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Spotlight on Zandra Whalen

Here’s 2017’s first edition of our #AAFSpotlight feature. Zandra is the Assistant Director of Art & Design at United Way of Greater Lehigh Valley.

Do you feel Corporate Brand Standards are friendly design suggestions, or should they be followed by the book?
When I first started, everything was by the book – I didn’t know anything else. But, once challenged to view my designs outside the borders of the page, I quickly learned that those standards were just that – standard and common. I don’t want my work to be common. I want it to be better. And while I do still play by the rules (most of the time), I think anything standard can become extraordinary – you just need to look at it from a different angle.

Do you listen to music while you design? If so, what do you listen to?
Absolutely. What I listen to though, depends on the project. If it’s a text-heavy piece, I need something instrumental, otherwise, I tend to sing along too much and have to constantly re-focus on the project. If I can afford to sing along (in my head, of course), my go-to jams include a wide range from Billy Joel to New Kids and even some Christmas tunes.

What made you choose your current job over others that may have been in contention?
Design can be challenging at times. Deadlines, expectations, and the ever popular “can’t you just go whip something up” makes each day unlike the last. But that’s what’s best about this career. While every day is different, the outcomes are the same – growth and improvement. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Do you have a favorite PMS color? How about a least favorite?
I have two favorites – Pantone 626 and Pantone 1235. My least favorite is Pantone 179.

Do you sketch out layouts or design concepts before starting them on the computer?
Most of the time the computer is my first stop. By far, illustrations aren’t my strong suit – or even mediocre for that matter. I find better luck and understanding by playing around on layouts directly within the programs.

Currently, how big is the logo? Do you see it getting bigger? The client wants to know.
The logo is as big as it needs to be. If the message and branding are doing their job, the logo is just along for the ride.

About Zandra:

I graduated from Lock Haven University with a degree in Communication Media. Unsure of the direction I wanted to take, I became involved in a career that offered a variety of options all in one: design, public relations, advertising and web. That first taste of design sucked me in and I’ve loved it ever since. Having been self-taught in creative applications, and doing a lot of Googling over the years, I’ve come to know there are a million different tools and techniques to design any given piece. I absolutely love working with and learning from my peers and look forward to continuing to improve my skills and portfolio.

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