Hello, my name is Melissa Morris. I enjoy long walks on the beach, all Apple computer products, and peanut butter flavored ice cream. My turn ons include shopping at AC Moore, hot glue guns, and retractable erasers. My turn offs include making logos bigger, pms 349, and Bikerfox.
On a more serious note, let's talk about hospice. Depressing? Uh, yeah, that's my life. I work as the inhouse designer for a pharmaceutical company that provides medication management to hospices around the country. My target audience? 50 year old hospice nurses. And according to my boss, they can't read anything smaller than 14 pt type. (oh, I am dead serious.) In my spare time, I try to actually do something creative. I went through a stint of making handmade cards. Here's a peek at that: http://www.melissahead.com/store.html But I think what I really need to do is finish my design website, http://www.melissahead.com/, and get myself some portfolio worthy design work!
When did you first decide to become a graphic designer/ illustrator? Was there a pivotal moment?
Absolutely. I went to college to be an elementary school teacher. One day, the summer before my sophomore year, I was a hostess at Applebee's and this young girl came up to me and told me all about her dance recital. After that conversation, I realized I didn't really like kids! So, I was in the market for a new major. I liked to write and I liked to draw. I went back and forth between journalism and design. The only thing that scared me about design was the fact that I hadn't taken an art class since 6th grade, so I felt like I'd be way behind. Turns out I wasn't. I've had no regrets since.
Who or what inspires you?
Great design inspires me. Paging through a CA design annual and thinking about all the things I could do to get myself to that level. And my design friends, of course. They not only inspire me, they actually help me to achieve my goals of bettering myself in my profession.
Where does your training come from? Self-taught? College/Art School?
Like I mentioned earlier, I was a design major in college. I got a BFA in design at The College of New Jersey. Not exactly known for its art program, but I still learned so much. Before that, I didn't have any training, other than elementary school "art" class. Since I was an only child, I had a lot of alone time growing up. Drawing was a way I occupied myself. I remember how I used to create "projects" for myself when I was little. After we got our first computer, I think I was 12 or so, I spent an entire day designing labels for my school books using Paintbrush. Much of what I've learned has been through trial and error....lots of errors.
How do you keep "fresh" within your industry?
The best thing I can do is observe. See what's going on in design books and magazines. See what my friends have been working on lately. Check out some interesting websites, much like this one!
What are some of your current projects?
Nothing good. Everyday it's the same at my job. Clean up someone's powerpoint or whip up some step down brochure in 2 hours. It's nothing that I would be proud of. Of course, the "outside of work" stuff that I'm working on will hopefully be much more fulfilling! I'm really trying to get back into sketching as much as I can. And you know, there's always that whole card-making thing which has sort of been on hold for now. I'm determined to build up my portfolio and since I'm not getting any portfolio-worthy work from my job, I need to create some projects.
Which of your projects are you the most proud of? And why?
I don't know if I've ever done anything I was really proud of. There were some school projects that I enjoyed, but nothing that I would be like, "Hey! You gotta see this!" about. I did this sketch a few days ago (and it's now my forum avatar), but I kind of like the way it turned out. Just something done quickly:
And the other day I made a few postcards. I just love sitting at a table with scissors, glue, ribbon and going to town. Sometimes I feel like I'm more of a "crafter" than a designer.
Are there any areas, techniques, mediums, projects in your field that you have yet to try?
Uh yeah, like everything! Anything not related to hospice! I'll tell ya, those pharmacists and nurses are nice and all, but they've got some ugly taste! I'd love to do something cool for once. Something modern. Something actually designed instead of thrown together. Something with an unlimited budget! ;-) One thing that I really want to try is screen printing. I don't know how to do it, or even how it works, but it seems like something I could have a lot of fun with.
Any advice to the novice designer/ illustrator?
Be humble. It hurts to get a critique sometimes, but people that have been in the business a while do know better than you...no matter what you may think! I'm still a novice, but when I look back even a few years I think to myself, oh god, why did I ever think it was a good idea to use that typeface!
What makes a designed piece or illustration successful?
When it gets the approval of other designers? Haha, just kidding. Actually, I'm not sure. This is one that I can't really explain. I can see if I like the way something looks, aesthetically, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's following proper design rules or anything. I hope to learn the answer to this question eventually. It could help me out.
What do you do to keep yourself motivated and avoid burn-out?
I can't avoid burn-out. In fact, I'm at that point right now. My solution has been to sketch, relax, get some alone time, find myself. It's almost impossible to not let work stress you out, and I need to learn to leave work at work. But I'm trying. I also try to think about my goals. There are places I'd like to be eventually. I won't give myself a timeline, but I'll tell you this, I'm not staying at this company forever!
And finally, what is the best thing on prime-time TV right now?
Hmm, tough call. Well, I'd have to say, as embarrassing as it is, I'm an OC addict. Watch that show once and you're hooked! But I'm a big fan of Scrubs and the Family Guy. Although while it's baseball season, I don't get much control of the remote.
- Amerikan Made Prints
- Art Buyer Magazine
- Art Order
- Association of Illustrators
- Cartoon Art Museum
- Cartoon Brew
- Design is Kinky
- Drawn and Quarterly
- Fantagraphics Books
- HOW Design
- Hi-Fructose Magazine
- ICON The Illustration Conference
- Illustration Class
- Illustration Friday
- Illustrators Illustrated
- Juxtapoz Magazine
- Lines and Colors
- National Cartoonists Society
- Plan 59
- Project: Rooftop
- Society of Illustrators
- Sugar Frosted Goodness
- Taught by a Pro
- Today's Inspiration
- UPPERCASE Magazine
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