College Grad Advertising Graphic Designer in Virginia Beach
Name: Gretchen
Career: Graphic Designer
Company Field: Advertising
Located In: Virginia Beach, Virginia
Grew Up In: Columbus, Ohio
Graduated From:
Majored In: Electronic Media, Arts and Communication
Graduated In: 2011
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After College Lifestyles

Gretchen is a Graphic Designer, specializing in advertising, working out of a beach house in Virginia Beach, VA. Gretchen shows a great passion for her work and explains the difference from her graphic design studies in school and her actual practice. See what Gretchen's life after college is like!

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Name: Gretchen
Career: Graphic Designer
Company Field: Advertising
Located In: Virginia Beach, Virginia
Grew Up In: Columbus, Ohio
Graduated From:
Majored In: Electronic Media, Arts and Communication
Graduated In: 2011

Quick Stats on Ad Graphic Designing

Work Hours/Week: 50 hours
Work Hour Flexibility: Low
Quality of Lifestyle Outside of Work: High
Work Stress Level: Medium
Level of Routine Work: Medium
Interaction with Co-Workers: Medium
Pay Level (out of 5): $$$

Life of a College Grad Graphic Designer


As a graphic designer at a small studio, I communicate directly with about 10-15 clients to create collateral materials. I work on everything from print campaigns to logo design to web development and content management.

Graphic Designer's Daily Routine:

5:30 AM Wake up and work on some freelance design projects at home

700 AM Get ready for work

8:00 AM Arrive at work and check emails. Decide what I'll be working on for the day

9:00 AM Take care of high-priority projects that need to be addressed

1:00 PM Lunch

2:00 PM Check in with clients, send updates

3:00 PM Work on less time-sensitive projects

5:30 PM Leave work

6:30 PM Eat dinner with friends

8:00 PM Watch TV, read, clean, etc.

10:30 PM Bed!

Graphic Design Job after College
How To Get Into The Field
In school, studied Electronic Media, Arts and Communication. Overall, school projects were more abstract and experimental than the projects that I work on now. While at school, I learned how to use the Adobe Master collection (InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop)—most of this was self-taught out of necessity. Some professors spent time explaining how to use the programs, but most of it we had to figure out on our own.
One thing that school did not prepare me for was client management. When you're a student, all the projects are solely yours. You have complete creative control and direction. However, working with clients is a totally different ball game.

What Do You Really Do?
My current job breakdown is: 30% email and client management, 10% schedule and production management, 5% meetings, 40% production design and 15% new design and creative development.
Most of my day is spent at my desk, since 95% of what I do requires a computer. Because I work for a small studio, I wear many different hats! I spend a good chunk of my day working with clients and getting organized so I can actually design.
Pros/Cons of Your Job
I love that design is functional! My favorite projects involve taking a complex idea and breaking the information down into smaller, clearer pieces (like a conference guide or infographic).

Tour My Beach House

Quick Stats on Virginia Beach, Virginia

Job Opportunities: Medium
Competition for Housing: Low
Housing Cost: High
Population of Young People: Medium
Nightlife: High
Safety: Medium
Biggest Industries: Military (Navy)

The Life of a College Grad In Virginia Beach, VA


College Grad living in Virginia Beach After College

What's it Like to Live Here?
I live in Virginia Beach—a very popular summer vacation spot! I live 3 blocks from the ocean/beach and I love it! There is always something to do here (FREE concerts at the ocean, great night life, museums, aquariums, etc).
Summers are beautiful, warm and last until mid-October. Winters are mild, usually late December to March, and it rarely snows.
The area has a huge military population, which is great! Lots of family-friendly attractions.

How Did I End Up Here?
I grew up in Columbus, Ohio in a typical suburb. When looking at colleges, I knew I wanted to go away and try something new. Rensselaer was a perfect fit for me! After school, I moved to Virginia Beach to be closer to my boyfriend (we met in college and his family is from Virginia). Luckily, I was able to find a great job in Virginia Beach.
My Set-Up
Currently, I live in a ~550sq ft duplex by myself. The house is an old beach cottage with tons of charm. I grew up with 3 sisters, so it was important for me to have my own space. Living so close to the beach is wonderful!

Closing Advice


I wish that I had spent more time learning how to think like a programmer! The most sought-after employees in design are graphic designers who can also program/code. App development is especially hot right now.

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