This month our Member Spotlight shines on Natalie Harris!
Tell us a little about yourself. What is your current job?
In a past life, I worked as a caseworker at a housing advocacy non-profit & a reproductive healthcare non-profit, both in Washington, DC, before moving to Philadelphia about 5 years ago. In 2016 I went back to school to get my BFA in graphic design at Tyler School of Art. Currently, I’m interning with Steve DeCusatis at his design studio, which has been really great so far. I work on everything from layout and logo design to promotional animations. This summer I was working full-time at the Institute of Contemporary Art as a graphic design intern, which was also a really amazing experience and opportunity. In addition, I also do pet-sitting/dog-walking on the side, and occasionally pick up shifts working as a barista at Elixr, a coffee shop in center city.
What do you geek out about?
I try not to discriminate with my geekiness. I enjoy nerding out about everything from contemporary art, fashion & queer Latin American fiction to reality TV, coffee & the latest true crime podcast.
Why design? What inspires you to do the work you do?
I’ve always enjoyed drawing, crafts & making things in general. I really love design for many reasons. I love working with type. I also enjoy the challenge of visual distillation. I think as designers we’re often presented with really complex problems, and we have to create something that is distilled but maintains and communicates complexity & depth, which is an interesting challenge. This is something I’m particularly interested in because I think our world seems to have become increasingly reductive.
Who helped get you here?
My number one would be my partner Brian. He helps me remember not take life too seriously and always keeps me laughing, which is important because I can get stressed out with the workload of work and school at times. Also, all of the Tyler GAID faculty have been super supportive in and outside of the classroom. Also family and friends, of course 🙂
How long have you been an AIGA member? Why did you join?
I joined AIGA back in 2016 when I started school. I remember Kelly Holohan at Tyler mentioning to the students that we should join and talked about all the events AIGA sponsors. It seemed like a good opportunity to meet people working in the design industry in Philly while I was still in school.
What do you enjoy most about the Philadelphia Chapter of AIGA?
The events are great! One I really enjoyed was the Coffee & Critique event at Ink & Mortar. It was a cool opportunity as a student to see a wide range of portfolios, both student and professional. You also don’t have to bring work to be critiqued if you don’t feel ready to do that. I didn’t show any work, but it was still really helpful to see everyone’s work and hear their critiques.
What gets you through a rough day?
Hanging with the dogs I take care of and Brian, my partner, watching The Great British Bake Off, doodling or journaling.