Designing a Career You Love

Headshot by Kelly Blumberg

When it comes to entering the workforce, there is no magic formula. There are many paths to a great career, and a company’s success often depends on different skills and perspectives. That certainly applies to creative professions such as designers, creative directors, illustrators, graphic artists, visual designers, copywriters, web designers, and more.

To learn more about art jobs, we spoke to Kelly Blumberg, director of graphics at Old Navy. She shared insights on her journey to a creative career she loves and how club kids interested in art can build their own successful artistic careers.

As the number of creative jobs continues to grow, she also reminded us that creatives and art are vital to a brand’s success, because creatives literally create a brand! Without key creative positions within a company (and brilliant minds to fill those positions), there would be no product, no online presence, and no story to tell. Find out more about how young people can use their artistic talents in a job they love.

What are careers in art?

While many people literally equate jobs in the arts to make art, Kelly reminded us that creative careers span a variety of skills and roles. In fact, there are several departments at companies like Old Navy that are directly influenced by creative approaches.

Creatives often work cross-functionally to find solutions to problems that revolve around efficiency, cost-effectiveness and operations. Some examples of creative roles at a company like Old Navy include:

  • creative director – Determines the brand’s creative vision and oversees the creation of digital and print materials to support that vision
  • designers – This is an all-encompassing title that fits into a variety of departments including product or pattern design
  • Digital Designers – Members of the creative team, which includes web or application designers, graphic designers and UX (user experience) designers
  • Creative strategist – A member of the marketing team who focuses on overall marketing and promotional plans and creative solutions to corporate strategy
  • Visual Merchandiser – Attracts and motivates shoppers by creating dynamic visual product presentations and store environments
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Modern companies like Old Navy benefit from a creative mindset throughout the organization. Therefore, the visual arts and creative strategy play an important role. Being a creative strategist means thinking outside the box and coming up with solutions to business challenges. For example, a strategist in the apparel industry can develop new ways to reduce waste or continuously improve the sustainability of apparel designs.

Go creative

Kelly did not follow a traditional journey in her artistic career. A self-taught designer, she was guided by her interests and a desire to simply say “Yes indeed.” She explored the courses available to teach herself the basics – and dived in with curiosity and determination. From there, she took on as many creative jobs as possible to gain hands-on experience in the real world. “Hands-on learning is so powerful,” she says, “and today we have a world of resources at our fingertips to learn anything through platforms like YouTube.”

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Based on her experience, Kelly advises club kids to try different things. She recommends exploring different creative avenues until passion kicks in. Kelly realized through her experiments that creating art for the things she loves is not only a work opportunity but also extremely rewarding on a personal level.

With a career idea in mind, young people can choose their path to achieve the role of their dreams. For some, that might mean taking a more traditional route, like going to design school. For others, a non-traditional approach may be more appropriate. This includes finding online tutorials, creative mentors, and even projects for hands-on experiences.

Advice for young creative people

Kelly is a big advocate of the non-linear path to a creative career. When asked what advice she would give to club kids who are interested in creative jobs but don’t know where to start, her answer was simple: try everything

Here are five more tips for club kids:

Be curious and open to possibilities and then say “yes” to them, even if you’re not sure how to do them. There are countless ways to learn today, including free tutorials or boldly asking for advice from others in the field.

Use available resources. We have infinite resources at our disposal. Use the available tools – from YouTube videos to webinars to classroom courses or workshops – to develop your skills.

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Find a mentor by talking to other creators and asking for advice, insight or guidance. Finding a mentor is a great way to learn about a new career from someone already in the field, and many creatives are happy to share their experiences with aspiring professionals.

Give yourself space to create and try different things in different ways. The path becomes clearer for young people who recognize when their passions are activated. Let your unique style take shape!

be brave be humble and get out there. Do not give up! It can sometimes be scary to have the courage to share your point of view with the world. But it can lead to amazing possibilities.

Discovering jobs in art starts here

Boys’ and girls’ clubs across the country help young people discover and pursue their passions for the creative arts. Through mentoring and exploratory learning, club kids can find their way in an immersive way so they are ready for an artistic career when the time is right. Learn more about how clubs support children to be confident in their arts.

Old Navy has supported Boys & Girls Clubs for 20 years – a true legacy partner. Old Navy’s partnership combines in-store fundraisers with local engagement and employee volunteerism to help young people dream big.

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