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Graphic Design Alumni

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Self Portrait


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Kris Young
BFA Graphic Design, 2004

Kris graduated in 2004 with a BFA in Graphic Design and a minor in English. He started as an Industrial Design major, but after a semester changed his major to English and then Graphic Design.

"Having excelled in art throughout school and having used design software since I was twelve, I always had the skills, I just wasn't sure how I wanted to apply them," he says.

Seven years after graduation, Kris still appreciates the value of a BFA degree. "Being able (or rather required as a BFA candidate) to take the variety of fine art and design classes was, in hindsight, an amazing experience. I enjoyed taking printmaking, painting, sculpture, photography, along with my design classes."

He advises new students to "take it all in, and appreciate this time. Take every design challenge seriously, and try to make each one a portfolio piece, not just a throw-away 'project.' Do plenty of research ahead—both academic and visual—before going down a specific direction. And while you should stand up for your design decisions, be flexible. If someone doesn't like your design, don't get offended, ask questions—lots of questions."

Kris went to grad school after graduation, enrolling at the Savannah College of Art and Design where he earned an MFA in Broadcast Design and Motion Graphics in 2006.

He currently lives in the Seattle area, where he has been working as a User Experience and User Interface Designer. In the past three years he has created multi-touch, mobile, and web solutions for Microsoft: Surface, T-Mobile, Cisco, and other companies. He is currently working at Cisco on solutions for helping consumers understand, manage, and change their energy behavior and habits in the Home Energy space.

Kris will be moving to the San Francisco area soon where he will work with Pricewaterhouse Coopers, where he will travel the country, working as a Senior Design Consultant.

If there was one valuable thing Kris took away from Appalachian it would be "design is a mindset. Learning tools and skills never stop. But the 'eye' that's formed from critically thinking through design projects provides a way of approaching a challenge. If used wisely, this will continue to serve you regardless if you design print, web pages, video, mobile apps, or ways to help people change their energy usage behavior."

August 2011

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