Alumni Update: Interview with Ashley Moyer
Alumni Ashley Moyer graduated from BGSU in 2013 with her BFA in Graphic Design. She is currently a Designer at Madhouse (madmadmad.com) in Toledo, Ohio focusing on print and branding.
Why did you choose BGSU to study design?
When I went to college, I didn’t even know what graphic design was. Fortunately, I roomed with a graphic designer my freshman year. I was jealous of her homework assignments, so I looked into it a little further, changed my major and took the plunge. I sort of fell into it, but I’ve always loved the field for the never-ending learning it provides. I’m a naturally curious person and each new project is another opportunity for discovery. I’ve been lucky to work with small local businesses, unique universities and colleges in higher education, major corporations in manufacturing, arts and cultural organizations, libraries, entrepreneurs, and more. Each new project is a glimpse into learning more than I ever thought I would about something new. One of my favorite types of clients to work with is non-profit community organizations––I’m lucky to work for an employer that cares about this kind of work and is able to make this type of project happen more often than a lot of places would allow. Having the opportunity to add strategy and creativity to amplify the wonderful work others are already doing is such a reward.
What advice would you give for students currently in the program?
Have fun and take your work seriously, but also remember not to take your work too seriously. Lately, with coworkers and friends I’ve been joking around on stressful days that “we’re not saving lives here, people.” That sounds like I’m discounting what we do, but quite the contrary. We’re lucky to work in this field and get to do creative work every day. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself. No one can be creative 100% of the time and you deserve to be a whole person, not just the best designer that ever lived. But keep that nose to the grindstone, for now––you’ll need that fire to get where you’re going. Keep the passion. Work hard. Be willing to figure shit out on your own. Oh, and also, take “The History of Graphic Design” class more seriously, I hard core wish I had paid attention more in that class––I know it’s late in the evening and like three hours long, but that shit is cool, I swear.
What do you find the most challenging when it comes to design?
I’m not the most tech-savvy person which can be restrictive in an ever-evolving, technology-centric world. I think it’s important to be on top of this in our industry, but it definitely doesn’t come naturally to me.
What do you love the most about design/what are your strong points?
What I love most about design goes back to one of my previous answers about perpetual learning. Not only do I get to learn about new industries, people, and products, I get to constantly learn new hard design skills. There’s always new tools and techniques you can incorporate and learn––fine art skills, digital applications, illustration techniques, photography processes, experimental methods, you name it. You can always try new things. I think research and discovery are some of my greatest strengths.
What is your dream job as a designer or do you already have your dream job (if so, why is this your dream job)?
Uhhh, that’s tough. I love my job, the people I work with, and am very happy. If we’re talking dream job, it might be a position without deadlines and restrictions, budgets and expectations. But I don’t think that’s realistic and I think most of those things push me to make better work. And I’m lucky to work in a place where those things are handled pretty well.
Do you prefer working alone or in a group?
Before graduating and getting a job I think I would have said I preferred working alone, but after working in a collaborative setting for many years I truly enjoy working collaboratively. I trust and admire the people I work with and the solution is always better with a team’s input. A balance of both is my sweet spot––working some independently, then regrouping with the team for critique and collaboration, back and forth.
What is your favorite design space to work in?
I love to work with my hands––collage, screen printing, experimental methods, just getting off the computer in general. It doesn’t happen as often as I’d like, but I love to push for this way of working whenever I can. On-screen, my favorite program is InDesign. This is often an unpopular opinion, but I love having all the tools for layout and typography precision and organization at my fingertips.
Interview by Mya Burns