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Being a graphic design major at West Chester

Junior graphic design major Kelsey Mountford sits down with me to walk me through what it’s like being an Art and Design student at West Chester University and her first major project with Costco.

My name is…
“Kelsey Mountford.”

I grew up in…
“South Jersey, so [I’m] not really from around here. I went to high school in Washington Township. I feel like not a lot of people know what that is.”

What brought me to West Chester…
“Well, they have a club gymnastics team and that was one of the reasons I came here. So once I got into the program I was set. This was where I was going!”

My major is…
“BFA in Graphic Design and I’m minoring in Art History. I’m graduating in Spring 2020.”

What drew me in about graphic design…
“I took a photography class and I was really into that, so [graphic design] was kind of a buildup from what we had done in there. Once I took the graphics I was like, ‘this is really fun, I can really see myself doing this.’ I took [graphic design] for two years.”

Some of my earliest projects…
“These are so bad,” she laughs. “So, we made candy boxes, cereal boxes, ads for restaurants, soda can design, all the basic stuff in high school. Last year we made book covers, we did a long list of type. Then, we did stamps and I don’t even really remember.”

I asked, “Do you look back at some of your old work and notice a big difference? I notice a big difference in my work from then to now.”

What a project looks like from start to finish…
“I can never think of an idea for the life of me. That’s the hardest part. But once I have an idea, I can put it on the computer and it’s easier to render it on the computer than having to draw it. So that’s always the hardest part.”

She continues, “I usually use Illustrator but sometimes Photoshop, not as much, but I will still use it. I sometimes use photos. It all really depends on what the project is, if you have to have photography, I will, but other than that it’s a lot of hand drawn sketches.”

My most exciting moment as a graphic designer…
“I did a design for a cookie box that is being sold in Costco. I had an internship for my first two summers in college at Vantage Sales and Marketing in South Jersey. They produce food and chocolate and things like that. Costco was one of their clients and needed a design so it was between me and an actual designer there. They had me do three designs and had him do three designs so we both did three and they ended up picking mine over his, which is crazy because he’s been working there forever and I was there for two summers. They produced another piece of mine the year before, but it wasn’t as big as this one. It’s actually out in the stores now and I went a few weeks ago and I didn’t even know it was there and my mom pointed it out. It was so cool. I was told in high school I wasn’t going to make it in this field and now look where I am!”

This semester I’m…
“In Graphic Design 3, visual branding and interactive design.”

As a graphic designer at West Chester…
“I’ve grown a lot since I’ve got here. I’ve learned so much, it’s just really the perfect fit for me. I tell my parents all the time I’m so glad I’m here. I’ve had so many opportunities, it’s amazing. We have a lot of times where you put your art on the wall and then the whole class critiques you and helps you go through it so it isn’t just your eyes on it. At first it was really intimidating, but by now we are getting into smaller classes so it isn’t as bad. We mostly know each other now. In the beginning we would have to stand up there by ourselves without artwork; it was horrible.”

She continues, looking to the future of her graphic design career, “After graduation, I don’t know what type of graphic design I want to do yet. I just know I want a job as soon as I get out of college. I just want to see what I get offered and plan around that. Still trying to figure it out.”

Rachel Spurlock is a third-year student majoring in communication studies with a minor in journalism. RS874054@wcupa.edu

1 Comment

  • It’s a great achievement for anyone to have their design be display at a major groceries store, and the fact that she still hasn’t even graduated allows her to put her best foot forward and add this to her portfolio. She has a bright future ahead of her.

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