If you’ve seen Blanton ads in the Austin Chronicle or Statesman, or maybe a billboard on I-35 or South Lamar, then you’ve seen the work of graphic designer Meredith Word. In our latest installment of Behind the Blanton, a series where we profile different staff members, we sat down with Meredith to learn a little bit about her graphic design process and role at the Blanton.
How did you originally get into the graphic design field? What drew you to it?
Meredith: I have always loved design and typography, but for some reason it didn’t occur to me as a career option. I enrolled at the University of Texas at Austin as a Liberal Arts major and after two years realized I wasn’t where I wanted to be. So I took a year off, during which I spent a few months traveling through Europe, and after that I knew I wanted to pursue a career in art. I enrolled in Studio Art and soon after one of my professors told me about UT’s design program—which was relatively new—and thought it would be a great fit. And it was!
Once I have a sense of the project I dive into research. If I’m developing an identity for an exhibition I research the artist(s) and relevant history, typography, etc. Then I start sketching. Every once in awhile I can visualize exactly what the design should look like as soon as I get started. But usually I produce a LOT of rejects before developing three or four good options. Those are circulated to relevant departments for review, followed by a few rounds of revisions and fine-tuning before the design is finalized.
What’s a piece of artwork at the Blanton that you can’t stop looking at?
I vividly remember field trips to UT to see the Blanton’s collection when I was young, and Ellsworth Kelly’s High Yellow always mesmerized me. I found it so serene and hypnotic. I’m still drawn to the vivid colors and graphic simplicity.
How does living in Austin influence your work?
Austin is such a creative city and I am surrounded by so many talented people who inspire me daily: my husband is a landscape designer, my sister is an interior designer, my best friend is a designer/photographer/illustrator, just to name a few. This forces me to constantly challenge myself to create work that is thoughtful and hopefully successful.
Thank you to Meredith for sitting down and chatting with us about her graphic design work and process. Now next time you see a gorgeous image for the Blanton, you’ll know to thank Meredith for it.