With all due respect to both past and future interviews, I consider this one to be my most important. With this interview, I am holding up a mirror to your pasts. When you look into this mirror, you do not see yourself, you see Alex Cook. “What do you mean” you say? Alex is fresh out of University, and at the start of her path to her career.
This is also a very personal interview for me. Out of everyone, Alex may be the one who I know the most, and knows me the most in return. I have known her since sometime in mid 2009. When I had the idea to include her in this post series, I knew that it would be my chance to offer a lending hand and help her out as much as I could. With that said, lets help her get her feet off the ground and get to know Alex Cook.
Please introduce yourself to everyone. What did you major in and where at? Did you specialize in any areas?
Alex Cook: Hello! :3 I’m Alex Cook, your typical unemployed, yet hopeful graduate with an interest in design, writing and film. Seriously, talk to me about movies and I’ll likely love you forever. Anyways! I recently graduated with a BS in New Media Publishing from Rochester Institute of Technology. My major includes a mix of graphic design, web development, printing, business and IT. At RIT, I concentrated/specialized in both French Language and Culture and Contemporary Publishing. Think eBook creation and designing, studying the pros and cons of the New York Times Reader, and so on!
You just graduated this past spring. What do you hope for in your near future, and what fears do you have given the current job market?
Alex: Good. Question. Since I’ve graduated, I’ve come up with such a multitude of plans, it’s borderline ridiculous. Do I want another bachelor’s degree? In graphic design? Journalism? How about a masters in human computer interaction? Who knows. I think I’d really just like to get some more design practice and experience.. we’ll worry about the job front later. (aka I’d prefer to not think about the current job market. ;p )
If you could choose for the pigment in your skin to be any color possible, what would that color’s RGB/CYMK value be?
Alex: Oh man, ideally? #333366. I’m crazy about this purple. (C: 93% M: 90% Y: 31% K: 20%) (R: 51 G: 51 B: 102) Realistically though, I need a tan. -__- #CC9966. (C: 20% M: 41% Y: 67% K: 1%) (R: 204 G: 153 B: 102)
If you had control of who follows your twitter account, what four people would you add to your followers list? Why?
Alex: Eeeee! dessadarling (Twitter). Dessa is hands down my favorite artist/rapper/author. Her lyrics and essays are a constant source of inspiration for me in writing, illustrating, so on and so forth.
disneypixar (Twitter). Yet another source of inspiration for me. To say that I never dreamed of working for Disney would be an absolute, terrible lie. If you could see my wish list of books right now, it’d be over 75% full of Pixar art books.
andrewhussie (Twitter). I follow the newest MS Paint Adventure like it’s my job (“Homestuck,” go read it! :p). He’s got one heck of an imagination, seems to write like a pro, and oh man are his drawings cute or what?!
Andddd ConanOBrien (Twitter), because everyone loves a little attention now and then, amiright?
Below, is a question and answer
Recently, you returned to Minnesota where you had an internship last year. Is there anywhere in the area that you would absolutely love to work at? Any specific companies?
Alex: Minnesota is so full of major corporations, I’m certain holding a design position at any would be more than fine in my book! (Hey there Target, Best Buy, 3M, General Mills! (; ) If dreams could come true, I’d die to work for Rhymesayers Entertainment, an independent hip hop record label based in Minneapolis. I missed out on a design internship for them due to poor timing, but shall we keep our fingers crossed for the future? And as for an area? Anywhere. Seriously, I’m so in love with the state. 😀
What are some of your favorite bands to listen to while designing?
Alex: First and foremost, Dessa. I mentioned the inspiration deal already, but she’s just an awesome artist regardless. Otherwise, Portishead, Bjork, Cat Power, Death Cab for Cutie, P.O.S, Bright Eyes, or mostly my collection of film soundtracks and scores. Anything that I can listen but not have to put all of my attention into really. Oh, and of course, the Glee Cast station on Pandora when I need something peppy and exciting. ;3
A zombie, pirate, politician, and ninja have all made it to the Rock/Paper/Scissor final four. Who are you rooting for and who do you hope they beat to win the championship?
Alex: The zombie, of course. 😀 And it’d have to beat out the ninja, seeing as the politician clearly wouldn’t make it to the final round.. and, well, I just don’t like pirates sometimes.
Do you have any preferred styles of design or art?
Alex: Absolutely. Anything with some vector-y goodness in it and I’m more than sold. Also, anything that’s got a vintage feel, or even something that’s “totally adorable” and appeals more so to children will always catch my eye. So think vintage Disney (especially Disneyland attraction ads and signs) and maybe even my favorite collectables, Golden Books. I go crazy for these.
Although you are still very young in your career, can you recall any client/customer moments that made you go D: ?
Alex: When I was interning at a printing company, I was a customer service rep for mostly donation jobs. (why is it that anyone getting anything for free will always be disgustingly demanding, finicky, and on the occasion, insane?) I’ve had a two hour+ phone call proofreading a brochure (there were only three paragraphs!). I’ve hand delivered pieces because a client told me he’d pick up the final product, then changed his mind. My favorite D: moment though, at my first job developing pictures, is when a customer accused me of ruining her negatives and making them.. blurry?
If photoshop features or method tricks could report people for overuse and abuse, which one(s) would be able to report you?
Alex: How about.. undo? :p I don’t use Photoshop nearly as much as I should, but if we were talking about Illustrator.. Well, probably anything related to the pen tool. And live trace/live paint. And undo.
Is there anything about being a student that you’ll immediately miss? *cough* adobe product discounts *cough cough*
Alex: Adobe product discounts! I absolutely love being a student. I like learning, assignments, essays (love these actually) and lectures, I already know I’ll miss all of that. But most of all, having a set schedule and things to do daily.. even if I’m stuck on campus till 5:30 am writing XSLT for the first time, working on research papers, or illustrating an eBook.
Are there any areas where you wish your degree program(s) focused more on? less on?
Alex: I could write a novel for this answer unfortunately. My degree was brand new, ever changing and confusing. Professors were never able to give us a definition of New Media Publishing, saying it was “too new, there’s always something changing!” (You know, aka “we have no idea.”) I wish my program offered more than two beginner design classes and one basic business class, employed professors who told us more than “I don’t know what you can do with your degree to be honest,” and was simply more organized in general. Oh, and I really wish we didn’t have to literally beg professors to get into any interesting or worthwhile classes outside of our program.
If you were a design super hero, who would you be and what would be your super power?
(Thank you designcoyote (Twitter) for this suggestion!)
Alex: I’d have to be Vector Girl! Using mathematical formulas and specifications of geometric elements to fight crime (ha ha!) with my paths and lines..gun. And looking all around spiffy and clean and wonderful. Gonna need a sidekick though, anyone down to be Illustrator Boy? ;D
Any final thoughts?
Alex: Thanks soso much for having me do this interview! Beats all of those job interviews that seem to be missing in action any day of the week. 😉
And seriously, Illustrator Boy, whatchu think?!
The absolute greatest thing that all of you readers, who have been in the industry for awhile already, could do for Alex is to give her any advice you have for someone in her position. Think back to when you were in Alex’s position, what advice would you have loved to get from your peers? What do you wish you knew then that you know now? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below and I will make sure Alex reads it all. Follow her on twitter at her twitter profile cooxie (Twitter).