Alumni Stories: Meet Meghan McClarey

Meghan McClarey

Name: Meghan McClarey

Graduation Year & Degree: 2016 BFA 

Major: Graphic Design

Marywood Clubs/Activities: CMYKlub

Current Occupation: Graphic Designer at Wentworth Institute of Technology

How long at current job: 10 months

Instagram: @mmcclarey12

What was your favorite part about studying art at Marywood?

I really enjoyed the tight-knit community within the creative classrooms. You stay with essentially the same people throughout your program and the same professors, so you are able to get comfortable giving and receiving criticism, which in turn helps you better your art. Having a small community of people who you can grow with as artists together really helps form a strong creativity and allows for excellent collaboration.

How did your art education at Marywood help your career?

In art classes at Marywood, you didn’t just learn the tools to create good art, but you are also learning the tools on how to collaborate and move about the professional world. There are so many opportunities to work with graduates and alumni in your field. I also took advantage of many of the artist talks that Marywood hosts. Hearing from working professionals and getting their advice and tips for the industry cultivated a strong and realistic view of how the professional world of art functions.

What attracted you to this career path?

I never really had any other paths in mind from a young age other than doing something creative. When I was in high school I was able to take my first graphics course and I immediately fell in love with it. It combines everything I love about fine art, while having the ability to stay current and in the know of modern technology and how to use it. There really wasn’t any other option that I was gravitating to as strongly at that point.

Did your career path match your vision of a career path? What’s different?

I’m working in the Higher Ed space, which was really something I never saw as an option until the opportunity presented itself. The work I’ve done and am doing is diverse enough where there are days where I feel like I knew that this is what it would be like, and there are other projects I get that I never expected to be part of the job of a graphic designer – so its a nice blend of comfortable and exciting.

What is your favorite thing about your current job?

Having creative freedom while also staying within the guidelines of a brand is perfect for me. I can get overwhelmed by a blank canvas and definitely enjoy having a bit of direction. That being said, as the only designer in my department I am able to experiment a bit and play around with something new that the university has never done. Plus being on a college campus every day is super fun.

Are you currently working on any interesting side projects?

I’ve done a handful of wedding save the dates & invites. I just finished up some baby shower invites as well. I’m also creating a few logos for clients that are creative and fun. And I’m always looking for inspiration for some one-off pieces to showcase on my Instagram just for fun.

What are some of the biggest rewards in your career?

Definitely being able to see my work in print once its complete. After staring at a project on a screen for so long, being able to have it in hand and seeing how it all came together is super rewarding. Plus, sometimes I get to see people wearing t-shirts I designed or see a package that I designed in Target or Wal-Mart that I made, and that’s always a good feeling.

What’s something that would surprise people about your day-to-day?

Not every project is always a groundbreaking creative puzzle to solve. There are some days where I get to work out of the box and do something wildly creative and new, but a portion of my day-to-day is just creating what’s needed in a time-frame and it will be pretty straightforward. My list of projects fluctuates very often.

Poster designs by Meghan McClarey

What inspires you?

Definitely music is my biggest inspiration. It’s kind of always been that way, too. I’m always listening to music, and often a few lines of lyrics will jump out to me, and I’ll very clearly see an image in my mind, and I’ll run with it.

I’m also super inspired by the many artists I follow on Instagram. I will “like” something I find cool, and then use my likes as inspiration when I’m coming up with a new concept.

Any advice for current art students at Marywood?

Take in as much as you can while you’re there. Utilize all the different studios that are offered because these won’t always be available at your fingertips. Also, attend the artist talks and conferences. You’ll learn so much about the “real world” of design, and probably get some inspiration along the way.

Instagram: @mmcclarey12


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.

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