As a graphic designer at KCAI, scrutinizing “everyday design” has become somewhat of a habit of mine. The world we live in is covered from head to toe in design. From street signs on the road, to the icons on my phone, a designer played a pivotal role. The ability to take a problem, and create a system specifically tailored to solving that problem, whether it be message, layout, or functionality, makes designers much more than type experts. KCAI designers are creative, problem solving, free thinkers, who push the boundaries of conventional design in favor of a more personal, meaningful approach.
Howdy, I’m Kelsey! The past three years in the KCAI design program have been ones of hard work and a lot of growth. Design is not meant to just bedazzle us, but act as visual communication and a solution to someone’s problems. I carry with me strong core values for creating meaningful, conceptual work that tells a story and identifies with the user. Empathy is key to creating lasting and deeper connections in any relationship, and I feel that this holds true in my design work. My favorite element to add to my designs is—where appropriate—a dash of humor!
What inspires me not only comes from various fancy design websites, but from all the little things that surround me. Whether it's the pattern in an iron gate or the gum on your shoe, there is inspiration to be found everywhere. The design skills I have acquired at the Kansas City Art Institute have allowed me to communicate visually and verbally, while being able to appeal to specific audiences. I enjoy the thought of educating, molding, and entertaining the masses through my creations. I strive to use my graphic design super powers for good and to conquer all challenges.
Design is a tool, an experience and has the potential for influence over any other form of communication. I am in favor of new experiences and will always be inspired by the unexpected. Because of my appreciation for painting and study, I approach design problems through the combination of research, writing, sketching and collaboration. Over the past four years at KCAI, I have had the opportunity to learn, listen and be surrounded by remarkable people through internships, classes and studio. During this time, I have developed interests in visual advocacy and design research as a method of creating meaningful connections as well as the psychology within visual identities and interactive experiences.
Since the beginning of my adventure at KCAI, I have developed a deep love for graphic design. I am usually a very shy person and graphic design has become the way I communicate with other people. To me it should be tasteful, innovative, and connect with the user(s). The real beauty in design is that it has the possibly of creating an emotional draw from people and a way of clarifying messages. I like to take inspiration through architecture, fashion, and art history. I love researching topics and finding Design solutions. I get really excited when I hear about how design is finding new ways into rich media; it makes me feel like I have a purpose in this world.
Design, in my eyes, embodies a system of interlocking and intercommunicating elements. It’s an active apparatus that extends beyond the screen, and engages the user on multiple levels. Before coming to Kansas City Art Institute, in my spare time I was nomadic, backpacking across the Ozark Mountains, commuting by bike, and repelling the occasional cliff-face. Design for mobile devices, environmental design, and the merging of information landscapes and both digital and physical worlds have pushed design into the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th dimensions. Working across many formats and platforms, my work is adaptable and ever changing. If you are looking for an identity, a voice, or a new channel to reach an audience, I’d love to work with you.
For me, design is all about finding solutions for complex problem. It is all about being able to solve problems with multiple solutions. I like approaching design with a clean slate, providing a place to conform yet expand according to the challenges. My experiences in this area of study, from school to internships, have taught me to study and research each challenge thoroughly before jumping into solution making. Artifacts cannot just look good; they also have to be informed. I draw inspiration from various blogs and a wide range of designers. I am most intrigued by type driven, simple, clever designs. When I design, I will start producing once inspiration hits, or when I absolutely cannot wait anymore.
Growing up I wasn't even aware of what graphic design was. I was more concerned with wanting to become a veterinarian or in high school, a fashion photographer. With that being said, I'm glad I found my true passion through learning and developing at KCAI. Over the past three years I've learned to embrace things that I've always enjoyed, such as: narrative, rhetoric, pattern, photography and details. I just didn't know I could deal with them all at once in graphic design. I like to think of myself as a hands-on type of girl, so analog process has always attracted me. Graphic design is a tool to be used to help people communicate better in an effective and beautiful way.
Design is the art of persuasion and a trillion other fantastic things. I value the ability of fearless exploration and creativity. The worst enemies to creativity are self-doubt and the fear of failure. Through my time at KCAI I have come to appreciate the invaluable tools of design: the importance of design research, the value of critical thinking and collaboration, and all the abilities to make impactful, positive change in the world. Design is changing. I intend to be a part of that change by helping to discover brilliant new innovations and the freshest of ideas. That's something to live for.
The way I approach my design is pretty simple. I believe myself to be a very organized thinker. With that being said, if my process could be put into steps, it’d look a little like this: Question/Problem > Research > Experiment > Create > Solutions. Given the opportunity to study abroad at the University of Brighton, I was able to fulfill my love for traveling and submerse myself in a different culture. My travel has also inspired my designs and love for communicating with people. Coming back to Kansas City, I continued my internship at Liquid 9. Interning really opened my eyes and got me ready for what the world has to offer. Let’s do this.
I love suspenders too much, I’m OCD, and definitely have self-diagnosed ADHD. I constantly work in photoshop at 3200% getting everything lined up to the pixel, and I definitely don’t trust “snap to point” completely. I nitpick details and though it annoys some, it’s how I’ve always worked so I’m not changing now. This strive for “perfect” craft also influences how I think. Graphic design is about the clarity and understanding of information, so I’m totally team “form follows function.” Design is dictated by the audience, and a successfully tailored experience can only be created once the audience is thoroughly understood. Design for your audience, slap a pair of suspenders on it, and call it a day.
I’m an individual that sees beyond the layers of information and implements this knowledge in various design solutions that can take any form from print to digital. Through my four years at KCAI I have explored the concept of layers through analog, digital and organizing these layers of information through systems. My love for print and identity development is an ongoing passion but through my current internship at Propaganda 3 I have been able to learn and understand interactive design and user experience and my role as a designer in creating an effortless experience for the user. With my designs I’m able to inform various audiences.
Design as a channel of communication is a translation of information to visual form. At KCAI Graphic Design, we have developed our abilities to understand, connect with, and reflect our audiences through the work we produce. Forward thinking ideas and innovation keep our solutions relevant as well as beautiful. The diversity of twelve minds can form innumerable answers to a single question. Through a variety of processes, we develop our skills and create design solutions to answer all sorts of challenges—in form.
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