creative community. The opportunities for personal growth and learning when joining an AIGA board is astronomical. It does take a lot of time and dedication but the relationships you build on and off the board, and the relationships you are able to create for others, is a unique experience.
And does your experience and personality find its way into your work?
I’d say I have a colorful and bright personality that factors into my work as much as anyone’s personal filter does, but the work we do as designers isn’t for us (most of the time). It is generally for others, and therefore needs to reflect their vision much more than any personal aesthetic I may have. My personality rarely factors into the visual style, but is a strong asset in interacting with people during the design process to solve the problem. Not every project involves rainbows and unicorns.
How’s life out on the West Coast (compared to little ol’ Ohio)?
It’s a big cliche thing to say but the weather! I love knowing that it’s going to be nice, warm or hot on any given day. There isn’t much of a need for warm clothes here (although I have an embarrassing number of scarfs). Although it’s always sunny in LA there are trade offs; I always tell people that I traded in the bad weather in Ohio for the bad traffic here in LA. There are also just so many more people! I was raised on farm where my closest neighbor was a half a mile away. Now I share a wall with my closest neighbor, so that was a shift when I first moved here.
The absolute best thing about LA though is that there is always something to do on any given night/day. Hike in the mountains, swim at the beach, find a local art show, or just meet at one of the amazing restaurants. You can be as social as you choose.
On a final note, any piece of advice you can give to students currently in the program?
Why just stop with 1? Here are 4 pieces of advice for those in the program right now:
- Get experience! There is no such thing as doing too many internships, so get that real world experience. Learn what parts of design you like and which you don’t before you graduate, it will make it easier when you are searching for that first job.
- Work together. Your peers are one of your greatest assets. Work together, help each other, and learn for one another.
- Collaborate with people outside of the design program. Make connections with your favorite photography student, illustrator, business major, etc. These people will be great people for not only advice as you grow but partnerships you may need/want to collaborate with in future projects.
- Thank your mentors. You have amazing professors. Remember to thank them. They go out of there way to make you a success.
Quick! Lightning Round: Favorite Color, Food, and Music?
PMS XXX, Anything to do with potatoes, and KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic (always looking for my new favorite song/artist).
Thank you Amanda!
Interview by Myles Stanley