FIDM Alumna Esmie Molina Finds Success As Key Art Designer
FIDM Grad and Graphic Designer Esmie Molina transitioned from intern to full-time employee at design firm WC+A back in 2018, and has been happily working there ever since. The firm specializes in designing key art for movies and television shows. “I was always on the computer from a very young age and I always had a big imagination. When Blockbuster was still around, I would walk through the aisles inspired by all the posters. Little did I know that I would later become a part of the key art industry.”
Esmie grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from Venice High School before heading to FIDM. She earned an A.A. in Visual Communications and a B.A. in Design (Graphic), finishing her studies in 2018. We asked her to tell us more about her work.
Tell us about your position at WC+A. What does the company do? What are your responsibilities? WC+A is an advertising agency that specializes in key art, the visuals used to advertise movies, television, and other entertainment media. I'm currently a Junior Art Director with them. I design title treatments, conceptualize ideas, design key art, and art direct photographer meetings for key art gallery shoots. We work with clients like Netflix, HBO Max, Disney, & Hallmark Channel.
How are you enjoying the role? Is it a good fit? I am enjoying my role. I learn so much every day. There's always something new to discover in Photoshop. I work with amazing and talented individuals. I wake up motivated to start my day. It's a blessing to be able to work remotely from a different country as well (I currently work from Mexico, though the company is based in Los Angeles). The pandemic has changed the traditional working environment and has provided an opportunity, especially for graphic designers, to become digital nomads and it has really helped with work-life balance.
Why did you choose FIDM for your education? My mom suggested it as she has a friend who graduated FIDM as a shoe designer and was working for Sketchers and is quite successful.
I also didn't want a traditional job. I wanted a job where I could work remotely if I wanted a family in the future. Also, I wanted a job that was fun. I didn't know what I wanted to pursue exactly, but I knew what I didn't want. The process of elimination helped me find my dream job.
How did FIDM help prepare you for this position? FIDM was tough in a great way. I learned how to become more resilient, how to manage stress, and how to be competitive. I learned how to be a designer. Being a designer is much more than being artsy; it's about being presentable, being able to sell your ideas, being a brand, and being professional. FIDM also taught me time management as well as the discipline needed to survive in this industry. I had great instructors who were honest and also nurturing about the creative process. They helped me see designs through a different lens. I'm glad I went to FIDM and not a traditional university. I felt like my instructors really had time for each of us since it was a smaller group and they really wanted us to succeed. I met the creative director for WC+A through one of my instructors, Tracy Weston. I love how FIDM introduces us to professionals in the industry and presents many opportunities to network.
What advice do you have for FIDM students as they start their careers? Keep up your image and presentation. Image as a designer is very important. Don't procrastinate. As soon as you have to do something it's best to get it out of the way right away. Take care of your mental health. In order to be creative your headspace and mindset are very important. Pick a career that fits the lifestyle you want to live and the salary you want. "Find something you are passionate about and you'll never work a day in your life." I always used to think that was so cliche but honestly it's so true. Some days do feel like work because of the workload but most days I'm having fun! Become great friends with your instructors and stay in touch with them after graduation. Intern. Intern. Intern. Work and go to school. I know it's hard to juggle but these experiences will be worth it in the long run. If you want to work remotely find a major/career path that will allow for that.
Anything else you’d like to share? Learn how to be your own teacher and motivator. Discipline is important. In this day and age, there are so many creative opportunities out there. It just takes confidence and drive to go after them. You can genuinely do anything you put your mind to but first believe in yourself and have a solid plan for the path you want to take. Breaking up big goals into very small pieces has helped me. Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear is a great book to help you build your future.
At the end of the day, remember to have fun! :) Travel as much as possible, meet as many new people as possible, and try as many new things as possible! This will inspire your creative journey and add dimension and depth to your persona.