Art Director at Wyndham Vacation Ownership’s
Krista Spaulding Art Director at Wyndham Vacation Ownership’s
Where do you work and what is your current title?
I am currently the freelance Art Director for Wyndham Vacation Ownership’s owner-facing publications. This includes Club Wyndham Faces + Places magazine, WorldMark by Wyndham Destinations and Desti
Please tell us a little bit about yourself & your background.
I grew up in Falls Church, VA which is a suburb of Washington D.C. After college I worked in the DC area as a graphic designer for a few years before relocating to Orlando, FL where I bounced around as a freelance designer for about 3 years. This is where I began my relationship with Wyndham.When I decided to move back to Virginia the work came with me.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a designer?
In high school I was introduced to graphic design through a vocational program. It seemed to be something I naturally excelled in so I stuck with it. Going through college my obsession was corporate identity and non-profit based work, oddly enough my least favorite thing was publication design. I ended up getting thrown into it when I was working at the Wyndham Corporate office in Orlando, Florida. The rest is history.
What was your first design job? Any interesting stories about how you broke into the field?
My first industry job was working the graveyard shift designing newspaper ads. It didn’t do much for my conceptual thinking, but it prepared me for working under pressure and nailing tight-deadlines. From there I moved to my first “trendy firm” gig, which initially seemed exciting but ended up being absolutely dreadful. After that I bounced around, working for a printer, an advertising agency, freelancing, more trendy firms, and a couple corporate in-house departments. I learned everything I could from each and every one.
Please describe a normal day at your current job. What’s the workflow like? What are your primary responsibilities?
On average my days are pretty hectic and work can frequently bleed over into the weekend. I am generally working on two to three magazines at a time and constantly juggling. There is lots of emailing. Deadlines are hard in publishing, so its do or die all the time. My responsibilities as art director are to create and maintain visual identities for each of the magazines; develop all visual concepts for the publications from front-of-book to back-of-book pages and feature stories; oversee and create layouts; research and choose all photography and illustrations to be used within the magazine and on the cover; and work closely with editorial staff to create, control and edit content to fit the needs of the audience. Basically, I do it all.
Are there any memorable war stories, client interactions or close calls that have taught you something important about how things work?
What’s a common mistake you often see entry level designers make? What are some tips to avoid or overcome it?
Young egos getting in the way of performance. In my experience many young designers are more concerned with protecting the integrity of their art and playing things way too close to the chest when it comes to dealing with client/professional feedback. Most of the time missing an effective solution in the process
We are always creating, but it is important to remember we are not creating for us. We are professional artists hired to effectively communicate the visions of our clients/company/story. We are here to solve problems… and occasionally make things pretty.
Any industry sites or blogs you read on a regular basis, or anything else you read for inspiration?
I’m super boring so if I have any free time to actually read something its usually the news. However I do read the Daily Heller from Print magazine, and I am a member of the Society of Publication Designers and frequently visit their site (SPD.org). I also subscribe to tons of magazines so I am always absorbing every time I pick one up. But if I really need a quick and easy inspiration fix I’ll hit up Pinterest.
There’s something new and amazing coming out every day. What’s something awesome you’ve seen recently that you’re dying to share, or something you’re excited about?
I am in love with the Microsoft Surface laptops. Unfortunately I can’t bring myself to switch to PC so I’ll just have to wait until Apple decides we are worthy of this technology. I am also excited about self-driving cars, and almost any advances in health technology.
What advice would you give to someone trying to break into the industry?
Try everything. Don’t be afraid to take something on even if it wasn’t what you had in mind. Eight years ago I would have rather chewed broken glass than design a magazine. Now I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. You never know what you may be good at, or what you may actually like. And don’t be afraid to move on if things aren’t working.
What do you think is the future of your industry?
Hard to say, but definitely everything moving to an online format. It’s cheaper, easier, more accessible and better for the environment. I can’t bring myself to say print is dead, I don’t completely believe that.