Name: Kathleen Reilly
Graduation year & Degree: 2015, BFA
Major: Graphic Design
Marywood Clubs/Activities: CMYKlub, Zeta Phi Delta, Women’s VolleyballTeam
Current Occupation: Graphic Designer at Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau
How long at current job: About 2 months, but I was freelancing with them for about a year and half before being brought on full time.
Current Personal Website: katreillydesign.myportfolio.com
What was your favorite part about studying art at Marywood?
I loved the small classes and the community of artists and designers. The art professors always took genuine interest in our progress and guided us to be the best we could be. The facilities are also fantastic; you have just about everything you need to explore and get creative on projects.
How did your art education at Marywood help your career?
The graphic design program at Marywood covers all avenues of design, from poster art and packaging to coding and web building. Not only that, but we learned about various types of art, like sculpture, drawing, painting, screen printing and photography. This was so important in learning the fundamentals of visual storytelling and expanded my toolkit as an artist and designer. Learning various techniques and ways of thinking was invaluable to me as I didn’t really have a proper art education before attending Marywood, so getting to explore these art forms was fun and broadened my view of art in general. In addition, the professors taught me how to think conceptually and how to approach the design process. Marywood also offers a study abroad program, which I took advantage of and studied in Florence, Italy for a semester. It was an awesome experience full of art, cool people and travel!
What attracted you to this career path?
I was always good at drawing and had a knack for figuring things out visually, so when I discovered graphic design as a potential career path, it seemed like the perfect way to channel my artistic abilities and apply them as real-world solutions. My education at Marywood expanded my understanding of design and I realized how much you can do with this career that I had no idea about before! I love that you get to be creative and use art skills while solving problems and finding new ways of communicating with the world.
Did your career path match your vision of a career path? What’s different?
Not really, but that’s ok! In school I had envisioned moving to a bigger city and working for a creative agency, and even had an interest in designing for the music industry. My first job out of school was designing for a ski resort (I had never even gone skiing before, lol). After that, I got a full-time job as an image editor for Lord & Taylor, and then transitioned to Saks Fifth Avenue. I was suddenly in the world of high fashion, albeit a small part of that world. During this time, I took on more freelance design gigs and created Kat Reilly Studio, an Etsy shop and platform for me to create and put passion projects out while gaining client work. I did some work with Shanty Town Design and started regular freelance work with Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau. PMVB brought me on full-time, and now I help promote the Poconos as a travel destination.
What is your favorite thing about your current job?
I’ve grown a love for travel, so getting to design for the travel industry and promote the Poconos as an exceptional vacation destination is rewarding, fun and speaks to some of my interests directly. I’m always planning or looking forward to leisure time and activities – especially in pandemic times! The Poconos is a beautiful place to promote, but not only that, we are able to help raise awareness and bring support to local and small businesses and have assisted in raising funds for the community during the pandemic.
Are you currently working on any interesting side projects?
I have some wedding invites I am currently working on, and I’ve also been learning more about web design, particularly coding for WordPress. Other projects where I get to screen print or draw come and go and are some of my favorites.
What are some of the biggest rewards in your career?
One of the most rewarding benefits is the people I have met. Also, when people are excited about something I have created, that is a huge reward and feels really validating. The flexibility to work from home is also great. I enjoy learning new things, and since you can work for basically any field as a designer, my career has introduced me to new experiences, like snowboarding! That didn’t keep though, lol.
What inspires you?
The internet and social media are huge sources of inspiration for me; anything you want to learn is literally at your fingertips. Movies and music also play a role. But there’s a lot of inspiration to be found in the real world as well; exploring new places or trying new things can be creatively stimulating and getting out in nature can be a recharge for your brain.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Something I frequently think about is a quote Professor Sue Jenkins learned and shared with us in my senior year, “Hold yourself in readiness.” I can’t say I’ve always been perfect at this but it’s a great way of saying to be ready for the next opportunity and, to be prepared to grow in our careers. Just as important is remembering to take the time to care for ourselves. It’s easy to get absorbed in our work but neglect to take breaks or move our bodies. Something as simple as walking away from the computer for a bit can have huge benefits both for our mental and physical health as well as our work itself.
Any advice for current art students at Marywood?
Keep pursuing your goals. Even if your career doesn’t look like how you envisioned it would, there’s valuable lessons and skills to be learned anywhere you go. If you find yourself stuck, take a break, look for inspiration, do something else or distract yourself, and then come back to it. Go easy on yourself. Sometimes things don’t always make sense until we look back on them and it suddenly all makes perfect sense. Never stop learning, growing and creating.
View additional examples of Kathleen Reilly’s work at katreillydesign.myportfolio.com
“Even if your career doesn’t look like how you envisioned it would, there are valuable lessons and skills to be learned anywhere you go.”
ARE YOU INTERESTED IN STUDYING Graphic Design?
Graphic Design – Bachelor of Fine Arts: Design
Our graphic design program at Marywood will introduce you to a variety of design disciplines. Conceptual development, technical skills and professionalism are emphasized. Students have the opportunity to work independently, with partners, in small groups, with professionals in the field and real clients. Regular class critiques and portfolio reviews are stressed throughout the program.
Low Residency MFAs in Graphic Design and Illustration are offered through our “Get Your Masters with the Masters” MFA for Working Professionals and Educators in Graphic Design & Illustration. This 60-credit Master of Fine Arts degree is specifically designed for working art directors, designers, illustrators, new media artists and art educators who have to budget their time and resources carefully, while continuing with their full-time occupations. While production and technical skills are stressed, the thrust of our program is on creativity and concept.