What we do isn’t about following the rules. It’s not about playing it safe. It’s about who we are – and you don’t need auto-tune when you’ve got genuine, rock star talent (but without the attitude, infighting and bad fashion sense). Every person at The James Agency brings his or her own unique genius and personality to every project we do. When you put us all together, you have pure awesomeness.
Get to know TJA’s graphic designer, Hanna Burks!
What college did you graduate from? Major?
Southern Adventist University in Chattanooga, TN.
B.S. in Graphic Design with an emphasis in print design.
Where did you grow up?
Born and raised in the 602! (Phoenix)
What got you interested in the marketing/advertising agency?
I’ve always loved drawing and have been obsessed with handwriting since before I can remember. I was first introduced to graphic design and good advertising design my senior year of high school when my dad brought home a communication arts magazine for me. One look and I was hooked. I spent hours pouring over the beautiful packaging, ad layouts and hand-lettered campaign designs. I couldn’t believe that someone could have such a cool job. That day, I decided that I was going to become a graphic designer. And here I am— insanely happy to be able to obsess over the details and problem solve on a daily basis.
What are some challenges you face in your role at TJA?
One of the challenges that I’m faced with at TJA is working under time constraints to complete projects for clients. That was probably one of the most difficult things for me transitioning from school to an in-house design position to the agency world. I had never really kept track of the time I was spending on projects so it was a big eye-opener for me. I enjoy the challenge, though, and have learned a lot about improving my work flow to be as efficient as possible.
What success have you had in your role at TJA?
I’ve learned so much during my two years as a designer at TJA. With my degree program being primarily print focused, I honestly didn’t have much experience designing for web. A little here, a little there, but nothing major. Since being at TJA, I’ve had the opportunity to expand my knowledge base and feel comfortable designing websites, animated and interactive banner ads, emails and other web graphics. I count this knowledge as a huge success because this industry is all about learning new things and keeping up with industry trends.
What is your favorite part about your job?
I love being surrounded by such a talented and hilarious group of friends every day! The raw talent that this entire team exudes is such an inspiration to me. It makes me strive to be a better designer. The camaraderie, collaboration, conversation and creativity that live in this office make coming to work so fun.
What do you know now that you wish you knew at the start of your career?
Oh, man. I feel like I know so much more now than when I first started at TJA. I love working at an agency and in an industry where I can learn something new every day. I guess I wish I would have known how much digital designing I would be doing. I don’t think I was quite prepared for that, but I am extremely grateful that working at TJA has allowed me to become a more versatile designer.
What are some tools you use everyday that are specific to your role at TJA?
Besides the obvious (computer, Adobe Creative Suite, mouse, etc.), I always have a notebook and pen handy to jot down ideas and scribble out scribbles. You never know when an idea is going to strike, so you have to be ready. I also read (and drool over) a number of design blogs regularly to keep up with industry standards and to get inspired.
What’s trending now in your department? What do you see happening in the future?
Digital and interactive mediums are becoming increasingly more popular forms of brand expression. People are becoming more and more drawn to art and advertisements that move and are interactive. Websites designed almost exclusively for mobile are pretty much the norm now. Technology and advertising standards are constantly evolving. And it’s awesome. It’s extremely important that we stay educated so we can continue to offer innovative solutions for our clients.
What kind of work were you doing prior to TJA?
Before coming to TJA I worked as a seasonal designer for the Fiesta Bowl.
What would you tell someone who wants to start a career as a graphic designer?
Graphic design is such a fun and rewarding career. I like to think of it as a form of practical artistic expression. If you enjoy problem solving and coming up with solutions that will give the end user the most enjoyable experience, then go for it! A few of my personal mantras when it comes to how I think about my budding career as a designer: Teamwork makes the dream work. Ask questions. Be friendly and polite to clients and coworkers. If you get stuck (and you will get stuck), get help. Pay attention to the little things. Go the extra mile. Design with passion. Coffee is the most important meal of the day. If you have an idea, share it! Exercise your creative muscles daily. Always do your best.