Graphic Design Graduate Is Production Artist at Eclipse Advertising Where She Works on Disney Plus
California native Emma Higgins received a B.A. in Graphic Design from FIDM in 2019 and was quickly hired as a Junior Art Director at Eclipse Advertising where she worked on art for American Horror Story: 1984 and Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, among other titles. Now, the former FIDM MODE Art Director is a Production Artist on Eclipse’s Disney Plus Production Team where she works on titles such as The Mandalorian, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and Lady and the Tramp, among others.
You graduated last year and already have a great job with Eclipse Advertising. How did your position come about? I graduated in June 2019 and shortly after that, Eclipse’s Creative Director attended FIDM’s Graphic Design Portfolio Review and saw my work. They called me about working as a Junior Art Director at the beginning of July and I accepted the position. Since then, I've been transferred to their Disney Plus Production Team, and I love the projects I get to work on in this role. My current title is Production Artist.
What are your day-to-day responsibilities in your role? Our team handles a lot! We create many pieces for Disney Plus Originals, including laying out the art you see on the app, as well as designing the outdoor print and digital advertising for these shows, movies, and the Disney Plus brand. We’ve been juggling about six titles at a time since it launched, so we’ve been very busy.
You've also worked as a freelancer as well. Other than my day job, I was able to create designs for Riot Society/Universal City Studios. I made the artwork for the Jaws and Halloween shirts during an internship, and I’ve also designed two album art covers for the singer Becca, along with some other freelance work.
How did FIDM help prepare you for your career? One of my strengths going into this job was how prepared I was. Although I still learn new things every day, it made learning the ropes so much easier when I could understand what the clients wanted. Because I had been taught different skills by many different teachers and learned how to adjust accordingly, it trained me to think quickly on my feet. While I was at FIDM, I also had a job, did freelance work, art directed MODE Magazine, and over-delivered on my school projects which prepared me for the massive workloads we handle every day.
At FIDM you won two Graphic Designer of the Year awards. Why do you think you were successful while in college? Honestly, I think my attitude is what helped me stand out. Not only do I try to be positive, professional, and kind, but I also engrained a “hustle mindset” into my routine. I knew that if I worked really hard now that it would pay off later, and it did. I always try to present myself and my work in the best way possible, and going that extra mile to make each project feel unique and special makes them that much more precious to me and those who see it.
What advice would you share with an aspiring Graphic Designer or Art Director? Try things out! Although it might be scary to be in a team or leader position, just go for it! Especially when you’re in school—you have so much freedom to try new things and see if you even like it. I was painfully shy before I started with MODE in 2016, but it gave me opportunities to practice being a leader, take charge of projects, design in new ways, and collaborate with many different kinds of people who had unique perspectives and creative backgrounds. This goes for design too. Whether it’s from inspiration or from your head, try things outside of your comfort zone to explore all the facets of the creative world.
I also would advise that you don’t repeat projects while you’re in school as it makes it more difficult when putting your final portfolio or website together. It can also cause you to get pigeonholed very early on in your career. Disciplining yourself to create new projects forces you to think of ideas you might have never explored unless you went into a project thinking, “What is something I’ve never done before?”
What do you most enjoy about living and working in Los Angeles? I love how close everything is and the diversity of food, sights, people, art, culture, etc. You name it, LA has it (or if not LA, then California)! LA is also full of go-getter people working hard to fulfill their dreams; I’ve met so many people in car rides, through mutual friends, strangers in line, or baristas who are whole-heartedly pursuing their passions—it’s extremely inspiring.