After diverting from a career in sports medicine to pursue the creative arts, FIDM Graphic Design Grad Dennis Kennedy’s career path has come full-circle as a graphic designer at sport management and marketing firm, PRIME Athletes.
During his studies as a professional designation graphic design student at FIDM, Kennedy seized the opportunity to apply his interest in sports during a class project when he was assigned to design a new logo and brand identity for Olympic snowboarders and siblings Arielle and Taylor Gold along with his classmates in a course called Brand X. The design project was a collaboration with PRIME Athletes (where Kennedy now works) and FIDM’s Graphic Design program and reflective of many project-based educational opportunities– one of many unique facets of FIDM’s industry-drive college programs.
The FIDM Digital Arts Blog caught up with Kennedy, who graduated from FIDM in September 2014, to talk about his career path and journey from student to creative professional.
(FIDM Digital Arts) Tell us about your background prior to attending FIDM.
(Kennedy) “I was born and raised in San Diego, CA and left for Arizona State University right out of high school. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology, I wanted to pursue a career in physical therapy. In between undergrad and grad school, I wanted to diversify my resume and work in the medical field as an EMT. The grad school application process can be very competitive, so I wanted to do something that would be both rewarding and would stand out amongst the rest of the applicants.
As time went on, I realized where my heart really was and the direction I wanted my career to go. My only hesitation was that I was, in a sense, ‘throwing all my hard work in the trash’ by leaving the medical field behind. But, with help from friends and family, I took the chance and never looked back.”
As a graphic designer at Prime Athletes what does your job entail?
“I am responsible for the development and execution of company and client initiatives related to entertainment and branding. In this role I collaborate and create custom graphics and presentations for potential/current clients, sponsorships, endorsements, etc.”
Tell us about the journey from intern to graphic designer at PRIME Athletes:
“As a professional designation student in a year long program, I wanted to learn skills outside of school. It was really important to me to start building my new resume immediately and an internship would immerse myself in a field that I had zero experience in.
After my first quarter I went to the FIDM Career Center to meet with Nonie Hillier to discuss internship options. But with my skills still in the infancy stage of learning, we both felt I should come back after my second quarter. So I stayed in contact with Nonie constantly and finally, entering my third quarter I took one step into her office and she said, ‘I have the perfect thing for you!’
This opportunity rewarded me the chance to combine two passions of mine: art/design with sports. I honestly couldn’t have dreamt a more perfect match. None of this would be possible without Nonie and I couldn’t thank her enough.”
What did you enjoy most about the collaborative industry project you did with snowboarders Arielle and Taylor Gold?
“This project involved two Olympic snowboarders, Arielle and Taylor Gold who are actually clients of Todd Hahn, the President of Action Sports and Olympics for PRIME Athletes. Since both of these athletes are young and have yet to brand themselves, it was the perfect opportunity for FIDM’s talented students to take on the challenge.
The first part was an exclusive Q&A with the Gold siblings, which allowed the students the opportunity to ask anything and everything. These answers were the inspiration behind our design ideas for their new ‘brand.’
My favorite part of this project was creating a logo for the Arielle, it was a design that if chosen [by Arielle], would see the most exposure. It had to be something that she could relate to and something that could be easily identifiable. After many concepts, I created a monogram-styled logo with sharp lines and geometric shapes to resemble her riding style and the ascension of her snowboarding career.”
Any advice for incoming FIDM Graphic Design Students?
After going through a four-year university, I know how distracted young students can be. I advise you to absorb as much as you can in this short time in your life and take advantage of every opportunity to meet new people. The chance to network with like-minded people will further your career as a designer and as a person.
I would also say, trust your teachers, but also trust your ideas as well because you are in this program for a reason. I am the designer I am today because of how our teachers pushed me. Some projects or assignments might not make sense in the beginning, but after looking back, you will become well-rounded because of them.
And finally, go see Nonie Hillier! Take the time to get to know her and allow her to get to know you. She will work hard to find something that fits your wants and needs.”
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FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising isn’t just a recognized leader in the study of design and creative business– we’re a training ground for the exciting career in graphic design you’ve always dreamed of pursuing. No other graphic design program has the same unique focus on the fashion and entertainment industries, teaching creative expression in all aspects of print media, logo development, corporate identity, product branding, packaging, apparel graphics and more.
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With four California campuses located in the heart of the fashion and entertainment industries, FIDM is a leading, accredited college offering specialized Associate of Arts and Bachelor’s of Arts degrees. FIDM has been educating students with creative and leadership skills for the global industries of fashion, visual arts, interior design, and entertainment for more than 45 years. Learn more at www.fidm.edu.
The FIDM Digital Arts Blog is dedicated to professional and aspiring graphic designers and filmmakers, illustrating the range of career opportunities within these fields written by FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising. See more at www.fidmdigitalarts.com.