We are so excited to introduce Jacquie Johnson, Vice President of Business Development at Taylor…
After learning to code and use Photoshop in high school, Cindy Viera realized that she loved all things design. She now uses her creative eye as the lead senior graphic designer at Taylor & Pond, working on various beauty clients’ projects from social media graphics to product box designs. Learn more about how Cindy got involved in the design world, what inspires her and a few design tips she’s learned after years of industry experience.
Meet Cindy Viera
1. Tell us a little about yourself. How did you first get involved in the design world?
In high school, I randomly took a web design class that revolved around building websites and coding. Often times coders also need to know how to use Photoshop, so I was always messing around with pictures and designs there. Once people found out what I was doing, I started making flyers and CD covers for mixtapes. This was also during the time of Myspace and I started altering my profile with snippets of code to customize my account with designs and features that weren’t included in templates. At the time, I didn’t even realize that I was doing graphics — it wasn’t until later when I realized that everything I was doing was basically designs. When it was time to go off to college, I still didn’t know what I wanted to do. I knew that I enjoyed making graphics, using Photoshop and people I knew liked my work, so I decided to study graphic design at SDSU. Although I started and followed that path throughout college, even in those years I often doubted myself, faced a creative block and even considered switching majors. After graduating, I took a few months off before my job search. After filling out dozens of applications (and only getting two interviews) in 2015, I landed my internship at Taylor & Pond and have been designing here ever since!
2. What does a typical day in your life look like?
The first thing on my agenda is to go through emails to get updates and respond to any urgent client requests. After that, I spend some time checking in on other people’s work, mentoring interns and other designers. The majority of what I work on is social media graphics, but occasionally I also work on special projects like landing pages, print graphics for mailer inserts, box designs and product box designs. In the middle of my day, I always make a quick coffee run to Starbucks for a little caffeine pick-me-up!
3. How would you describe your approach to design?
First, you have to understand the task at hand which starts by knowing as much background knowledge about the brand and assignment. The design process involves a lot of researching and conceptualizing. When clients give you a task, as a designer it’s your job to also become a problem solver. The next step is to look for inspiration and let those ideas flow. It really depends on the client, but I always make sure to give my own twist on everything based on my understanding of the task and brand. I’m always very critical of my own work and make sure to review and get feedback on my designs.
4. What are some of your favorite projects that you’ve been working on recently?
Some of my favorite things I’ve been working on are print graphics and influencer boxes. They are very tedious and a little daunting, because once they’re set off to print you can’t edit or upload the file like most of our other projects. I love a challenge — and being able to see the end result and hold in your hands makes it all worth it.
5. What’s the motto that motivates your career?
“You either make craft, or you make crap” — is the motto that motivates me in my career. The product of any project is a reflection of who you are as a designer as well as a professional. I’ve found that, by approaching my work with a hypercritical eye, I’ve not only honed by craft, but also allowed my peers to trust my creative process and ability to produce quality work.
6. What advice would you give to those looking to go into creative fields such as graphic design?
When I was in college, many people mentioned they majored in graphic design or art because it seemed easy. Many people think design is just putting a bunch of things together and that anything can be art, but you really have to understand the fundamentals. Make sure you’re a creative person because it’s a huge part of your job and you will really have a hard time if you can’t think of new ideas. I would also recommend that you make sure this is really what you want to do and that you’re passionate about it.
7. Can you share a few design tips with our readers?
This goes back to my approach: understand your client and do your research. Always try different options and never just stick to one idea. One idea will usually stem into other ideas, and often times you might like your second or third option way more than your original concept. Another tip is to do creative exercises or look up tutorials at home in your free time; this helps you to get to know yourself as a designer and understand your own style outside of clients. Go to workshops to surround yourself with other creative people and creative ideas.
8. What are some of your favorite products in your beauty bag?
This interview has been edited and condensed.
Interested in learning more from professionals in the digital marketing and beauty industries? Check out the rest of our As Told By series.