Blinn sophomore turns passion into a career through Graphic Design Program

Internship at AlphaGraphics turned into a career opportunity for Johnathan Murphy

Internship at AlphaGraphics turned into a career opportunity for Johnathan Murphy

October 18, 2018

Blinn College sophomore Johnathan Murphy knew it was time for a career change when he struggled to find meaningful work during the recent oil industry recession.

Looking for a career that challenged and inspired him, the College Station native was perusing Blinn’s website for ideas when he spotted the Graphic Design Program. After reviewing the degree requirements and job prospects, Murphy knew this was the perfect opportunity to turn his passion for creative arts into a career.

“I have always had a knack for the arts, but I never thought about graphic design and marketing as a career option,” Murphy said. “What enticed me to the program was that it included many of my hobbies, including videography, photography, and photo editing, all in one degree plan.”

Graphic designers create and assemble graphics and marketing pieces such as logos, packaging, and brochures, to help organizations present accessible and memorable information. Blinn’s Graphic Design Program equips aspiring graphic designers, as well as desktop publishers, web designers, illustrators, and small business owners, with the creative and technical skills needed to succeed in the industry.

As part of the 60-hour Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in graphic design, Murphy’s courses cover a variety of designing topics, including digital imaging, page layout, computer illustration, and web design. In addition to the coursework, he recently underwent a 225-hour internship with AlphaGraphics in Bryan, where he worked shoulder-to-shoulder with industry professionals, assisting with the graphic design, printing, and delivery process.

Upon completion of his internship, Murphy was hired to work as a part-time graphic designer for AlphaGraphics.

“Murphy was our first intern, and it could not have worked out better for us,” said Jason Carranza, Murphy’s supervisor at AlphaGraphics and former coordinator of Blinn’s Graphic Design Program. “A well-rounded designer can take on a variety of jobs if they effectively know the technology. Murphy quickly absorbed everything we were teaching him and was willing to work where we needed him.”

Blinn’s Graphic Design Program caters to an array of students, including those looking to attend school full-time or working professionals seeking to refine their skills or learn a new trade. Although prospective students should possess a strong artistic ability, no special skills or prior experience are needed to succeed in the program.

Students may take courses toward a 12-hour Occupational Skills Award (OSA), which can be taken entirely online; a 42-hour Level I Certificate; or a 60-hour AAS degree. Students often earn an OSA in their first semester, gain an entry-level graphic design position, and continue working toward their certificate or AAS degree.

“This program provides strong career opportunities for the student who may not be interested in pursuing an academic track,” Program Coordinator Tim Weaver said. “Our faculty’s mission is to help students develop a workplace-competent portfolio and teach them skills in Adobe Creative Cloud so they are fully prepared to tackle a variety of creative tasks in the workplace.”

Program graduates are qualified for jobs in graphic and web design firms, as well as to start their own businesses. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, graphic designers in Texas can expect an average annual salary of $49,570. In the Brazos Valley, the average hourly wage for a graphic designer with some college experience was $20.63 in 2017. 

In addition to hands-on learning opportunities using Adobe Creative Cloud programs such as Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop, and Premiere, students learn and practice in a lab equipped with both Apple Mac and Windows computers. The program features high-quality commercial printers, a professional Canon scanner, and camera and video equipment. Students design on both Mac and Windows operating systems, so they are fully prepared to use the equipment at their future place of employment.

“The technological and creative skills we learn in the classroom transfer directly into the workforce,” Murphy said. “My favorite aspect of the job is designing artwork for clients. I enjoy communicating with them to understand exactly what design they have in mind, so we are both satisfied with the final product.”

Murphy is on track to graduate from Blinn with an AAS degree in graphic design in May 2019 and will continue his career with AlphaGraphics as a full-time graphic designer.

“I like how this program is built for students looking to go directly into the workforce after graduation,” Murphy said. “I still have quite a bit to learn, but Blinn has set me up for a successful career in graphic design.”

For more information regarding Blinn’s Graphic Design Program, visit www.blinn.edu/graphic-design or contact Weaver at tim.weaver@blinn.edu.

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