Our third installment of our “Getting to Know” series profiles our Art Director, Stephanie Salerno (or known to us all as “Steph”). Find out what inspires her creativity and the piece of sage advice she’d give to the next generation of graphic designers.
Tell us a little bit about your role at Rizco.
As an art director and member of the design team, I am involved in conceptualizing and creating print and digital assets for our clients. More specifically, I design anything from brand and logo development, editorial layouts, annual reports, and printed brand collateral to websites, social media graphics, video, and more! In addition to designing, I also collaborate with the overall Rizco team to develop campaign ideas, help manage projects and client-relations on the design side, and lead Rizco’s technology research, education, and implementation. I have been with Rizco for four and a half years.
Describe your typical day.
My typical day starts with catching up on emails, reviewing my priority list, chatting with the team about projects, and running any routine web-maintenance tasks. From there, I like to dive in to project work. I prefer to first focus on small tasks that can be quickly accomplished such as a logo resize or helping prep a file for print and later move on to larger projects that may require days or weeks of work. Of course, fire drills can come in at any point, so my schedule is flexible to help the team accommodate rush requests.
What inspires you most?
Inspiration for me largely comes from the greatest user experience of all—nature! It is full of pattern, color, texture, hierarchy, beauty, mystery, etc. Nature helps drive me to come up with thoughtful solutions that in turn hopefully help to make the end-user’s experience more engaging and successful.
What was your favorite project or proudest moment?
Wow, hard question! As a highly empathetic person, my soul gets fed most by our non-profit work. Over the past few years, I have had the benefit of being able to work on two non-profit websites in particular—IEEE REACH and Thea’s Star of Hope—both of which support great causes. IEEE REACH is an educational resource that helps promote engineering history education in high school and middle school social studies or history classrooms. Thea’s Star of Hope is an organization dedicated to improving treatment for kids with brain tumors.
What is your favorite color?
Another hard question! I love color so much, but if I had to pick, it’s a tie between peacock blue and olive green.
What advice would you give to anyone choosing a career in graphic design?
Be prepared to learn everything and anything! To be the most successful, designers should be able to put themselves in the end-user’s shoes, fully understand the brands they work with, and know both the limitations that they are working against and how to creatively push or manipulate those parameters.
Where did you go to college? Major?
I graduated from Drexel University with a Bachelor of Science in graphic design.
Who or what inspired you to become a graphic designer?
I think I was born with an inherent desire to design, but it wasn’t until I was in middle school and started going to shows to see bands play that I thought, “This is what I really want to do.” All the album artwork, show flyers, band posters, and t-shirts were so cool that I needed to be a part of that creation process!
People would be surprised if they knew:
When I was 14, I started participating in animal rights causes, including going to a number of peaceful demonstrations and petitioning my school for plant-based lunch options or to provide alternatives to animal dissection.
“Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere.”—Carl Sagan
Have more questions for Steph? Email her: Steph@rizco.com.