Creative AND Professional: A Day in the Life of a Graphic Designer

Lori Reed

Got talent? Great! Create constantly? That’s commendable, but no matter how talented and creative you are, you’ll always need other skills to make it as a graphic designer. Lori Reed, Owner and Principal Creative at Reed Creative, LLC loves putting her artistic education and talents to use every day, but she also understands the importance of communication and delegation—especially for tasks that she finds frustrating or tedious.

What is your current company name and job title? If you’ve changed titles since you started at your company, what was your job title when you started?

Reed Creative, LLC, owner and principal creative.

I have evolved from being a freelance graphic designer where I performed all work to be what I refer to as a Creative Collaborator, which serves more as a Creative Director overseeing a virtual team of designers, copywriters, photographers, illustrators, etc.

What is a typical day on the job like for you?

Typically mornings are used for planning the day’s workload, including coordinating the designers/illustrators/production coordinators working remotely for me, spending 15 minutes dedicated to my own marketing matters, and communicating via email with clients regarding works in progress.

A few lunches a week I often spend networking, either at an organized networking function, or scheduling lunch dates with potential partners/clients.

Afternoons are reserved for creative work, including presentations to clients.

Evenings typically include a break for a run and dinner and I will often work in the evening on anything I want to get a jump-start on for the next day so proofs/emails are awaiting my clients’ arrival at work.

I do try to group my meetings together on two days a week and reserve one uninterrupted day as a creative concentration day where I can focus on creative work without having to be disrupted by meetings or errands.

What are your favorite aspects of your job? What are the things you would change if you could?

I love the creativity, the flexibility, the ability to apply my talents to help make a difference, and the interaction with fellow collaborators, whether they are clients or partners.

I am working on changing the parts of my job that I don’t love by bringing in people who do enjoy the more mundane tasks… the bookkeeping, the errand running, the receipt tracking, the organizing of numerous printed samples, etc.

What did you study in college? How does your major relate to your current position?

I received a BFA in Communication Design with concentrations in art history and photography. Every day I employ concepts I learned in all three of these areas—how to communicate effectively in a visual manner, how to incorporate meaning and color schemes learned in studying art history, and how to capture an image in an interesting manner photographically as well as how to work well with photographers I art direct.

What advice would you give to college students who are interested in working in your field?

Design is an evolving industry, embracing creativity from print to pixel. Be creative. Be collaborative. Be professional. Many designers love the craft of what they do but cannot communicate on their clients’ level in a business-like manner. It is possible to successfully be both creative and professional.

Does your company hire interns in your field?

I have hired interns in the past and am considering if my current space would be conducive to hiring another intern in the future. Mentoring interns requires time and dedication to share best practices and supervise work performance, and I want to make sure I have the time and space available to give an intern what they would most need out of an internship.

Homework time! Lori talks about the importance of being both creative and professional. If you’re interested in pursuing a creative career, think about which professional skills you could spend some time polishing. For example, maybe you’d like to learn how to keep track of invoices, manage your time, or communicate your ideas with clients. Find a business-minded friend and ask for help. Maybe you can even offer to do something creative for them in exchange!

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