New & Noteworthy

Design Students Get View of the “Other Side”

April 10, 2015


Ferris Graphic Design seniors heard from Mike Carnevale, principal of Carnevale Interactive Design, on March 24, 2015. Just a few months before their graduation, the students were eager to hear about what employers are looking for from young designers.

Carnevale explained to the students how the “other side” of an agency works—the business side, which as a lot more to do with income and expenses than design work itself. Carnevale went on to describe how he chooses people to join his staff.

When asked about the qualities he looks for in a potential team member during a portfolio review, Carnevale said, “We’re not just looking at the pictures. We want to get a sense of the person.” Especially in a smaller studio, he said, the personalities of the designers are just as, if not more, important than their skills. “I’d rather hire a solid designer with a great personality, than an out-of-this world designer with a personality that wouldn’t fit our studio.”

Connecting the application process to the “other side,” Carnevale encouraged the students quickly to make the switch from being students to being effective employees. He credits his team of designers as being connected and able to collaborate effectively. Design done well starts with hiring the right people and can only continue if, he said, the business side of the equation is taken care of as well.

Reflecting on the presentation, senior Ashley Fryling said, “I learned quite a bit on an employer’s perspective when hiring, and a lot about what steps I can take to be as hirable as possible. It was a great experience hearing from one of the most prominent designers in the Grand Rapids area.” Senior Emily Lueken added, “It was very refreshing getting so much good advice and knowing that employers are aware of our newly formed skills.”