What does she do?
Pam spends her days as the graphic designer for The Ohio State University libraries. Pam is responsible for all of the flyers and pamphlets that relate to the library. Some examples of her work are at the bottom of this post. Even though Pam is the mind behind all of the graphic designing for the entire library, she said that her favorite project was outside the typical graphic designing realm. Those who go to OSU have probably seen the weird designs in the floor and elevators and wondered what they were. When Thompson library was being designed, the architects intentionally left spaces in the floor where wood wouldn’t go. Pam stepped up to the job of finding out what to do with the spaces. Her idea? Fill the spots with brass engravings of different alphabets from around the world. The result is a beautiful and meaningful mark on the floors of Thompson. It’s awesome that Pam was able to help design a part of the library that will be there as long as the library is. She told me that that has been her favorite project thus far as The Ohio State University Libraries’ graphic designer. I have attached some examples of these engravings at the end of this post.
I asked Pam what she liked about graphic designing and she said there are a couple of things that she really likes about her job. First of all, she just loves to create. Like all artists, she often gets lost in a creative stream of consciousness and will lose track of time as she scribbles down ideas. When she described this, I knew what she was talking about because I’ve had moments where I completely get lost in creativity. However, it has only happened a few times and I can never make it happen. Because of this, I asked Pam about the consistency of her creative stream. She said that creativity is in no way constant. Though she gets paid to be creative, even she has times where she simply can’t come up with anything great. She also told me that she finds inspiration in the most unusual things. Because she sees everything through a very open mind, she can see a pattern on the floor and instantly incorporate it into a complicated and intricate design. What I’ve learned from Pam is that artists have an innate ability to see things as more than just what they intrinsically are. When a pattern on the floor is no longer limited to being just a pattern on the floor, the possibilities are endless.
Aside from creating just for the sake of creating, Pam also considers herself a problem solver, especially at work. Her boss will give her all the components that need to somehow be wrapped up and displayed in a pamphlet and Pam has to sit down, mix and match, and come up with the best possible solution. A pamphlet has to be functional and look good, and the looks can never take away from the functionality. Making this happen with predetermined pieces feels like a puzzle to Pam and that’s part of the reason why she loves doing it.
A last reason why she likes graphic design and designing in general is because of the reaction. Pam loves to make people happy and through her artwork, she can effectively do so. Seeing a client happy with the design of a project and knowing that her design will be effective for the client’s desired use is an overtaking feel-good feeling. Outside of work, Pam likes to create greeting cards for friends and family. Seeing those close to her open up a homemade card that has been tailored specifically to them is another incredible feeling. I’ll have to agree with Pam that seeing someone smile and knowing you are making them smile is one of the happiest, most accomplished feelings.
A Life Changer
The story of how Pam ended up with the graphic designer job at the Ohio State Libraries is an interesting one. First of all, it is important to note that Pam loves libraries. There is something about the vast wealth of knowledge contained in a libraries walls that is really cool. This love of libraries caused Pam to get a job at a library as a high school student. Leaving high school, Pam started college as a fashion design major at the University of Cincinnati. Eventually, she decided to move to Columbus and attend the Columbus Academy of Art and Design as a fashion illustration major. While in Columbus, Pam found yet another job opening at a library. This time however, the job opening was for a graphic designer. Pam had an okay portfolio from some of her classes, but in the end, it wasn’t exactly what they wanted to see and they hired someone else. Shortly after this though, the position opened up again. By this time, Pam had expanded her portfolio and she was hired as a graphic designer for the library.
But, Pam was in school to be a fashion illustration major. Working at the library as a graphic designer was life changing because it invoked a complete career change. If it wasn’t for that job, it is quite possible that Pam would be working as a fashion illustrator somewhere. Graduating college, Pam kept the job as a graphic designer at the library, but when new management took over Pam was discovered by Ohio State. The rest is history. It’s amazing the impact one college job can have on a person’s life.
Growing up, Pam had a mom who wasn’t particularly religious but was a very spiritual person and a dad who was not religious nor spiritual. In turn, her upbringing had very little religious influence on her life. On her own accord, Pam identified with the Catholic church. For reasons unknown, her father was not okay with this and her prevented her from being baptized until she was 18. Though she still identifies as Catholic, a lot of Pam’s beliefs have slowly changed and intertwined with beliefs from other religions. For example, Pam believes in reincarnation and in karma. I asked her why she believes in these things and she said that sometimes things happen that can’t be explained in any other ways. One situation Pam described to me was a trip to Scotland. When she got to Scotland, she was completely overtaken by this incredibly powerful and emotional feeling of being home. She said she felt like she was returning home after being gone for a really long time. This emotional experience was so powerful that she actually started crying. That’s just something that can’t really be explained except through a past life.
Overall, Pam is very open minded about religion. She doesn’t care what people believe and the only religion that makes her feel uncomfortable is fundamental Christians. Though she still respects them and their beliefs, she finds it hard to understand how or why someone would follow word for word a book that has multiple different translations and then ridicule those who don’t.
Pam is a wonderfully nice person and she has a plethora of interesting life stories to share. One thing that I will definitely take with me from my meeting with Pam is her philosophy of always asking why. Pam finds it hard to be angry because she never knows why someone is doing something. She said that if you put anger aside and just ask yourself why someone is doing something, you’ll always find that there could be a logical reasoning behind it and you can’t let it get to you. I think this is a worthy and honorable philosophy to have.