Jessie Paluga

Moorehead, MN

What made you want to become a graphic designer?

“I loved chemistry, so I was going to be a chemist. Then I was planning on becoming a pharmacist. I attempted to picture my days behind the counter of Walgreen's, shoveling more pills into the over-medicated mouths of the world, and it looked mundane. It just wasn't me. I wanted to challenge myself to be creative every day-- so I decided to be a graphic designer.”

What are your favorite aspects of being a designer?

“Being a creator. I see Helvetica everywhere it is; I just like really enjoy nerdy graphic design humor-- I love being on the inside of those really cheesy jokes.”

Do you think school has helped prepare you for entering the real world?

“School encourages your creative side and gives you a lot of liberty, but there are so many realistic aspects and limitations that you need to take into account when you’re working in the real world. I do think the changes to this program will be preparing graduates a little more adequately -- moving away from hand skills to computer skills: it’s about time.”

How would you describe your process when working on a project?

“Up until thesis, it was typical for me to dive into a project without a lot of sketching, and just kind of get a few ideas and pursue them, and not manage my time. With thesis, I completely re-vamped time management in my life. I was keeping to a schedule for a short while, but got behind-- but I’ve scheduled time for that! I had a research phase, a production phase, and now the last third is the execution, manufacturing.”

Would you say that you have a personal design "style" in your work?

“I wouldn’t like to align myself with one particular style. My goal is to have a broad range of styles that I can become proficient in executing. My thesis has a fairly distinct style: loud, playful, colorful, and bold-- but that’s not how all of my work looks all the time, and I don’t want all my work to look like that.”

For designers, do you believe it's more important to work on projects you're passionate about or take whatever work is available?

“There has to be a balance between doing work you like, getting paid, and just being happy having this working relationship with your client. You can’t have them all. There’s always give and take, knowing sometimes you’ll be doing work you prefer less because you have a client you get along with great, or doing work for less money than you prefer because you love the project. I think it’s OK to change expectations with every project and every client, and try not to get too set in your ways.”

The graphic design industry is doing more digitally-based work these days: are you excited about the evolution of design, or do you like more traditional mediums?

“There’s something romantic about offset press work, but the shift to digital media is what will keep our professions alive. I think that attractive print pieces will come a long, and there will be a balance of the two, so embracing that digital side is what’s gonna keep us in the profession. You gotta to do what you gotta do; I don’t want to focus on one medium in particular. I like developing a base set of skills that allows me to be a successful designer in a variety of mediums, and I like the change of pace that allows me to do that.”

Do you have any favorite designers, artists, or resources you like to get inspiration from?

Jessica Hische: I wish I had created her Daily Drop Cap project! Other than that, there’s a new magazine called Eight Faces that’s all about typography, but it’s one of those really sexy print pieces that you have to get the e-mail for, then buy it within five minutes. It’s also available as an online PDF: every issue focuses on eight type designers and interviews them about the fonts they can’t live without.”

What are your plans for the future?

“Hopefully, I'll be starting my career right here in Bozeman at Brickhouse Creative. I aspire to live, work, and play in a place that I love.”