Today, we are joined by Cori Stuhlmiller .she is a Graphic Designer  You can view her portfolio here.

  • What are some favorite projects you’ve completed and why?

So far, TRANCE has been my favorite project I have completed. TRANCE was a self-initiated project I worked on last semester, spring 2014. I collaborated with one of my best friends, Kaley Madden, who had been a senior fashion design student working on her final collection for thesis. At my school, we are required to alternate semesters of full-time classes with semesters of full-time internships (co-op). I opted out of taking the usual co-op opportunity and decided to pursue my own interests. Both Jessica Walsh and Tony Brook were two designers that influenced my decision to seek self-driven work.
TRANCE was an opportunity to work on experiential fashion branding. Looking at the big picture of a brand is the most thrilling and challenging part of the process. Creating just a logo or mark to me isn’t why I’m interested in branding; it’s the concept and strategy behind the visuals. This is why TRANCE is my favorite piece. The concept driving TRANCE was an investigation into the relationship between the chaos of existence and the process of healing. Once you become aware of the chaos, internally or externally, you can start to heal. The complexity, strategy, and process were very rewarding in the end. The outcome was important, but learning from experimenting exposes you to new ways of thinking, working, and pushes you as a designer.
One of my other favorite projects was the Book of Chaos, which stemmed from my research phase of TRANCE. Since the project revolved around the idea of chaos I needed to understand the different types of chaos. I researched how it is portrayed in mathematics, mythology, theology, art, nature, and in my own life. This is what led me to ask how others perceived the word chaos. It was amazing to see how people responded to a prompt I created. I asked for people’s perspective on what chaos meant to them. They had to send me in a visual (photograph, painting, drawing, etc.) that was original to them or someone they knew along with a description. Every entry was a unique. This piece is exciting not because of the final design, but because of the deeper understanding and appreciation I have for the people surrounding me in my life.

  • Tell us about your graphic design education. How did you decide to study graphic design?

I am currently a fifth year graphic communication design student at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP). The unique advantage of this program is the integration of co-op. Every other semester since my sophomore year, I seek out a company/studio to work as a full-time intern. These experiences have led to making incredible connections and learning from very talented creatives. Now having worked for a few different companies, I’ve started to grasp where I want to head as a designer and what types of projects and environments I feel I would thrive in.
I didn’t have an interest in pursuing a graphic design career until my junior year of high school. The combination of my interests in fine art and magazines is what led me to graphic design. When I started college, I thought I wanted to work towards becoming an art director. Best-case scenario: an editor for an art and/or fashion magazine. Now having been through four years of design school, I have been open to many more possibilities in regards to where I want to be after graduation.

  • In retrospect, what do you know now that you wish you knew before you pursued your graphic design education?

I wish I had experimented and become more familiar with the programs designers use (Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, AfterEffects, etc.) earlier on. Coming into college, I would have felt less restrained from my technical abilities. To this day, I still struggle with balancing where I’m at technically compared to where I’m at conceptually.

  • How can prospective graphic design students assess their skill and aptitude?

I believe looking at other designer’s work, especially other student work, will help students to see where they stand. There will always be people who stand out with incredible work, which will help motivate prospective students to always be pushing themselves as designers. I think it’s not only important to look at others work for motivation, but to stay relevant and ahead.

  • What other advice can you give to prospective students thinking about an education and career in graphic design?

If you get the chance, travel to as many shows held by different universities showing the student work. This will help you to make the right decision on where you want to pursue your education. There are a lot of design schools with very different goals and aesthetics. The more obvious comparison is some universities seem more inspired by fine art whereas others take a more = strategic/scientific approach in communication design. Seeing and talking with other students at the universities will also give you a better understanding of the career path you are following.