My name is Tommy Treadway, and although it makes me extremely sad, my time as a Designer here at EMU Marketing is finally coming to close. I wanted to share a little bit about my experience here, and how big of an impact it has had on my time here at the UO. Prior to joining EMU Marketing in Fall 2014, I was pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Digital Arts as a Junior. As one of the smaller programs here at the UO, Digital Arts covers a wide range of subject matter: including everything from fine arts (ceramics, painting, illustration) to typography, programming languages, immersive experiences, and much more. While studying at the UO, I found myself most passionate at the intersection of eye-catching design and engaging, intuitive experiences.
Knowing that graduation was just one short year away, I began evaluating prospective companies that were of interest to me, and the requirements necessary to land a position at these companies. Although I was extremely confident in my formal design training and creative abilities, I knew that without having hands-on professional experience, landing a job right out of college would prove very difficult. Getting a job right out of college is the ultimate catch 22: You need to have experience to get a job in your field, but how do you get experience in your field if nobody will give you that initial opportunity? Intimidated (and slightly nervous), I began searching for open positions in the Eugene area, in hopes to find a position that would allow me to exercise and challenge my design skill-set, but most importantly help me grow in my professional attitude and persona. I couldn’t have asked for a better position than the one I found with EMU Marketing. The opportunities they allowed me to explore, and the mentorship they provided me with significantly improved both the quality my schoolwork, as well as my trajectory towards future jobs/employers.
In its essence, EMU Marketing is a cross between a marketing and design agency, as well as a student training ground. It is the perfect opportunity for those with little professional experience, but with great drive and passion to grow and learn from people who are both established, knowledgable, and not to mention incredible mentors. EMU Marketing tells stories at the University of Oregon through print, digital, as well as web platforms, which perfectly complimented the diversity of my Digital Arts degree. When I began at EMU Marketing, the most difficult part of transitioning into the job for me was learning to approach things with a sense of practicality and poise. In my schoolwork, I was (for the most part) given total conceptual freedom to experiment and produce whatever kind of work I wanted, no matter how abstract or ridiculous. This made the transition into having to adhere to branding/style guides, colors, resolutions, and spec sizes particularly difficult for me. However, I can now attest that this skill is highly valued by employers, and has definitely given me a leg-up on other recent college graduates.
Reflecting back on my college experience, I learned some of my most valuable lessons in professionalism and collaboration, which came not from my professors, nor through schoolwork, but rather my mentorship with EMU Marketing. My experience here has left me confident in my ability to not just design and create eye-catching imagery, but to effectively identify and solve complex communication problems with careful conceptual development. The best thing about EMU Marketing, was that it’s never about being pixel-perfect or not making any mistakes, those things are actually encouraged. What is valued most is your work ethic, passion, and drive to learn and improve upon your own skills. School at the U of O was great, and I’ll always be thankful for the diversity of mediums my Digital Arts degree exposed me to, but I would be nowhere near as ready as I am now for the professional world had I not spent a year working with EMU Marketing. Im extremely grateful to have been given this opportunity, and I hope someday I can give back as much back to EMU Marketing as they have given to me.