Mandee’s goal was to become a well-rounded designer when she began to study graphic design in 2012. She started at CCV in an associate’s program and then transferred to what is now Vermont State University. Now a 2021 graduate with three degrees — a bachelor of fine arts in graphic design, a bachelor of arts in visual communications, and an associate of science in photography — and a full-time job in the field, Mandee has reached her goal and then some.
Originally, Mandee saw herself working for a travel and cooking magazine — “Food photography is where I excel!” she said. But today, she’s a full-time designer at Louis Garneau in Derby, Vermont, one of six people on the custom graphic design team designing cycling jerseys for global customers. “I love it!” she said.
Mandee started her position less than three months after graduation and said she is “designing something different every day for different people.” A highlight of her work so far: When she sent three jersey set design samples to a client in Las Vegas, and “he couldn’t easily decide which was his favorite because he loved them all!”
Mandee was a commuter student and worked full-time throughout her college years at North Country Hospital, where she held the position of unit clerk on the medical surgery floor for 17 years. An essential worker through COVID, working 120 hours each pay period of her graphic design job, she says, “Now I don’t even feel like I’m going to work!”
A self-described “metal head” who has “loved the energy of the music since she was a kid,” Mandee also maintained a steady freelance business designing logos and fliers for metal bands throughout her college years. She also designed more than fifty show posters for a podcast out of Louisiana.
Her love of metal has taken her to really interesting places in the world for festivals and has ignited her love of other cultures. (Even her wedding day is planned for a festival location — Psycho Las Vegas!)
Mandee found the teachers very supportive and receptive to her questions and was inspired by everyone’s work. “We were like one big family,” she said. She especially looked forward to the annual friendly competitions within the arts department and was excited to win first place for her very first watercolor painting.
Each class and professor offered something different and had different expectations, she said, adding that “Kelly’s (Glentz Brush) classes challenged me and pushed me to be a better designer.”
With her final thesis, Mandee dug right into the kind of work she envisioned for herself at the very start and created a 52-page magazine from front to back, including illustrations and food photography. “Doing it solo really made me appreciative of all the people it takes to put magazines together,” she said.
Looking ahead, she’s excited to “not only share my ideas and imagination with people but also help clients bring theirs to life.”