The Recent Grad Report: Nicole Zigmont

The Recent Grad Report:

Nicole Zigmont

Along with our added "New Work: Student Publications" category, we're starting another series of posts aimed at giving you the inside scoop on the school-to-job transition. Titled "The Recent Grad Report," we'll be featuring designers who have graduated within the past few years--and even some lucky current students--who have successfully made the switch from classrooms to cubicles.

To start the series off, we're featuring a familiar name to those of you who've been checking out last year's Student Design Competition winners and this year's SPD-U event. Not only did 2010 graduate Nicole Zigmont win an internship at Complex with her 4th place competition entry, but she more recently got a full-time job as Assistant Designer at Family Circle. (See where that internship can help take you? Enter the competition now to get your own career jump-start! Entries due March 7.)

So when we were looking for panelists for our "recent grads" discussion session at SPD-U, Nicole was an obvious choice. Read on to hear how she got her start, and be sure to join us on Monday, March 14 to hear more from her and others on making that real world jump.

May 2010 graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology
Bachelors in Graphic Design

Where are you now and what are some of your typical tasks?
Currently I am with Family Circle magazine as the Assistant Designer. Some of my typical duties include designing page layouts, hiring illustrators and working closely with them on concepts, creating food memos which illustrate my creative direction on how I would like my food pages to look, managing contracts and invoices, and scheduling department meetings within the magazine. I also illustrate icons, circulate pages, and review color proofs of each page in the magazine.

What other jobs and/or internships did you have before this?
My first position was with a marketing research firm called Harris Interactive. They hired me on as a design intern where I worked on implementing their new brand in advertisements, case studies, and page layouts. I also did a lot of photo research there, so that was much different than what I'm doing now.
Another position I held was at Complex magazine as an art intern. I did some things there that are similar to what I'm doing now, but Complex had me more focused on the art featured on their website.
My third position was with Industry magazine where I was hired as a temporary freelance designer to work on page layouts. The biggest difference with this job was that it was all done from home, so it was great to experience that.

We know how you got your internship at Complex (ahem, readers: enter the competition now!), but tell us how you got the spot at Harris Interactive.
Through word of mouth. A few of us students were given the information to interview for an internship position.

What's the best part of working so far?
The coolest thing that I have been able to do so far is to include my own illustrations in the magazine. I do a lot of icons, and I hope to do more!

What do you think is the most important lesson you've learned so far?
To not be so hard on myself. I'm learning a lot from my mistakes, and honestly, everyone will make mistakes.

As editorial designers looking for imagery for our publications, we're exposed to tons of photographers, illustrators and other artists. Do you have any current favorites?
My current favorite illustrator would be Gilbert Ford. I had the pleasure of meeting him: he's great, not to mention his fantastic work.

Come hear more from Nicole at SPD-U on March 14. And find her elsewhere online:

Are you a recent grad who's managed to score steady paying work and feel like sharing some of your newfound wisdom? Or maybe you know someone who has and deserves a little shout-out? Then let us know! Email us suggestions at
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