Devin Romeo is a young graphic designer who works for a sports social media website called Sports 195. He has recently started working on web design for this site and we talked to him about the experience of working an entry level design job.
Creative Interns: What are your responsibilities as an entry-level designer?
Devin Romeo: I am responsible for designing parts of the website, which can include anything from what a news module looks like, to a UI element, to an intro page. It can be anything that involves that website. And a part of me does print designs for a co-brand we have. I also design brochures and pamphlets, so I kind of do everything.
CI: How did you come to work at Sports 195?
DR: I actually looked it up on Monster. At the time I was primarily a print designer but I had just finished an internship in web design and ended up liking it. I looked up this job and it said that they were looking for a graphic designer with a preference in web design. It was entry-level which turned out to be a good transition to learn how to do web design, and how to be involved with a web-based company. It allowed a lot of room for growth and it went as far into web design that I personally wanted to go.
CI: What advice do you have for recent graduates trying to get a graphic design job?
DR: In the creative world you have to not just stand out, but stand out in a good way. Don’t go over the top, but you have to be noticeable and memorable, and everything has to be clean. Make sure your work represents who you are. Apply to as many places as possible and make sure the first things these businesses see is the best that you have. Make a great personal website. People want to see visuals. I had a resume and I had attachments but my actual website was very primitive, so I ended up having to do a lot of persuading. When I finally got my job I was at the other end of the spectrum looking at applicants. The first thing my creative director would look at was the applicant’s website. If a website didn’t look good, or it had bugs, or you could tell they had used a template he almost just threw it away immediately.
CI: What is the most unexpected thing about working in web design?
DR: It was probably the turnaround on projects. You would spend weeks putting in work to build a page and it looks incredible and you’re so happy with what you’ve done and you finally send it out, only to not hear back about it for weeks. The reason is that it might look nice and it might fit all the criteria but you have to worry about developers. They have to look at previous coding, create new style sheets and override old style sheets, and there’s so much more. I still don’t know half of what happens on the back end, but there’s so much time involved outside of designing the page to make a website work.
CI: What prepared you the most for a graphic design position?
DR: I think that as much as college helped prepared me for my career, my first internship absolutely prepared me the most. When you have an internship you aren’t worried about a grade, you’re worried about a client, who is worth a lot to that company, so you’re on the line for a number of reasons.
CI: Take me through a typical day at work for you.
DR: When I get in I will usually be working on something that’s left over from the day before. That could be a page we’re working on or a specific element of a page. If I don’t have anything to do, which is rare, I speak directly to my Art Director and he will give me work. Everything goes through him. Usually I’m given 2-3 projects a day. On the rare occasion I’ll be given one huge project or a number of miniature projects. I’ll work on them for the entire day and take lunch whenever I want to, and leave sometime after 5:30. My schedule is very flexible. It’s a laid back environment but it’s still very demanding.
CI: What influenced your career choice the most?
DR: My grandfather. He was a pioneer in the creative industry. During his prime he designed logos for brands, scoreboards at major stadiums, and so much more. It is just inspiring that someone I know has done all that. I want to follow in his footsteps and, more or less, change the way the world is looked at. Which is essentially what graphic design is. That’s what he did and that is what I want to do.