Elijah Carrington is a Junior attending Robert Morris University in Moon, PA. He is pursuing BFA in Media Arts with a Concentration in Graphic Design.

Q) How did you first get interested in the graphic arts?

A) In high school, I was introduced to graphic design through an intro class that focused on photo manipulation in Adobe Photoshop. I took the class because it looked fun and easy, with the thought that I would eventually pursue an architectural degree. After taking drafting classes and comparing it to the design classes I was taking simultaneously, design appeared to be better avenue to pursue. Ignoring the warnings of low pay and other industry woes, I decided to major in Media Arts with a concentration in Graphic Design at RMU. It was a great decision, as I am currently working as a remote designer throughout school, and have plans to continue integrating my design education with self-taught coding capabilities.

Q) Did you take any courses in high school that were related to graphic communications, or that prepared you for your planned career and what are you studying now?

A) I took Intro to Graphic Design and then continued with GD 2 & 3. In college I am taking a variety of Media Arts, Studio, Printmaking, Visual Arts/Communications, Color, Design, Typography, Web design, Digital, Production for the Designer, etc.

Q) Is there a particular area of the graphic communications field that is of special interest to you as you consider where you want to focus your future career on?

A) I am currently focused on graphic design for print and web. I create raster and vector graphics for a variety of mediums, including, but not limited to: PowerPoints, brochures, labels, web ads, mag ads, booklets, business proposal covers, and informational videos. I am hoping to branch out into design & development, and have already launched Boldest on the App Store. Boldest is an app that started as an idea within a business plan, and turned into a full-fledged product after sketching, creating mockups/wireframes, and coding UI/front-end. I am going to focus on creating another app before I graduate because it is a great way to showcase a multifaceted skill set.

Looking to the Future

Q) What type of company would you like to work for after you graduate?

A) Startups are versatile and look like great environments to start out in. I am also looking for professional design firms that would give me the experience to start out on my own, after a few years in the industry.

Q) What do you think employers are looking for in today’s workforce and current industry environment?

A) Drive & determination, a broad skill set, the ability to follow instructions and deliver on time, and leadership skills. Employers that are looking for the best employees want to see an inner drive to persist and stick to projects. Skills can be taught, but there must also be cognitive ability to adapt and learn on the spot. The current industry environment is fast-paced with a high turnover rate and little emphasis on pensions. This is especially in the case study of Amazon’s white-collar, overworked employees. They work
80-hour weeks due to the pressure and strain from high-performance. Soon an industry norm, millennials
have the ability to reduce social life to appease a company because of increasing student debt and less
focus on purchasing big-ticket items, such as homes.

Q) Is there anything that you have found to be particularly different from what you initially expected now that you’ve progressed through your education process?

A) The educational process is most beneficial if you are fully invested in the topic being taught. I learn a lot more when I have taken an interest, or have applied what is being learned to a personal project. Combining information from two distinct classes can have an impact on interest. I expected learning about design to be fun and interesting, and there have been great instances of that. We have had field experience, talks from designers from Pittsburgh, the opportunity to explore museums, and plenty of time to design on the computer. I love drawing/sketching, painting and analog forms of expression, but my focus is on digital art forms, and the relation tied between on-screen design and print.

Q) Have you changed your plans or ideas about what area or type of job you might like to have since you first considered the graphic communications field and began studying for a career in it?

A) I have slightly changed my plans to include working for smaller startups because I love the type of work that can be created by smaller teams. Employees have the ability to expand beyond their normal, daily
responsibilities to contribute to the growth of a startup in a rapidly shifting marketplace.

Q) Has being a recipient of a PGSF scholarship made a difference in your education, and if so, how?

A) PGSF has provided me with the tools to start and continue my education at Robert Morris University. Whether it was assisting in the purchase of educational materials, such as books, or artistic supplies, PGSF has made a great difference in my education.

Q) Anything else that you would like to add?

A) I am currently studying abroad in London, England for my second semester of Junior year. It is a great opportunity to explore European countries and gather insight into maturity and individualism. This is also my first travel abroad experience, outside of the United States.