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FIDM Design Grad Taylor Afshar

Grad Hired at Minted After Presenting Her Design Thesis in the Interview

As a second year student at FIDM in 2016, Taylor Afshar interviewed for an internship at Minted, an online marketplace of artists and designers. She didn't get the position, but determined to find her place at the company, she applied for another role three years later as she was graduating. This time she sent them the children's book that she wrote, designed, and illustrated as part of her thesis in the Bachelor's of Design program. Through one character’s journey, her story educates, comforts, and encourages type 1 diabetic children to persevere. Taylor's education and qualifications made her the perfect candidate and they hired her. She is now a Merchandise Operations Specialist at Minted in San Francisco and loves it. "Providing the strongest emerging artists in the world a platform to succeed is the most rewarding and exciting part of what we do at Minted," she said. Taylor earned her Associate's in Visual Communications and her Bachelor's of Design with a focus in Graphic Design. We caught up with her to learn more about her journey.

Tell us a little about yourself: I grew up in a suburb of Los Angeles. After graduating high school in 2014, I moved to San Francisco to pursue my Associate's Degree in Visual Communications. Shortly after, I enrolled in the Bachelor’s of Design program, with a focus in Graphic Design. In the Spring of 2019, I was officially a FIDM Alum and a new designer at Minted, a dream company. 

Tell us the story about the book you wrote, designed, and illustrated as a student at FIDM: The creation of the story was driven by a design methodology centered on human values and the deconstruction of type 1 diabetes. As a type 1 diabetic myself, I had explored this deeper throughout my thesis in the Bachelor's of Design program. As I got to know my own work, I got to know myself a little better and with that my design methodology was birthed. Compassion, honesty, and the ambition to produce meaningful design work provides an opportune moment to address what the world lacks. Children with type 1 face losing innocence and optimism while negotiating an illness they do not understand.

Through one character’s journey of self-advocacy and vibrant illustrations, “Hadley’s Wacky Numbers” educates, comforts, and encourages children to persevere. It was one the greatest honors of my life to create this book. 

We'd love to know more about your path to Minted: In 2016, I had applied for an internship at Minted. The opportunity was presented to me by a recruiter I had gotten to know through one of FIDM’s career fairs. The focus was public relations, and despite that not being the field I had been studying at the time, I still felt I was a strong candidate for the role. I took a risk, applied and interviewed, but was ultimately not accepted. I was absolutely crushed. Fast forward to 2019—I was making final edits to my book and applying to jobs all over the country, feeling so very prepared for this new season of life. Confident in the designer I had blossomed into at FIDM, I took another chance and applied for another role at Minted. The role felt too good to be true—it was everything I hoped for and everything I knew I was trained to do. After a few phone interviews, I made it to their headquarters for my final interview, book in-hand, heart bursting out of my chest, and a “Dancing in the Moonlight” hum under my breath. In an instant the interview was done, and in a short instant later my career was finally beginning. I did it.  

What are your responsibilities as a Merchandise Operations Specialist at Minted: As a Merchandise Operations Specialist, I play a critical role in supporting our team with product launches to support our global community of independent artists. This involves processing internal artwork, coordinating launch processes, optimizing designs for high quality customer experience on our site, and preparing designs with the technical standard necessary to meet print quality and fulfillment needs. My responsibilities allow me to collaborate and assist other departments such as, Merchandising, Product Management, and Engineering. I love working for a company that enables the design independence of both consumers and artists around the world. Providing the strongest emerging artists in the world a platform to succeed is the most rewarding and exciting part of what we do at Minted. 

What motivates and inspires you? People. Whether that is a mentor, a family member, a friend—often times, a stranger. I feel so inspired when I have a village before me and a village behind me—we can do so much good together.

Why did you choose FIDM? I knew I wanted to forge my own creative path and traditional colleges didn’t seem like the proper fit. FIDM created such a special and unique environment to not only refine my strengths, but embrace, welcome, and learn from my weaknesses. 

Any favorite FIDM memories? It’s like asking someone what their favorite childhood memory was. It’s difficult to pinpoint - difficult to articulate - but can completely take your breath away. My time at FIDM, was one that was beautifully unique, personal, and changed the trajectory of my life. It should be credited for a lot of who I have become and who I am becoming. It is so important to recognize that all that love, all that laughter, and all that support - that was not a right, but a wonderful gift. FIDM was a home for me, and it always will be. 

How do you feel FIDM prepared you for what you are doing now? I was lucky enough to learn from the very best - at the very beginning. Those were big shoes to fill—and I was going to fill them—more importantly, I was going to honor the sacrifices and time they made for me. 

Any advice for current FIDM Students? Be Brave. Be Purposeful. Be Authentic. Take your time, but don’t waste it. 

What is your biggest goal right now? A small but mighty goal of drinking lots of water, spreading love to those around me, and just laughing every single day.

Learn more about Taylor at taylorafshar.com and follow her on Instagram @taylorafshar.

Categories:  Design Graphic Design Visual Communication Alumni