Interview with Jazzie Bernabe, Designation Alum and Web Designer at The Gathering Group

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Jazzie Bernabe is a designer, photographer, amateur ukulele-ist, and Designation graduate. Having recently graduated from college and with a few internships and freelance projects under her belt, Jazzie joined Designation to jumpstart her design career, and landed a gig as a Web Designer at The Gathering Group.


Where are you now working, and what is your job title?
I’m the Graphic/Web Designer at a startup named The Gathering Group, a live event production company here in Chicago. We have a couple of music festivals and a number of one-off events under our belts and we’re excited to keep adding more!

Tell us a little bit about your new job!
Since I work in a startup, I’m lucky enough to be able to help with concepts as well as create a visual identity for these really fun events. Once we have the concepts down we create the logo and identity, finalize the talent and production, hammer out a website and start selling tickets to our events.

How would you describe the Designation experience?
My Designation experience was great. I’ve never gone through such an intense program in my life and I loved it every step of the way. I loved learning about all the different facets of design as well as the process of design in the past, how we are designing in the present, and how we will design in the future.

“While I liked the field, I knew there was a lot I needed to learn in order to become a successful designer in the digital age.”

What was the most interesting or useful thing you learned during the cohort?
I learned that your need to invest the same amount of time into expanding your network as you do in creating your portfolio. Meeting the right people can really advance your job search and Designation allows you to do as such.

What are the people at Designation like (including staff, instructor and fellow students)?
The staff and instructors were always very anxious to see what types of designs we came up with. I met so many people from different walks of life- all of whom were as passionate and excited about design as me.

What were you doing before you came to Designation?
Even though I graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a major in Social Psychology, I knew I wanted to get into Graphic Design. I took a handful of Graphic Design classes at SAIC; (realized that it wasn’t as intense as I had hoped) while taking some photography jobs and print internships here and there around the city. While I liked the field that I was in, I knew there was a lot I needed to learn in order to become a successful designer in the digital age. Low and behold, I stumbled upon Designation.

How did you hear about Designation, and why did you decide to come?
I saw a Facebook ad and right off the bat, it peaked my interest. I Googled the program and saw only about a handful of people reading on it (I was in the Bronze cohort- so I go way back). I loved that it not only focused on Visual Design, but also User Interface and User Experience Design; these were the skills that I needed in order to set me apart from the number of other candidates applying for the same jobs as me. Looking at the timeline of 10 weeks, I saw how intense it was going to be. With nothing to lose, I got excited, nervous, and fired up all at the same time and filled out an application hoping for the best!

“Love what you’re doing. If you love what you do, it’ll never feel like work.”

How did Designation help prepare you for your new role?
I have always had the passion for art and design but Designation has given me the direction, insight, and resources to help me become a successful designer.

What was your favorite part of the Designation experience?
My favorite parts of Designation were:

  • Getting the opportunity to work alongside like-minded passionate people. After 10+ weeks of intense workload with your peers, you’re bound to make some pretty lifelong connections
  • Finding this awesome catalyst that would change your career entirely
  • Applying and hoping for that acceptance
  • Coming in and being worked to the bone for 10+ weeks
  • Meeting some really awesome people along the way (as well as having some intense Settler’s of Catan games every so often)
  • Having the satisfaction of adding things like ‘Front-End Dev,’ ‘User Interface Design,’ and ‘User Experience Design,’ onto your skills section in your LinkedIn profile
  • Being able to create an entirely new portfolio filled with awesome well though-out pieces
  • Finally being able to send those portfolios off to a BUNCH of places you would have never been able to apply to before
  • Feeling really proud of yourself by the end of it!

What advice would you give to someone who was trying to break into the industry?
Don’t stop learning! Technology is advancing everyday. Keep reading up on how other people are are designing for these different technologies. Don’t stop meeting people! There are plenty of good people in the world; meet a few and help each other out. Someone is always going to know someone else who is looking for work to be done. Lastly, it’s true; love what you’re doing. If you love what you do, it’ll never feel like work.

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