As a huge fan of magazine design, (a.k.a. publication design), I always enjoy perusing the graphic design portfolio of Ciara Bird, a dynamic graphic designer and a Graphic Design Alumna from FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising. Bird’s unique design style has not gone unnoticed- she was recently hired at Blü Magazine, an online arts and culture magazine covering fashion, music and entertainment, as a freelance art director for their June issue. (See some sneak peek page spreads designed by Bird, below).
“Publication is my design niche, so I really try to play that to my advantage when I show my portfolio,” she says. Incorporating her own collage art and illustrations with modern type treatment, you really get a sense of Bird’s personality and interests in her work.
After graduating from FIDM a year ago, Bird relocated to her home state of North Carolina where she also works as an in-house designer at a company called Se-va designing marketing and promotional materials. Bird took some time to talk to FIDMDigitalarts about her graphics career since graduation:
(FIDMDigitalarts) What is the best part about your role as freelance art director at Blü Magazine?
(Bird) “The best part is definitely that I am getting to work on a piece I really love. After graduating, I have come to learn that you do not always get to work on projects you like. I have been very fortunate that the Creative Director, Camila Amortequi, loves my design style and is letting me experiment.”
How did you get your foot in the door at Blü?
“Well right before graduation I began to send out my portfolio packets to over 50 different magazines and design firms I was interested in working or interning with. Blü was one of the magazines I contacted. It really worked out perfectly because Camila was interested in creating a whole new look for the new year and my style was completely different from what they had before but it totally matched the feel of the magazine.”
I remember your portfolio had a lot of great publication pieces. Did this help you land the job?
“Thanks, I think it definitely helped. Publication is my design niche, so I really try to play that to my advantage when I show my portfolio. I am sure my internship with Flaunt Magazine didn’t hurt either. I learned so much while there and it has been extremely beneficial to my growth as a designer.”
How did your education at FIDM help you in your various roles as a graphic designer?
“I had the best instructors. They really pushed me to do better and stressed real-world examples so that we didn’t graduate thinking design was going to be easy. It is tough being a graphic designer, but I love it.”
Tell me more about Se-va. What kind of company is it?
“Se-va is an internet based company that uses a membership to unite schools, consumers, and merchants. The main goal is to raise money for schools and eduation across the community. I love it because I am really passionate about education and hate that programs like music and arts are being cut due to lack of funding.”
What type of work do you get to do as a graphic designer at Se-va?
“I work with another designer and together we direct all of the creative, graphic and marketing needs. Since the company is brand new there were no existing materials. I have created everything from brochures to posters and banners, to promotional items and website mockups.”
Do you have any favorite Blogs, websites or designers you are keeping your eye on lately for inspiration?
“Milou Neelen, Kelly Wearstler, and Erin Jang are a few off the top of my head. I have a list of over 75 blogs I check regularly, and I am obsessed with Pinterest and Tumblr. Also:
www.graphic-exchange.com (Read more about Graphic-Exchange here)
…just a few favorites!”
CATCH A SNEEK PEAK OF BLU MAGAZINE’S JUNE ISSUE, DESIGNED BY CIARA BIRD BELOW (Many thanks to the editorial and art department teams at Blü for sharing these with us!)