July 9, 2018

Alumni Update: Interview with Emily Glenn

Posted in Alumni, Interview.

Emily Glenn | Graphic Design BFA ’15

Graphic Designer at Off Broadway Shoe Warehouse | emily-glenn.com | @theblackemily

Alumni Emily Glenn (2015) has used her BFA to pursue her career as a Graphic Designer at Off Broadway Shoe Warehouse. Emily attributes getting hired at her first job because of The SWEAT Workshop with current design instructors, Amy and Jenn, and because of her love of Beyonce. She has a vibrant personality, a love for design, and can even get you a discount on some shoes.


Why did you choose BGSU to study design?

My older sister Jessica was attending Bowling Green and she loved the school and the people. Also at that time, I was fairly new to the world of design after taking a Yearbook class in high school, I wasn’t very confident in my skills but I told myself if I passed the entrance portfolio review then I would attend BG and study design. I remember having a great review experience and meeting a few students who loved the program and I was quickly sold.


How did you get hired for your first job?

I can attribute getting hired at my first job to two things: The SWEAT Workshop and BEYONCE. Before the interview, the creative director asked me to fill out a questionnaire in Microsoft Word about my favorite superhero and why me and my super design skills should be a part of their team. I remember panicking because I don’t watch superhero movies so instead of just making up something, I decided to talk about my personal superhero, BEYONCE. Also, instead of typing it in Word, I designed a booklet outlining my love for Beyonce and why I should be hired. First slam dunk of the interview.

When I showed up, they had printed my booklet and the first thing they said was “GIRL, we love this and we love Beyonce”. Then we proceeded to talk about her for the next 20 minutes. We then talked about a few non-design related topics and the last question was “Since you’ve been out of school for 6 months, what have you been working on?” I once again panicked because I hadn’t worked on anything since school ended but I had recently attended The SWEAT Workshop with Amy and Jenn with the topic of Light. During the workshop, I focused my work on the issue of lightness versus darkness of skin tones within the black community and how they affect perceptions of beauty. For my final piece, I collected a spectrum of paint chips that resembled brown skin tones and changed their names to common phrases that are told to people with those tones. For example, I named a pale shade “What are you mixed with?”, a dark shade “You’re so beautiful for a dark-skin girl”, and a medium shade “You need to stay inside before you get dark”. Slam dunk number two of the interview. They were super interested in the topic and we chatted about that for the last 20 minutes of the interview. A week later, I was hired on as a junior designer and was told that our conversation about SWEAT was the determining factor because they liked my thought process which trumped my lack of real work experience.

Have a passion outside of design and when applying for that first job, make sure to sell yourself – being your thoughts and ideas. And when all else fails, talk about Beyonce.

I have since left this job and migrated to Charlotte, North Carolina to pursue my retail design dreams. Getting that job is an even crazier story that we’ll save for another day.

What is your favorite Beyonce song?

‘Upgrade You’ with a close second of the ‘Flawless Remix’


What is your favorite thing about your job?

My favorite thing about my current job at Off Broadway Shoes is definitely the hefty discount on shoes. Just kidding. Now, I am mainly designing email campaigns which has opened me up to working in the digital realm which is new and exciting for me. But my favorite part is helping to concept the look+feel for each seasonal campaign. From the photography style, to the in-store signage and emails, to the website and social media posts, I enjoy thinking about how the design translates across mediums. Ps. If you need a discount, holler.


What is the biggest difference between North Carolina and Ohio?

Crazy traffic and lots of BBQ.


How would you describe your design style?

My design style is what Beyonce would describe as flawless.


Interviewed by Erika Houser