In 1988, I worked as a graphic artist for Hanlon Brown Design. Things were a lot different 28 years ago. First of all, there were 4 employees, not 18 as currently employed full-time. Paste-up work was still a reality, copy was sent out for typesetting, and Lettraset rub down letters were common for smaller jobs. Computer design was beginning to blossom with PageMaker used for layouts and Freehand for illustration work. One thing hasn’t changed and that’s the tireless leadership and dedication of Noma Hanlon, the agency President and Founder.
In the summer of 2016, I jumped at the opportunity to return to Hanlon Brown and do an “externship” on my old stomping ground, which is now called HB Design. For the last 20 years, I have worked as a high school graphics and photography teacher under a Career & Technical Education certification at Battle Ground High School in Washington State. The opportunity to complete 40 hours of work in a related industry was a perfect fit!
Everyone at HB Design welcomed my visit. On my first day, we started the morning with a companywide meeting called “traffic” where the staff reported on new projects and discussed design resource needs. My time was spent interviewing, shadowing projects, attending internal and client meetings, and generally learning about what goes on day-to-day in a small design agency.
What I learned:
- 28 years later, HB Design continues to run like a well-oiled machine
- Each employee has a title, but play several different roles
- The atmosphere is relaxed and everyone seems relatively happy
- Employees work hard and can be bribed with doughnuts
- Dogs frequently wander the halls and children are welcome
As an educator, I am thrilled to have been provided this opportunity. I will share my experiences with my students and fellow teachers.