Interview with Dave Litterio, Art Director Intern at Edelman

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Dave Litterio is a Kobi Cohort alum. A former photographer and track coach, Dave came to DESIGNATION to pursue a more creatively fulfilling career, and now works as an Art Director Intern at hot Chicago ad agency Edelman.


Where are you now working, and what is your job title?
I am working at Edelman as an Art Director Intern.

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Tell us a little bit about your new job!
Well, Edelman is the leading Communications Marketing agency with a pretty new and rapidly growing creative department. As an art director intern, I am working with a copywriter intern as well as the other creative team members working on different brands. I am primarily with the ConAgra Foods account helping where needed from creative conception to mockups to final production. I get tossed around other teams as well. Some of it’s grunt work, but I get to have a hand in some pretty cool social content. Slim Jim’s Facebook is making some pretty rad “Stuff”.

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How would you describe the DESIGNATION experience?
The experience was pretty one of a kind for me. While I had to sacrifice a summer being indoors 70 hours a week, I spent more time in Chicago during those 3 months than the rest of my 27 year long southwest suburban life. Being in 1871 was interesting knowing that a lot of successful start ups…well…started there. Having been thrown so much information about UX, UI, and Front-End Dev was quite overwhelming and I think everyone wanted to learn everything. But things started to fall into place once we started working on projects. The client project phase is a great thing because you never know what it could lead to. After the program, I was offered some contract work for a new project from my first client.

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What was the most interesting or useful thing you learned during the cohort?
The most interesting and useful thing is seeing other students’ designs. It’s fun to see different styles and can also spark new ideas for your own designs. Learning about User Centered Design and how that strategy can make a huge difference in the success of a project. While I was concentrating on User Interface, I also sparked an interest in art direction after our branding workshop.

What are the people at DESIGNATION like (including staff, instructor and fellow students)?
The people are very diverse. Coming from different places around the world (Cedric, I’m virtually looking at you, Mauritius Man.) Kobi only had 3 Illinois natives out of the 16. Everyone is very knowledgable and willing to help if you ask for it.

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What were you doing before you came to DESIGNATION?
Before DESIGNATION, I was a track coach at my high school coaching shot put and discus. I was also working as a photographer for 4 years prior to bolding leaving the studio without anything lined up.

How did you hear about DESIGNATION, and why did you decide to come?
DESIGNATION came up while I was doing my own research and learning about UX/UI. I was really interested in the combination of psychology and visual design of UX/UI and the principles of User Centered Design. So when I was trying to find a way to quickly get into formally learning, I looked into General Assembly and DESIGNATION. Obviously the latter won as I’m writing this alumni interview. But DESIGNATION seemed to have a stronger curriculum that I could learn a lot from.

“I looked into General Assembly, but DESIGNATION seemed to have a stronger curriculum that I could learn a lot from.”

How did DESIGNATION help prepare you for your new role?
Learning User Centered Design to direct your creative strategy toward what is accepted of the target audience is big at Edelman. It’s not necessarily referred to as UCD, but the strategy translates. Also the ability to iterate (buzzword!, you’ll hear that a lot!) one direction then go completely the opposite direction to come up with different styles helps develop strong content. Granted, my role at Edelman isn’t in UX or UI, learning how to develop case studies and articulate my design thinking helped get my internship.

What was your favorite part of the DESIGNATION experience?
I’d have to say one of the top favorites is sharing the deliciousness that is Blackwood Barbeque with my classmates then diving back in, trying to refocus on designing out my client projects.

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What advice would you give to someone who was trying to break into the industry?
Definitely do as much as you can during the virtual phase. It will get you that much more ahead of the game and more comfortable for in class. And as everyone else says, get feedback and ask questions as much as you can…oh and Blackwood BBQ.

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