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I am a graphic designer at the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Smithsonian’s museums of Asian art. I design visual displays for exhibitions, which means that I decide how the text will look and what colors and other visual elements will be used to highlight the objects. I also design the museums’ monthly calendar and other printed materials, such as invitations, brochures, posters, and books. I use a computer and variety of programs to organize images and text into files that are then sent to large printers to be produced.
My projects sometimes can be completed in a day, or they may take as long as a year. To arrive at a final design, I often create lots of possibilities for just one project. My colleagues then help me choose the best one and offer suggestions on how I might make improvements. It is a terrific experience working in a museum. I love seeing wonderful art everyday and finding ways to present it to others in a harmonious way. I get to work with great color, images, and words to create something new.
I had the chance to work on an exhibition and its accompanying publication—at the same time. The subject matter was ancient bronze sculptures from Cambodia. I worked with photographs of the objects for months and months to complete the book before the exhibition opened. When the sculptures finally arrived, I was blown away. Some of them were larger or smaller then I had imagined, but all of them were so much more beautiful in person. And the finished book won first-prize in a museum publications design competition.
Be an idea and image collector. Keep clippings of images, color palettes, and patterns that inspire you. Then draw from these examples to when you need to ignite your imagination.
Arts and crafts are a big part of Girl Scouts. You are the designer of every project you work on with your troop. I also think my exposure to different cultures during Thinking Day opened my eyes to the art and heritage all over the world, particularly in Asia.