I’m pretty sure that I was born to be a designer. I’m sure a lot of people say that, don’t they?
No, really — just look. Here I’m about 6 years old, already bitten by the infamous shutterbug. I may have only had a step up from a toy camera at the time, with 110 film and a flash cube, but I took pictures everywhere. I was drawing as far back as I can remember. I was always the one kid in elementary school who’s art was held up in front of the class for everyone to see.
But the thing that gets me is that I’ve always paid attention to typography. One of the reasons I never liked “Mork and Mindy” is because I didn’t like the font used in the opening credits. Who does that? I do, that’s who. I didn’t know the name at the time but it is called Korinna. To this day, if I ever use that font it’s either because it was specifically requested, or because I somehow made a grave oversight.
At some point down the road I decided that I wanted to be a music video director. (Ahhh, the 80’s and 90’s, when music videos were still played on MTV! So inspiring!) I loved the idea of creating visuals to go along with the feeling that music gives me. While I’ve never done that sort of work professionally, I still like to incorporate audio with visual art whenever possible, using music to set the mood and guide the influence of my work.
Since 1999 I’ve been employed at Ocean Creek Apparel, a screenprint and design house in Virginia Beach, VA. I’ve been there I’ve seen the company grow by leaps and bounds, and will immodestly say that my innovations in design and organization of the art department were an integral part of that development. My designs are extremely versatile and customizable, allowing them to be sold all across north and central America, the Caribbean, and Pacific Islands. Resort apparel is a very competitive business where designs are often being knocked off by other companies. In order to combat this, I went a step beyond and designed custom fonts that cannot be used by any other competitor.
I like to think that my attributes are in perfect balance to be a creative professional. Creative, yet grounded — I’m not one of those kinds of artists. (You know what I mean.) I have a somewhat uncanny photographic memory for fonts and can recall their names like I keep them in a filing cabinet in my head. I work efficiently, always looking for a better way to get work done in less time. While some artists seem to excel at either the artistic OR the technical side of the design process, I’m great at both. Even if I hit a snag, I can troubleshoot my way around a digital art problem in no time flat. Maybe it’s because I’m self taught and curious by nature so I take the time to learn the ins and outs and whys of how graphic design software works. Maybe it’s because like Wile E. Coyote, I’m a super genius. Or, maybe I really was born for this.
Download my resume for all the boring details. Browse my portfolio to see some of my best and favorite work.
Still want to know more? Email Jennie.L.Zell@gmail.com!