Alumni Update: Interview with Lila Marty
Alumni Lila Marty (2014) has made some pretty amazing advancements in her career since her time here at BGSU. Now living in Chicago, Illinois where she works as an Experiential Designer at Interior Architects. Lila is continuing to use her skills, and bring her experiences to her work. We recently got a chance to learn more about what she has done since graduating in an interview.
Why choose BGSU to study design?
I decided to attend BGSU because I was very familiar with their art programs and the vast opportunities they provided to grow as a creative. I specifically focused on graphic design because it felt like the perfect blend of fine art, design thinking/problem solving and visual communication.
Did you always know that you wanted to be a designer?
I grew up in a creative household, both of my parents are artistic badasses in their own right and always encouraged me to use art as an outlet. I knew I wanted to have a career that allowed me to put culture and art at the center of my work — design seemed to be a path that felt natural for me.
What is your favorite part about working at Interior Architects?
My favorite part about working for IA is the team of talented people they have assembled. Each person has a unique background that brings different perspectives and experiences to the table — ultimately allowing us to come up with successful design solutions. We also have a wide range of client types, so each day can look very different depending on who we are designing for. It keeps the work fresh and exciting.
What are some of your day to day responsibilities at your job?
In addition to actual design time, some of my day to day responsibilities include client meetings, internal coordination, brand awareness, vision sessions, vendor alignment and creating final artwork for production. Since I create environmental graphics, one of my biggest tasks is to work closely with the interiors team to help translate a client’s brand into an immersive experience.
Are there any projects you are currently working on (that you can share) that you would like me to highlight in the interview?
Unfortunately, a lot of the projects I work on are confidential. However, IA did just publicly announce that we are partnering with PepsiCo’s Chicago office which is the headquarters for its Gatorade, Quaker, and Tropicana brands as well as PepsiCo Beverages’ North America Central Division, to design their new corporate workplace for 1,300 employees. It will be an exciting opportunity to design spaces for big brands that are visually dynamic and different from one another.
I noticed you do freelance work, do you have any tips for designers who want to do freelance as their career path?
That is correct, in addition to my job at IA, I also juggle freelance work. A side hustle is not for everyone but if you are a student looking to leverage freelance as your career path, I strongly suggest finding a mentor. Someone who has experience in that world to help guide and answer questions. Get involved in a community and find a creative who is like-minded. Also, know your value and do your do-diligence with market research.
On a final note, any piece of advice you can give to students currently in the program?
Here are my two main nuggets of advice for students that are currently in the program. One, I would encourage them to experiment and push boundaries while they have a platform to do so. Don’t be intimated to think big or to ‘fail’ big — in the moments of discomfort comes growth and the unexpected. Two, passion/dedication and soft skills go a long way. Being a well-rounded designer is extremely important in the industry and that includes; clear communication, work ethic, adaptability, leadership, organization, and teamwork. Strive to be the designer that not only makes thoughtful and beautiful things but is also a joy to work with.
Interview by Breanne McGrothers