We’re excited to announce that we’re starting a new monthly series on the blog as a chance for you to get to meet the artist a little better. We are so lucky to work with such talented and creative minds, and we think it’s time for you to meet them! We’re kicking things off with designer Michelle Berki. Michelle is a super-talented designer who is responsible for all the artwork you see on our blog every week. We hope you enjoy her Q&A!
When did you first realize you are an artist?
I’ve wanted to be an artist as far back as I can remember, and I’m pretty sure I thought of myself as one for a long time. However, I think I first started to believe that I could make a living creating and designing after my first few graphic design classes in college. I had found something that was challenging and rewarding at the same time, and I knew that this is what I wanted to do in life.
What is your position at American Greetings and what is your background as an artist?
I am a designer for the digital greetings department at American Greetings where I help create content for americangreetings.com. I also have a lot of fun putting together all of the images for this blog – Inspired!
Could you tell us some more about your work?
You can actually take a look at my portfolio at http://www.michelleberki.com, and see some of it for yourself. I believe that design can bring people and ideas together, help us focus on what’s really important, and create positive change.
What is it that inspires you when creating a particular design or graphic piece?
The problem or project itself usually drives my inspiration. Designers are out to solve problems, so once it is defined I try to sketch out some initial ideas, do a little research (if necessary), and see what’s already out there.
What’s your favorite piece you ever created and why?
My pride and joy is the “Discuss Great Literature” project that I started in my Studio II class in college. My objective was to create a set of contemporary classics that would ideally be sold in bookstores and marketed toward book discussion groups. I believe that reading is important and the ideas found in books like Catch-22, A Clockwork Orange, Catcher in the Rye, and The Metamorphosis should be heard and talked about. It was such an amazing challenge to create images for the covers that became visual metaphors for the themes present in each book, but it was also extremely satisfying when the finished product came together. I hope to continue this project and develop more components such as an app or website to help it become a reality.
What famous artists or graphic designers have influenced you?
I think that everything I’ve ever seen and every experience I’ve had has influenced me as a designer, but there are definitely people that I look up to in the art and design world. I am really interested in book jacket design, so naturally Chip Kidd and Peter Mendelsund come to mind as two of my design heroes.
What inspires you to create your designs and how do you stay motivated?
I think it’s important to be aware of trends and successful design that’s out there because this can be a great source of inspiration. It’s also really important to take walks and give yourself time away from the task at hand because even though it’s clichéd, I usually get my best ideas in the shower or right before bed! I think another big motivating factor is the opportunity to improve and solve a design problem in a new way that maybe no one has thought of before.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In 10 years, I would love to be working on book covers and interiors for a well-known publisher such as Random House, Penguin, or Chronicle Books. However, I think I would be happy at any studio that creates great, purpose-driven design and isn’t afraid of big ideas.
What advice would you give to an artist just starting out?
I think I would tell them that it’s not always easy for creatives in the beginning. There’s not just one path that leads to your dream job, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t get it right away. It is important to be persistent. Don’t give up. Apply for everything and take advantage of every opportunity because all of these life experiences will only make you better.
What do you do for fun?
Other than eating and sleeping, I think I have the most fun when I’m creating and/or hanging out with good friends.