7 Questions with Miranda Sepúlveda
We sat down with Miranda Sepúlveda '23 and discussed Visual Communication Design, internships and her professional life. Here's what she had to say.
1. How did you first learn of the Visual Communication Design program at Kent State?
I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania, and I went to Vo-Tech for Commercial Art. And I knew a girl who went to Kent, and she was going for VCD. So, I took a trip over for a tour. She showed me her dorm and everything and she told me how much she loved the program.
2. What drew you to VCD?
Mostly the internship program. My teacher and members of my family always said, "An internship is the best way to get your foot in the door." So, before I started school, I knew I needed to get an internship. I was looking at different colleges, and Kent was one of the only ones that had an internship course. To me was such a good sign that I would be prepped for the future.
3. Have you always been creative?
As a kid, I wasn't creative in the way that most people think of. My twin sister... everyone said she was going to be the artist. She liked crafts and drawing and art. And it's funny, because now she's an elementary school teacher where she still uses her crafts. Growing up, I was really into science. I wanted to be a geneticist. I loved genetics, microbiology, but it wasn't until middle school when I met this girl who was really into art, and she offered to teach me how to draw, that I was like, Well, this is awesome. I could make a new friend, and then also learn a new skill, and I fell in love with it.
She's one of my closest friends to this day, which was just a win-win situation.
What drew me to graphic design was what I liked about science, the problem-solving aspect and trying to understand how best to communicate with people. This was another reason why I liked VCD: the fact that Kent has it in CCI. I thought that was really cool, because it is a bit different than art. You are trying to communicate with people, and I think that was a smart decision. It melded all the things I liked about problem-solving, communication and visual language.
4. Were there any classes or faculty that were particularly influential?
The internship class is one of the best. In ours, you built a resume, you built your portfolio, you built your brand identity. It was a great foundation. It made me really think about how I wanted to present myself professionally, which is something that I continue to evolve.
Illustration with Doug Goldsmith was great. He's such a fantastic professor. He and Jillian Coorey were two of my favorites. They had this ideology of identifying your strengths and your weaknesses, and then working to get your weaknesses up to your strengths, learning how to use your strengths to help your weaknesses. They really pushed that, and I am so appreciative of them for that.
5. What was your internship like and who did you do it with?
(Laughs). I actually had three internships. Between sophomore and junior years, I interned with Lucky Shoes in Fairlawn. I was the only designer, so I learned how to work with a marketing team there. My next one was with DSA Signum in the Division of Student Affairs here in Kent. We did design for things like the Fab events. It was like working at a mini agency within the university. Our director let us talk to clients ourselves and we managed everything. And my last internship was with the Government Employee Health Association. That was the one where I learned the most because I was working with a design team. We created plans of action, strategic planning, full national campaigns.
6. Where do you work now and what do you do there?
I am the marketing and design manager for Market Garden Brewery in Cleveland. We have a brewery and then we have the restaurant associated with it, plus four other restaurants. For each restaurant, I create the posters and run their social media accounts, and for the brewery I do all their design. For instance, something very exciting I just finished is the packaging of a 12-pack – and I can't say too much, except that it's holiday themed. It's very...interactive and we hope people come together and do the activities on the packaging. It was a very creative kind of out-of-the-box project that I got to work on that will be in the market all over Ohio. We're launching a new project this coming week and we're doing a mural. I'll be in charge of figuring out the design for that and when it will be completed, doing the whole timeline for it.
7. Was there anything you learned while you were here that you use every day, a skill or an outlook or a rule to live by?
I tell this story to people interested in design, or people who are stuck, something that I remind myself. I had this motion design class that was really hard because you had to learn a new program. It was so difficult. Our professor would show us title sequences from shows like "Dexter" or the movie "Catch Me If You Can." And we'd watch them, and we'd be like, “This is so cool. There's so much going on here." And our professor asked, "Could you do that?" And we were like, "No, no way, that's just too detailed." And he asked us if we took away all the detail, if we took away all the pretty effects, and just got to the nitty gritty motion of it, analyzed what was happening. And then we took a few minutes. We analyzed it. Then he asked us, "Now, would you be able to do it?" We were like, "Well, yeah, cause it's just like a few simple motions." They took very simple motions and created something really, really good, with all the layers of detail. But if you break something down to the very simple motion or fundamentals, you realize that you can do a lot more than you think.