#FreshMeatFriday: Designer, McKenzie Ross


By rizeabove / / Get ready, we’re about to share another one of the top young creatives in Minnesota in a feature we like to call: Fresh Meat Friday. If you, or a youngin’ you know, have roughly between 0-5 years of professional experience and a killer book, please—for the love of all that is holy—shoot us an email: [email protected] Now, without further ado, let’s meet McKenzie Ross. Kenzie is a recent B.F.A graduate with a major in graphic design and minor in mass communications at the University of Minnesota. While she was in school, she was a graphic designer with the University of Minnesota College of Design Student Services. Currently, she freelances and is a UX intern at Mirum Agency. Alright, Minneapolis. Let’s get to it. Hi Kenzie, nice to virtually meet you. We’re going to be frank… we dig your book. Your designs are simple, modern and have a uniqueness that is very refreshing. What would you say your career and creative aspirations are? Where do you see yourself in, say, five years? I don’t know if I can pinpoint what I want to be doing in 5 years. Since I just graduated college, it is a huge time of transition and learning for me. I’m constantly finding new things I want to learn more about and try. I could definitely see myself working in Minneapolis in an agency setting. If I’m able to be a creative problem solver and I’m working with awesome people on cool projects, that sounds great to me. Fair enough. It’s always going to be a learning process, but it sounds like you have a good grasp of where you want to be. So, what led you to where you’re at now? I have always been a creative person, but for a long time I didn’t realize I could make a career out of it. I think there were 2 main factors that influenced me to go to school for design- being heavily involved in yearbook and a college and career prep class. While on the yearbook staff, I got to think about new ways to organize content, work with a bunch of awesome people, and design spreads. In my college and career class, I had to take many job assessments, most of which pointed me towards being a creative director. After a job shadow at Curb Crowser in Minneapolis (another requirement of the class), I was interested in the agency atmosphere and being a designer. From there, I ended up at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities College of Design studying graphic design and mass communications. As my years of college flew by, I still wasn’t positive what type of design I wanted to be doing when I graduated. In my second to last semester, I took a User Experience course and it definitely piqued my interest. It’s an interest I wish I would have discovered sooner so that I was able to take more interactive or web classes in school. Luckily, this summer I have the opportunity to be a UX intern at Mirum so I can learn through some real-world experience. Great to see that you had experience with design as early as in your high school days. We’re sure you’ll learn plenty while at Mirum. Now let’s take a look at your work. What are your top three favorite projects? Redesign of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” book cover. As part of my advanced type class, we were assigned to read a book and then create a new cover design. This is one of my favorite projects because I initially struggled with getting past cliches like tattoos and piercings, but I ended up being excited about the outcome. It looks pretty for those who haven’t read the book, but people who have know that the flowers are symbolic of something much darker and deeper. Layers of Connectivity data visualization. This infographic was produced for a class assignment focused on each of our own networks. The class pushed us to be more experimental with ways to show information and I was super excited with how this turned out. The visualization shows a sample of my network and actually contains a lot of information- when/where I met the person, how I would describe our relationship, when the last time I interacted with them was, and which social networks we are connected on. Tracks Trail Packs packaging. This was a fun project because I had never really designed something for kids before. I loved creating a playful and colorful pattern and applying that to the package. Great work. Are there any cool new projects coming up that you can talk about (ad related or not)? If so, what excites you about them? I’m currently in the middle of creating a visual identity for a new executive coaching and consulting group which is really exciting. It is my first freelance project where I am part of the complete development of an initial vision to an identity, website, and other collateral. I can’t wait to see how everything turns out! Other than that, I am really lovin’ experimenting with watercolors right now, but those projects are just for fun. We’re just about ready to wrap up. Just curious, have you won any awards for your work? Maybe someday! Thanks, Kenzie. Check out more of McKenzie’s work on her website: http://www.mckenzie-ross.com And be sure to check out our last feature, Rachel Bachmeier.

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