Hello there. My name is Kelsey Hanson. I’m from the teeny tiny town, excuse me, village of Beverly, Ohio. As I was growing up I thought I would be many things including an artist or a zookeeper, but I could not have guessed that I would become a graphic designer.
Back when I first started to think about my career, I had had sort of an on-again off-again relationship with the idea of becoming an artist. I mean I liked art class, but I wasn’t the typical doodling, sketching kid destined for art school that you see in the movies. It also didn’t help that most people I knew didn’t believe that I could be successful in art.
Despite the lack of confidence in my choices from almost everyone I knew, by the end of high school I had decided that I would go to the Columbus College of Art & Design and become an artist, but I didn’t receive enough financial aid so I postponed my dream and went to the local community college where I met an inspiring young professor who changed my life forever.
One class. It took me one class to decide that I would definitely pursue art in college. I took a chance on a drawing class to see if there was anything there for me and I am so happy that I took that chance. The class instantly diminished any shred of vanity I had for my work because I realized that I did not know how to draw at all. I became obsessed with the class, a rarity for me. Never had I been so engaged or so deeply interested in my academics before taking this class. I kept taking art classes for two years there, which led to my transfer to Ohio University.
When I transferred to Ohio University I wanted to take a graphic design course to explore my options in the art school. I met yet another influential professor in my first class. She had me diving headfirst into the design world and the rest is history. I graduated from OHIO with a degree in design and I was off to my first internship with GNGF in Cincinnati where I’ve been learning more about digital design than I ever touched in school.
After all of these experiences, I think what really intrigues me about design is the structure of it. Every decision a designer makes is intentional. Nothing is arbitrarily decided, at least not in theory. Art by itself lacked the structure that I needed and design was the perfect marriage of my critical thinking skills and my desire to create.
I believe I have a unique perspective in design that has been influenced by my immersion in traditional artistic practices as well as my program’s insistence to teach design with an emphasis on analog techniques. I have learned that design is a thinking process more than anything. I have a knack for typography and I firmly believe that color should be one of the first things considered when taking on a new project. For me, thumbnail sketches and research early in the design process are must-haves.
Lastly, I want to explain what I mean when I call myself malleable and curious. I label myself curious because 1) curiosity led me to be a designer and 2) I am always willing to learn more about design or any subject for that matter. I label myself malleable because 1) I am highly adaptable and 2) I do not assume that I am always right, allowing my opinions and decisions to change. These concepts are a lethal pair. I am willing to do new things and if I don’t have the required skills, I can learn them quickly. I am hungry for knowledge and I can be molded to fit any role.