Congratulations! Interview with Newly-Graduated FIDM Graphic Design Student James Peacock

Propelled ever since high school to become a designer, it’s clear that James Peacock is determined to successfully navigate his career toward a job in the design industry. He did, after all, switch gears from his role as co-founder of a successful online business (which earned more than $500,000 in sales in its first year)… and chose instead to focus solely on his passion: graphic design. Peacock’s portfolio reveals his strong sense of brand identity and logo application- check out photos below. Only 20 years old, Peacock graduated from FIDM this month and shared the following interview with the FIDMDigitalArts.com Blog:

Tell me a little bit about your professional background before attending FIDM.
I was fortunate enough to attend a high school (Pete Knight High School in Palmdale, California) that had an amazing design program. In 10th grade I signed up for a class called “Multimedia and Contemporary Design 1″. Originally, I signed up for this because I thought playing around with Photoshop would be an easy “A”. Our midterm assignment consisted of redesigning a movie poster that had already been made. I chose Pirates of the Caribbean and have been addicted to design ever since. During my high school years I did various freelance work for friends and family. During my senior year in high school I co-founded a company called The Game Supply. We started out as a small business that sold virtual goods for computer game and developed into the North American leader of virtual game distribution and made more than $500,000 in sales our first year. In addition to running the company, I designed the website and all advertising campaigns that went along with it. Half-way during my time at FIDM, I left The Game Supply to focus on design.

What made you decide to attend FIDM?
I actually heard about FIDM from various representatives who would visit my high school. They would come into the design classes and give presentations on various projects that both Graphic Design and Digital Media students [had created]. After seeing my first presentation, I knew I was going to attend FIDM. Later that year I visited the school and took a tour with my family. After seeing it in person and feeling the creative vibe it had, I decided right then FIDM would be my home for the next two years.

How did it feel to present your final graphic design portfolio?
Presenting my graphic design portfolio was one of the proudest moments of my entire life. Sure it was a little nerve racking at first but when you’re confident in your work, it makes it easy to present and talk about it. After the presentation it felt like I was walking on cloud nine. It still has not sunk in that I am a college graduate.

Tell me about your experience in FIDM’s Graphic Design program.
I had such an amazing experience in FIDM’s Graphic Design program. One of the best parts about the program is the fact that the number of students is relatively low compared to the other majors on campus. I mention this because the class sizes were very small which allowed for as much one-on-one time with my instructors as I wanted. This was extremely valuable and worth most of the tuition itself if you make good use of it. Another great aspect of the low numbers is that you get a lot of the same students in all of your classes. This was great because over time you develop such great friendships that will go way beyond FIDM’s doors. It is nice to be able to have so many people to discuss your passion about in both a professional and friendly way. Hands down the best part about the FIDM experience was the instructors I had. People like Kevin Reagan, Alex Gardos, Ria Lewerke, Gemma Lawson, and Diane Packer really inspired me and pushed my design to the next level. I wouldn’t have attended FIDM if I didn’t love design but these instructors created a huge shift in thinking in my head. This shift was a sense of reality. What I mean by this is they really inspired me and are proof that you can have a successful and enjoyable career if you put in the work. Kevin has a video he shows to his class on the first day that goes through his background and shows him working with people like the Dixie Chicks, Madonna, and countless others. Seeing this video alone inspired me and I probably worked at least 200% harder every day after that.

How did you find your inspiration for the pieces in your graphic design portfolio?
My biggest source of inspiration was, hands down, other designs- both good and bad. I personally have an inspiration folder that is reaching over 2 gigs now that I revert back to if I ever feel like my current design isn’t cutting it and needs to be kicked up a notch. With that being said, I also have one that includes what I consider to be ‘poor’ designs so I can learn from others’ mistakes. I also find great inspiration from things like photography, music, nature, and our culture.

What are your plans now that you’ve graduated?
As of writing this, I am currently backed up with freelance projects. After I finish these projects, I plan to find an paid internship or entry level position at a web design or publication design firm.

To contact James for graphic design work, visit: www.jamespeacockdesign.com

Congratulations, James!

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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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