“At the time I started the Graphic Design certificate program, I was working as a corporate graphic designer and felt my job was very repetitive and uninspiring. Then two years later, I learned about graphic design for film and TV from a podcast, and instantly fell in love with the job. I started exploring this new career path in RISD CE’s Professional Identity course, and for my Final Studio project, I created a collection of fictional graphic props. The project got me completely hooked and after graduating from the certificate program in 2020, I moved to New York to pursue film and TV jobs.
I now work on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and get to design and physically craft period graphics like food packaging, storefront signs, wallpaper, posters, mail, and any other prop or set piece with text or imagery. My work now has a huge breadth of variety, I get to work with my hands, do lots of interesting research, and I get to see my graphics go into building fantasy worlds on set.
Although my work is primarily on the computer, it’s with the ambition of imitating the humanistic quality of midcentury graphics. There’s so much character and whim in pre-computer design and I really enjoy recreating that feeling. Period graphics regularly break the graphic design rules I learned in my CE classes, but knowing those rules has allowed me to create mindful workarounds—like if I give text wonky tracking, I put the widest letter spacing in syllable breaks to maintain readability. The fundamentals I learned at RISD have made such a difference in my work and I’m so happy to have a job I genuinely love.”
—Leah Spencer, 2020 RISD CE Graphic Design certificate program graduate
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