Lauren Hakmiller

Graphic Designer + Illustrator
Kansas City, OK
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I'm designer, illustrator and photographer living in the middle of the United States. I grew up in a creative household, I've been drawing and painting and photographing since my hands allowed. Graphic design found its way into my life 4 years ago and gave me the structure I craved to  nd in  ne arts but always lacked. I just graduated from the School of design at The University of Kansas with a degree in Visual Communications.

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Work Experience
Carpenter Collective
Jan 2019 – Present
Whiskey Design
Design Ranch
Jan 2019 – Present
University of Kansas
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You should select me because

I believe I could offer a unique skillset to WGI, I come from a uniquely fine art background but my desire to create will always find itself in the problem-solving side of graphic design. I've gotten to sharpen my illustration and conceptual skills under the incredibly talented Tad Carpenter in Kansas City. I use my background in photography and styling to my advantage when creating or documenting brands. I have had the opportunity to work at three small sized branding and illustration studios in Kansas City that have shown me what I can only imagine is a small piece of what the professional design world has to offer. At those studios I've learned how to work with clients, how to sell a concept to my art director and not only the client, and I've learned the importance of caring about what you make. I believe I offer a unique perspective in the fact that the middle of America is often overlooked in the creative world. I've lived in the middle of a cornfield; I've grown to love middle. It has impacted my visual storytelling, a soft-spoken perspective that has something to say.

1. Why are you interested in wgi?

I'm interested in the World's Greatest Internship because I'm excited at the possibility for growth. There is only so much you can learn inside the walls of a classroom, I believe the WGI is a perfect case study of any designer's dream situation after graduation; a world class experience in learning from the greats of the world of professional design.

2. What are you looking to gain from an experience such as WGI?

I'm interested in learning how these different design firms, different ecosystems, function cohesively in the name of creativity. I want to study the process and how idea making and creating can work on a larger scale.

3. What would be your goals after completing WGI if you were selected?

I want to do design that delights, I believe there is enough visual noise in the world to go around. I'm interested in designing in the name of joy, I believe good design brings joy to the human experience. My immediate goal would be to learn about the different structures, processes and approaches at the different firms and see what works best for me. Then finding a firm that would allow me to work that way. My long term goal is to one day start my own studio and do design work that makes people happy.

4. How did you hear about wgi?


5. Share an example of a time you were most motivated and a time you were most demotivated.

The most motivated I've ever felt was my sophomore year of college, at a class critique. I'd spent two days working non-stop on a set of infographics that as a sophomore I thought would be the crowning glory of my academic career, I was very wrong. My professor let me know it, he even mentioned that my illustrations looked like someone's first time vectoring - he wasn't wrong. I held onto that for two years, using it as motivation to at the very least be better than I once was. I used it as a reminder that no design is ever going to be sacred, perfect or untouchable by critique. I now get to work for that professor's studio, he doesn't even remember giving me the critique that changed my career. The time I felt most demotivated was when I was the creative director for my university's Art and Literature magazine and due to hold ups with our printer, we were unable to release our magazine on our planned due date. I ended up having to completely redo all of the magazine's images and artwork because we switched from a spot color process to digital. I felt like my co-creative director and I had let down the department, we had missed our shot. I lost my motivation because I worried people wouldn't receive our magazine as well because it came out late, I was wrong to think that.

6. In your opinion, what creates a great culture at a company?

Great culture at a company comes from the care given to the relationships formed. Respect is important because it motivates you to do good work when you look up to those you work with. It encourages you to learn from those around you, and makes your time spent more valuable. Honesty is also important in those relationships; good and honest creative work is born out of a culture that allows every person in the room to have a voice and use it honestly.

7. What brands and companies do you admire and why?

I admire the production company A24, I believe the movies released by A24 tell important stories that aren't often told. They push perspective into the world that don't often get a spotlight with brilliant honesty through their movies. It inspires me as a visual story teller. Brands I admire are those that only stay the same by consistently being open to change, like Medium and Dropbox.

8. What do you do to stay sharp and improve your craft?

I do my best to draw or read every day. For me those are the two best tools to keep a designer's mind sharp; the hand and the head. Keeping those muscles strong keeps a designer on their toes.

9. What’s your favorite quote?

"No one loves authenticity like a graphic designer. And noone is quite as good at simulating it" — Michael Bierut

10. If you could solve one problem in the world what would it be?

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