Friday, September 24, 2010

Dordt Alumni in Design: Rachel Sturing

I graduated in May 2002 with emphases in Graphic Design and Art History, and started working at The Mitographers in Sioux Falls, South Dakota that fall. It is a screen and digital printing company with around 70 employees and customers across the nation and overseas. Our main niche is decals for machinery manufacturing companies, but our digital printer is now running full time with large-scale wall, window, floor, and door graphics also.

When I started, there were 3-4 of us in the art department, but we now have five and keep very busy. Because we are primarily a pre-press department for screen-printing, I had to learn my way around building custom traps, bleeds, overprinting, press sheets, etc., very quickly, but that becomes second nature after a short time.

We work primarily in Adobe Illustrator to get the artwork ready for whichever press it is needed. We also set up how the printed parts will be cut when finished, either by ordering dies from one of our suppliers, or if it is too large like a banner or full-size person cutout, setting up the cut file for the digital cutting table.

The direction we get from customers can be anything from an e-mail explaining what they want, a hand drawn note, a CAD file from an engineer, or (if we are very lucky when in a hurry on a rush order) an Adobe Illustrator file with bleeds already set up! I really enjoy working with such a variety of customers because I like to design artwork for people, but I also enjoy the math and geometry that go into a very technical control panel that has to be exactly right.

And as so many of us art majors seem to do, I’ve also done some side projects that give me something different to work on—posters for concerts at church, senior/engagement pictures, and my latest one was a series of designs for a wedding including the invitations, programs, cake topper, window decal, and dance floor graphic.

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