B.A. Graphic Design Student is Art Director of FIDM MODE Magazine
We recently chatted with FIDM Student Emma Higgins, who will graduate this spring, about her journey to FIDM, her work as the Art Director for FIDM MODE, and why she is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Graphic Design.
Where were you born and raised? I’m from San Diego and Bakersfield, California.
How did you hear about FIDM? What made you want to attend? I originally heard about FIDM from a family friend of ours when I was looking into fashion design in eighth grade. At the time I was looking up other art and design schools, but when I found FIDM, it really stuck out to me. I did the Career Quiz dozens of times, watched all the videos (especially DEBUT), and toured the San Diego campus during my freshman year of high school. Although the campus was beautiful, I didn’t want to have to move twice, so I looked at the L.A. campus and immediately fell in love. I loved how safe and creative the campus felt, and the staff was so nice, informative, and encouraging.
Tell us about being the Art Director of FIDM MODE. How did you get involved and what do you enjoy about it? I got involved with FIDM’s MODE Magazine at first because I was a nail artist for a story in the 12th issue. I was in the middle of my second year, and soon after the photoshoot was done, one of my teachers (who is a MODE advisor) asked me if I’d be willing to be the Art Director. I didn’t have any confidence in myself so I almost turned it down, but my parents encouraged me to get out of my comfort zone and try it. For the last three years/issues, I’ve been working on the magazine as well as schoolwork, jobs, and internships. I found out that I really love creative direction, and I didn’t realize at first how involved my job was going to be. I work on the overall concept/theme, direction at photoshoots, photo selection/editing, as well as graphic design and layouts. I really love every step of the process because they’re all very different, but equally important.
What have been some of your favorite FIDM memories so far? Most of my favorite FIDM memories either come from MODE or my classes. The magazine is an amazing place where I’ve made some great friends and connections, as well as some fun behind-the-scenes memories at photoshoots. Even though it may feel like bootcamp at times, I like my work to be challenged and critiqued so I can constantly improve my skills. Some of the hardest teachers and classes I’ve taken have pushed me to produce some of my best work.
Tell us about any internships/jobs you've had/currently hold while at FIDM. At the same time I started at MODE, I started working at the FIDM Scholarship Store. It was my first job, so I had a lot to learn, but my managers were extremely patient and helpful, and my scheduling went around my classes and the MODE meetings. I learned so much about retail, fabrics, and small talk while I was there. I worked there for two years, and then got an internship at BrandingIron Worldwide (BIW), where I got to work on projects that would be presented to Netflix, Stage13, and Warner Bros. It was an amazing environment to learn about what a graphic designer’s workplace is actually like, and it helped solidify some things I now know I do and do not want to do in my career.
What would you tell someone who is unsure or thinking about pursuing a B.A. degree at FIDM? If you’re unsure if you need a bachelor’s degree before getting a job, I’d say ask people who have your dream job, and see what they say. When I was looking for jobs in the last quarter of my associates degree, most places required a B.A. before they even looked at your resume. For my major, Graphic Design, I think it’s necessary to have a B.A. because not only did I learn so much more about actually branding projects or how to experiment with different programs, but you also make a lot of new connections and are open to opportunities at FIDM than if you had left after two years. The four-year degree give teachers the freedom to teach you more about the industry rather than just teaching you the tools. Having the B.A. also shows how passionate you are about your major, and it’ll help you move up in a company later down the line.
Tell us about the scholarship you received. The only way I was going to go to FIDM was if I had scholarships, and I was able to get quite a few. During my sophomore year of high school, I started a FIDM Fashion Club, and I was the president for three years. At the time, you got a scholarship for being president, and you got another one for being a member, so I got both. I also applied to FIDM when I was a junior in high school, so I got another scholarship for early admission. My church also gave a scholarship to the pastors’ kids, and I also received the scholarship from the FIDM Scholarship Foundation during my B.A.
What are your career goals? Everyone always asks about a ‘dream job’ or what our career goals are, and to be honest, I’m not sure. I enjoy most parts about graphic design and art direction, but I want to wait and see what comes up. I’ll probably try to find a job where I can mainly do creative concepting, but I’m mostly going to trust God to show me where the best for me will be.