Alumni in Print – Where Are They Now?
The Print and Graphics Scholarship Foundation is publishing profiles featuring some of their more than 6000 former scholarship recipients. This series gives you an up close and personal insight into the thoughts and motivations of the former students who are a part of our industry today. As our current employees reach retirement and leave, replacing them becomes an increasingly important factor for many companies. Here is one story…
Naveen Rajadhyaksha attended the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, Industrial Design, graduating in 2015.
How did you first get interested in the graphic arts, or decide to focus on graphic communications in school?
When I was in high school I did an on-site visit to a local art school. I saw the future of graphic arts and how print based media was being blended with a digital space. When I got to my freshman year I was excited to learn about printing processes, and how I could adapt this to my skill set.
Did you take any courses in high school that were related to graphic communications, or that prepared you for your planned career?
I personally took photography in high school, which taught me about composition and to understand why a photo looked good. When I got to college I was a lot more involved in design and learned about graphic design in an ad-hoc manner.
How do you think going through your education process prepared you for the workforce?
I was taught to think about my solutions from an end-to-end mentality and to make sure my ideas were clear and concise. These ideas help me daily as a user experience designer.
In the Workforce Today
What company are you working for now and what types of products and services do they provide to their customers?
I currently work for IBM Design in Austin Texas. On my team, we deliver user focused design solutions to 93 different IT security products.
What job did you first have with the company when you started, what position do you have now, and/or what else have you done since joining the company?
I came in to do user experience design and now I do design research. I really enjoy design research because it allows me to understand a user’s problems and leverage empathy to build better products. I utilize my graphic and visual understanding to tell the stories of my users constantly to everyone from executives to engineers.
What do you think employers are looking for in today’s workforce and the current industry environment?
I think it’s a cross between intellect and a desire to learn the cutting edge. Design is an ever-changing field and as an organization I think many companies want to know that their designers can learn the next best thing quickly! A hunger for the future of design is a must have.
Is there anything that you have found to be particularly different from what you initially expected, now that you’ve progressed through your work career for a period of time?
In school, you have the ability to explore so many aspects of design. The exposure to the variety of domains and experiences in college really allows the creative mind to flourish. Post college in many ways you specialize toward a particular field or industry and sometimes you lose the connection and the curiosity for other areas.
Have you changed your plans or ideas about what area or type of job you might like to have since you first considered the graphic communications field and began studying for a career in it?
I know that at least for the next few years I want to be a designer, but I believe the definition of what a designer is moving forward is going to change dramatically.
What do you see yourself doing a few years from now?
That’s a great question and I’ll let you know when I have an answer!
Was being a recipient of a PGSF scholarship important, or did it have an impact on your future or ability to succeed in the industry?
The PGSF was an extremely generous and inspiring scholarship. It helped me out financially with my education, and allowed me to focus my efforts 100% on design. Through this organization I was able to interact with other designers who had a similar drive as I did. Now days I am lucky enough to be employed as a designer. I get to go into work every day and love my job!
PGSF works to inform young people about the opportunities that are available in the graphic arts industry and then support them during their educational phase. To learn more about PGSF, or how you can support its work, visit www.pgsf.org or contact John Berthelsen at [email protected]. PGSF is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.