From Print to Products: How One Designer Communicates.
Barb Paulini Nelson
BFA Graphic Design (now Communication Design) | 1988
Art Director, Studio Paulini
“An internship at a local ad agency proved extremely beneficial; not only was I able to gain valuable experience, I was able to network and engage socially with others in my field.”
From billboards to catalogues to websites and packaging, thousands of messages are directed at us each day. We are surrounded by communication, and no one knows it better then Barb Paulini Nelson. Serving as an Art Director for over a decade, Paulini Nelson was a fountain for new ideas, creating design work for a large number of clients and various specifications, overseeing a team of designers, and building strong relationships with businesses. Later, she took the knowledge she had gained and opened her own design business. Paulini Nelson says “Interdisciplinary Design” best describes the work her firm is doing which includes crafting interiors, identities, and impressions, and soon, product design.
Q. What was the most valuable thing that you learned at MIAD, and how has your MIAD education affected where you are today?
A. The awareness and discovery of purpose, the celebration of different perspectives, and the acceptance of the gift that is inherent in each of us–I believe are the guides that have forged my path as a designer. And I know, for certain, that my education at MIAD celebrated and encouraged the investigation of these ideas.
Q. What’s the one thing you would tell a high school student who is considering attending MIAD now that you’ve experienced life after graduation?
A. One of the beneficial things about MIAD is the location. Milwaukee is a non-intimidating city environment. It’s easily accessible, and relatively inexpensive during those first few years away from home.
Q. Are there any parts of your résumé or career experience that you’d like to share?
A. In my career I have accomplished most of what I dreamed of as a student — having been published in national design periodicals, journals, and award publications; yet, my greatest successes are the client relationships I’ve been a part of, and the growth of their businesses due to our shared vision, our working together to determine and execute the best design plans to help them meet their goals.
My view of myself as a designer shifted drastically eight years ago when, after serving agencies as an Art Director for twelve years, I opened my own business. “Interdisciplinary design” are the words that best capture the scope of my firm’s work. I now craft interiors, identities, and impressions, incorporating my aesthetic vision into all aspects of a business, life, or space. Soon, I hope to continue this growth by branching out further into product design.
Q. Can you define how you’ve seen your major change since leaving school?
A. The industry has changed significantly over the years — however, one steadfast rule from my educational experience continues to resound — even in our current technologically sophisticated society; idea and execution are everything, and when that can take center stage is when you’ll shine through as a designer.