Best Job Hunting Advice: Cyber-Stalk Amazing Companies
Following your favorite agencies and design firms on social media is a great way to get a feel for their culture, their values and their job postings.
Carter Tindall at her desk at Principle. In the background are (from right) her co-workers Drake Preston and Jackson Mahlke.
There is often a fascinating story behind the pursuit of a creative career. I caught up with Carter Tindall, recent Miami Ad School @ Portfolio Center graduate, in Houston, Texas, where she is a Junior Designer with the design firm Principle.
"Funny story. I distinctly remember sitting on the floor in Hank's office one night after dinner, perusing shelves of his books. Sarah, Anna and I were asking Hank about where he might see us working in the future. Hank said that he could picture me living in Texas. I said “Ew, no way!” I had never set foot in Texas. But then Hank pulled out this delicate little card with the most impeccable typesetting I'd ever seen on it. It had a pecan pie on it too. Hank told me a little company in Texas designed it. From that point forward, I always kept Principle in the back of my mind, keeping tabs on their website for inspiration, and of course, always striving to emulate their beautiful typography. So, fast forward to two weeks before graduation—it all happened so fast! Principle posted a job opening on Instagram. It became a blur after that—from putting the finishing touches on my projects to have them photographed, and crafting my final portfolio and website. Then a Skype interview on graduation day. Needless to say, I didn’t sleep much! As I was driving to school for graduation, I received a phone call from the head of Principle, Ally Lack (also a graduate of Portfolio Center). Everything came together in one fell swoop—my portfolio was complete! I was graduating! My entire family was in town! I had landed my dream job!"
Hank Richardson: Lets start off with an easy question. What were you doing before you came to Portfolio Center?
Carter Tindall: I grew up in Asheville, North Carolina and attended Wofford College, where I studied English and had minors in business and studio art. The summer before my first quarter at Portfolio Center, I had two internships in Atlanta, one with a marketing company and the other an event planning company.
HR: How did you find Miami Ad School @ Portfolio Center?
CT: At Wofford, each student has the opportunity to spend the month of January on an interim—traveling, participating in an internship, or taking a class on campus. My senior year, I interned with my cousin, Leah Moore, a graphic designer in Atlanta and a Miami Ad School @ Portfolio Center alum. Our primary goal was to build a website for my grandfather, artist Sidney Guberman. I also assisted with client projects, creating print and digital pieces, and experimenting with digital photography. Before this experience, I was anxious about what I was going to do after graduation, and unsure of the direction my English degree would lead me.
As the month came to a close, graphic design was something I wanted to consider as a career. Leah told me about her experience at Miami Ad School @ Portfolio Center, and we took a quick drive to Bennett Street for a visit. I met with you and, well, the rest is history.
HR: What's your favorite piece in your student portfolio? What makes it so special?
CT: The project I am most proud of is Frank’s Full Service. The assignment was to create a corporate identity, which seemed vague, but full of possibilities. I knew I wanted to do something totally out of my comfort zone that stood out amongst my other projects. Frank’s celebrates bright colors, bold typography, unique iconography, and an extensive set of collateral. Named after my dad, Frank’s is a full-service gas station that prioritizes quality workmanship and friendly service. The mission is to remind people of the past, and fuel them for the future. Whether you need gas, service, or refreshments, Frank’s Full Service will help you refuel.
Carter's branding project for Frank's Full Service
My whiskey branding project, Highwire, is another one I am very proud of. It started with a pencil in hand, paper and a love of sketching, and learning the intricacies of Victorian Lettering. This was followed by many, many more sketches. In the end, all the hard work had paid off. This is why I came to Miami Ad School @ Portfolio Center.
Carter's Gold Graphis New Talent Annual-Winning package design for Highwire Scotch Whiskey
HR: So, tell me about a favorite teacher. What influence did they have on you?
CT: Hank, it was you. You helped me discover my values, and taught me how to showcase them through my unique visual aesthetic.
Principle staff (Left) clockwise from top: Jackson Mahlke, Drake Preston, Ina Riley, Carter Tindall, Elizabeth Kelley, Erin O' Connor and Allyson Lack. Right: Carter participates in a very theatrical "voice of type" exercise in her first quarter at Portfolio Center.
HR: What did you see as a shift from a Portfolio Center student to being a design professional in the weeks following graduation and starting as junior designer.
CT: Everything happens so fast in real life. You have to keep the over-analyzation to a minimum. Oh yeah, and there are clients. They usually have opinions.
HR: Tell us about your job as a designer? What are the most important skills you use in your job. Describe what you do there… what kinds of things do you work on. What’s your day look like?
CT: Principle is a small, tight-knit company, it’s all-hands-on-deck for most projects. I have the opportunity, even as a junior designer, to design materials for our best clients, and I play an important role in the identity creation process for new clients. The creative process at Principle is much like the structure at Miami Ad School @ Portfolio Center. We start with pencil and paper, and move to digital once we have narrowed our focus.