Over the past week, our social media and community engagement intern, Reynna, has been conducting interviews with various Astute team members. To wrap up the week, she sat down with our digital content and design specialist, Stevie, and our art director, Shane, to talk about all things creative and design. They discuss their favorite parts of the job, obstacles they face in their specialty, the importance of teamwork, and the ins and outs of the design process. Check out the interview to get the inside scoop of a day in the life of a creative specialist!



What is your favorite design aspect of the job?


Stevie: I’m going to say the ability to be creative–and in any kind of way. Kind of just being like, “Oh, if I have an idea, I can execute it!” Like, “Hey, I have an idea for something that I want to try out. Not sure if it’s going to work, but let’s try it!” And then there’s always some wiggle room to figure it out and experiment, so there’s a lot of flow with it. 

Shane: Yeah, and being able to have someone to bounce ideas off of is super helpful. Like, you get to see things that, maybe before, you wouldn’t have seen, and that’s great. 

Stevie: Yeah, that’s a huge part. And being able to be like, “Oh, maybe you’ll see things that I haven’t even thought of.” And I bring everything to you [Shane] for a second opinion.

Shane: And it’s great to have someone to bounce ideas off of and just to have somebody else around to say, “Hey what do you think of this? Is this crazy or is this great?”

Stevie: And not feeling like I’m ever being harsh. If you say something is not working, I’ll be like, “Cool, okay, what else can I do or fix?” There’s never any hesitation there, it’s always constructive criticism, which is super helpful at times. So it’s great. 


Since you mentioned how you like to work off each other, what is your favorite design aspect you like to collaborate on? 


Stevie: Well not even just us together, but even the content team. Like having Lily write all the calendars and having her write the ideas too, and then taking that and being able to make those ideas come to life visually, through her writing, is really interesting. And then seeing that process go from strictly that written content stage, to the visual stage, to the refinement. So its basically like seeing the transfer from one person’s hand, to the next, to the final stage. Like watching it come to life through the process. 

Shane: Yeah I think that’s great, I totally agree. That’s always the fun thing: To see the idea fully fulfilled and, like, in real life, because sometimes things don’t work out the way you thought they would initially, but then you work through it. And to see those ideas come to life in a real way and to say, “Oh some things worked out the way I thought they would and some things had to change along the way, but we got there.”

Stevie: Yeah and even seeing from the drawing stage of us doing small doodles of stuff all the way to this is what it’s going to look like completely branded, completely in the final stage, ready to hand off to a client, all from a tiny thumbnail. Like a beginning-to-end transformation.


What are some techniques you use to develop unique content that really makes an impression for our clients?


Shane: For me, the thing that I always do is really making sure things are tight and nice. I use grids for everything to make sure everything is always lined up and even spacing between things. And even setting a hierarchy of type so you always know what you’re looking at and what is next so you’re always following the way down or around the page, or however you need to get someone to pay attention to something.

Stevie: And so many rounds of revisions. And I think we do a really good job of having multiple eyes look at something before we deliver it to the client and getting it to that final stage. It goes through so many processes of being refined and I think we do a great job of that in order to make it perfect. 

Shane: And it kind of goes back to the beginning of us bouncing ideas off of each other, like, that’s creating something that you know I may not have created myself…like had Stevie not looked at it and been like what about this? It’s a big team effort.


What are some obstacles you’ve had to overcome in your design career so far? 


Stevie: I would say like one thing that designers are notorious for is being super organized and analytical about everything. Sometimes, in my art, I’ll just be like, “Oh whatever.” Like, being really free form and organic with stuff, and then I’ll have to draw back and be like, “Okay…I have to think about what I’m designing this for, and it might not be for this project.” Like, using my personal style versus what might be a stronger style for that client, but still keeping my style or technique in it. That’s hard for me sometimes. I really have to think about the client in mind. 

Shane: Time management. Like, knowing when to call something done or done enough to be like, “Okay, this is at least at a place where I can start showing people what this looks like,” and not spending 20 hours on something.


Do you ever find yourselves just wanting something to be so perfect that you have to just cut it off?


Stevie: For sure! And sometimes it takes an external person to be like, “Step away from the laptop!” And I’m like, “Ahhh!”

Shane: And deadlines play a huge role–like knowing something has to be done by that day regardless of how you feel about it. Like, you’ve gotten to a place where it’s done enough for that. 


Fun question: What is your favorite thing to do in your free time and why?


Shane: I play with my puppy and do a lot of housework and gardening.

Stevie: Sometimes I’ll sit at home and plan trips to the fullest, or I really like going to gardening places…It’s really relaxing. I also really enjoy just chilling at home with a cup of tea.