Taylor Schwickert

Whitefish, MT |

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What made you want to become a graphic designer?

“I've always enjoyed drawing a pathetic attempts at creativity. As a child, I aspired to be a cult leader who worships Steve Buschemi and gnomes. In terms of a career choice, I knew I didn't want to do math or be a male prostitute.”

What are your favorite aspects of being a designer?

“There's a certain ideology to art school that I really like. The process of being able to defend what you do-- or, being forced to. I like subculture of graphic design and the art world. Everyone has the urge to create, which is nice. I would just love a job that provides me with food, shelter, and the ability to be creative and move around-- not be bogged down.”

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

“School teaches you to think critically. A lot of drawing classes aren’t just drawing: there’s a philosophical discussion going on at the same time.”

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

“Personally, I don't want to be a part of the 'capitalist suck'. As designers, I believe we should strive to make things that are ethical and sustainable. I’m not trying to say you’re a bad person if you work for a big corporation, but in a lot of ways we control what consumers think, so we have a responsibility to them. When design is based solely on making a profit, then ethics go right out the window. Like when we visited Nike on the Portland senior trip: there was lots of flashy graphic design, but really, they are just cheap shoes made in China. Or Malaysia. Or wherever they’re being made now. I mean, I don't want to be poor-- but I don't want to be a corporate tool, either."

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?

“Eventually I want people to seek me out to do a broad array of things. I believe we'll be part of a generation who will use more sustainable, environmentally friendly, and ethical materials and mediums, regardless of how much extra it costs the client. Digital stuff has the ability to push those principles further.”

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

Matt Furie, Alexander Binder, and Mario Hugo. Stuff coming out of Portland is pretty cool: it’s small, local, and organic.”

What are your plans for the future?

“I would like to stick with graphic design, but if a different and equally cool career opportunity pops up, that would be neat.”

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