Q&A with FIDM Grad Bri Emery: Art Director & Founder of Design Love Fest Blog

It’s sunrise and while most of us are likely sleeping, FIDM Alumna Brieanne “Bri” Emery is probably glued to her computer, working on her latest project, which could be anything from designing a logo, to laying out the pages in a magazine. Originally from the suburbs of Chicago, Emery graduated from FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in December 2007 in Graphic Design/Branding, learning various aspects of print design, including logo development, corporate identity, product branding and licensing, packaging, and publication design– an education that has aided Emery in translating her passion into a full-fledged career as a graphic designer.

“When it comes to a job title, it’s hard to pick just one,” she says. “Lately it seems like it’s me and my iMac against the world!”

Between her role as Print Designer at The Game Show Network, Creative Director of the bi-annual FIDM alumni magazine, Dialogues, and most recently Art Director of Rue Magazine, Emery also finds time to write a weekly column titled “Closet & Casa” on a Blog called Oh Joy!, maintain her own Blog about her personal design inspiration called Design Love Fest, and tackle projects like logo and branding identity development for freelance clients.

“The best part of my job I would say is the endless excitement and opportunities that come with being a graphic designer,” she says. “One day I might be making a logo for a wedding planner, and the next day I am laying out the pages in a magazine. It is all so inspiring and fresh, so it’s almost impossible to get bored. And I get bored very easily!”

To hear Emery describe her career, she sounds ecstatic. And why wouldn’t she be– she is, after all, working in a career she’s dreamt of since she was 13 years old. In a cheeky manner reflective of Design Love Fest‘s mood, Emery describes an ambitious and imaginative teenage version of herself, carrying around an oversized hand-crafted journal, packed with custom designed collages made up of scotch tape and half-torn magazine pages. Recalling a poignant journal entry, Emery describes how she had written: “I finally know what I want to be when I grow up! A graphic designer! I love looking at Nylon Magazine, not only because of the cool outfits, but I think it’s really interesting how they place the letters on the pages. And I don’t think most people notice that.”

This same attention to detail, plus Emery’s eye for style, use of color and instinct for proportion were hard to miss by Rue Magazineco-founders Crystal Gentilello and Anne Sage who asked her to develop the look and feel of the online lifestyle and interior magazine’s premiere issue after reviewing her portfolio.

“Working with Bri Emery has been an absolute dream come true,” says Gentilello, Rue Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief. “Once she started designing for us, it was clear that we had found our Art Director. Thankfully, Bri accepted the position and immediately got to work on creating the visual narrative and brand identity for Rue. We are head over heels in love with the look she came up with!”

Inspired by layouts in magazines such as Wallpaper and Elle Decor, Emery says her job as Art Director was to develop the Rue Magazine identity, which included the design and layout of nearly all of the pages for the premiere issue. “Although this was a lot of work, it was also very satisfying to take on such a big challenge and have it be received so well by the readers. I like to keep a good mix of bold and playful when it comes to Rue.”

It appears as though it was not only Emery’s passion for publication design, but also her ability to capture an online audience that has made her an ideal Art Director for online-based Rue. In the Editor’s note of the premiere issue, Gentilello describes their mission to “bring the inclusive nature of blogging to a magazine.”

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For someone whose passion for design has been fueled by print-based glossies, it’s clear that Emery recognizes the advantage of presenting online blogging in a traditional print design manner with Design Love Fest. She explains her take on the undeniable influence that the Internet has on the industry, stating, “While there will always be something so special about holding printed material in your hands, online magazines offer a different yet equally wonderful experience. For example, Rue has not only the stories and images on the page, but also behind-the-scene videos, playlists, printable downloads, and hundreds of links that take you from the products in the magazine to the site where you can purchase [the products] online. Blogs are exploding all over the place as major sources of inspiration for consumers and for the creative industry, and online magazines provide the same.”

But don’t be discouraged if your interest is in print based design; Emery still has her handful of print projects as well. For example she recently designed a portfolio lookbook  for Los Angeles based photographer Max Wanger. To capture the small details and playful mood of Wanger’s photography, Emery designed a book using typographic shapes, negative space and soft colors.

“Bri was absolutely amazing to work with,” says Wanger. “We instantly connected and she went above and beyond my expectations. She really was a dream to work with from start to finish. She has amazing design sense and completely understood what it was that I wanted.”

Despite her various projects, Emery promises that she finds time to fit in a social life, too. “Lately I have found it tough to find a balance between work and life. I am always so excited to tackle the next project, so turning down a new client seems almost impossible at times. However, I constantly need to remind myself that work isn’t everything.”

Between her saavy instincts, passion and dedication to design, it seems that success is inevitable for Emery. We can’t help but agree with Gentilello more as she summarizes her experience with Emery: “Bri’s good eye, professionalism, and dedication make her a triple threat graphic designer. Look out world – this girl is going to be doing amazing things with her career!”

Don’t miss these links:

Bri Emery’s Graphic Design Portfolio
Design Love Fest
Rue Magazine

More from Bri Emery:

What she Learned at FIDM: “FIDM brought me real world experience while I was studying there, and taught me that the design world is not always going to be fun and exciting, but it is what you make of it.”

Biggest Piece of Advice for Aspiring Designers: “I really believe in pouring your whole heart into your work. At least that is what works for me. Clients can recognize when you are passionate about what you do, and will really appreciate it. I always like to give my clients more than they expected, and in a very timely manner. Go that extra step and impress them! Oh, and stay connected! Reach out to people you want to work with, be genuine with them, and get your name out there!”

When asked about her five favorite sources of inspiration, Emery answered, “Five!? Only five! Whoa, that sure is a challenge, but here we go…
1. The ever so glamorous Mrs. Lilien. Her style and graphic design is beyond inspirational to me.
2. I also adore looking through vintage magazine covers, everything from the fashion to the typography really gets me going.
3. I have a true love for grid systems and minimalism…so I like to browse the posters over at Aisle One to make sure I don’t lose sight of the “keep it simple, stupid” theory.
4. Let’s not forget that all inspiration in my life is not found on Blogs and websites! I love a good coffee table book! I [recently] boughtthis one (You Can Find Inspiration in Everything by Paul Smith), and this one (The Selby Is In Your Place by Todd Selby) is a treat to look through as well!
5. I am inspired by detail oriented people. Let’s take this Hitched event for example. The amount of love and effort that went into each and every part of this event blows my mind! I like people that take that extra step to really “wow” you, and make you feel special. It’s true, it IS all in the details!”

Photo captions (from top): FIDM Graphic Design Alumna Brieanne Emery, Cover and inside pages of Rue Magazine‘s  premiere issue designed by FIDM Alumna Brieanne Emery (October 2010), Logo for Design Love Fest, Pages from portfolio lookbook for photographer Max Wanger designed by FIDM Alumna Brieanne Emery.

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Author: Mani O'Brien

Mani O’Brien is the Online Editor for the FIDMDigitalArts Blog and the Social Media Marketing Manager for FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising. She earned her bachelor of arts degree in print journalism from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism & Mass Communications at Arizona State University in 2006, and Associate of Arts degree in Graphic Design (Professional Designation) at FIDM in 2010. When she’s not brainstorming social media marketing ideas or writing about the graphic design and digital media, she enjoys practicing yoga, reading magazines, and hanging out with friends and family in Los Angeles.

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