I decided to interview my brother, Cory Emery, because he’s one of, if not the most, talented graphic designers I know. Cory is currently living in Costa Mesa, California and works for Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa as the head graphic designer. I obviously know a ton about him, seeing as how he’s my brother, but it was interesting to pick his brains about his job and get a sense of what he does to pay the bills. I asked him five questions, which I’ll post below, but before I get into that let me show you some of his work!
These are just a few examples of the stuff he’s been working on lately. As you can see, he has great instincts and knowledge of how to design correctly, and he has a distinct style about his work that is really appealing and dynamic. Now that you know a little about him and what he’s been up to, let’s dive into the interview.
Forrest: Why did you decide to pursue graphic design, and how did you get started once your interest was sparked?
Cory: I’ve always been into art. As a kid I wanted to be a cartoonist. My parents got me a MAC TV when I was in 5th grade, which was around the same time Toy Story came out and, because of that movie, I thought it would be really fun to make CG cartoons. I started messing around with different art programs but didn’t do anything serious and eventually stopped due to the career path I ultimately decided to take. I went into another line of work and put the art on the back burner, but once I became a youth pastor I realized I needed shirts and flyers and logos and all kinds of graphics so I bought Photoshop and started getting back into design. Along with Photoshop, I used Illustrator and Streamline and sought help from people who were more advanced than me. I also looked online for tutorials and taught myself how to do most of the things I do today.
Forrest: Describe a typical day at the office for you, from a graphics standpoint.
Cory: The way our system is setup, when someone wants a graphic they fill out a form with their request and I get emailed that form with details on the graphic that’s needed. Then, the team and I decide who’s best to handle the project and go from there. I try and only have a few projects going at any one time and delegate the rest so that I don’t get overwhelmed, and neither does anyone on my team. A good portion of my time is spent meeting with clients and working through what exactly they want so I can produce what they’re looking for. I try not to start any projects until I have enough information and feel confident that I can make what the client wants.
Forrest: If you had to choose your favorite thing about being a graphic designer, what would it be?
Cory: “The win,” which I describe as creating a graphic that the client really likes, but that’s not all. It’s great to make a graphic that a client likes, but when I make something that I really like as well is when I’m the most satisfied. I love hearing positive feedback but sometimes I can feel a bit disconnected from my work because it’s not always something near and dear to me, but if I really like it and the client does as well, it’s immensely satisfying. It’s also really rewarding to see my work being used on banners or screens or whatever it is that they’re used on.
Forrest: In contrast to your favorite thing, tell me about the most challenging part of working on graphics, and, would you say that this is, in turn, the most rewarding part of your job?
Cory: The most challenging part would be the process of working on a project and not being able to quite get it to look like what the client wants. The constant back and forth and tweaking of a project can be taxing, but it is quite rewarding to finish it off and be done with it. Although it is rewarding, it can also be frustrating at times because sometimes the client is just never happy and I will try and fix things for them but there’s nothing I can do to change their mind. In general though I do consider finishing a difficult project one of the the most rewarding parts of my job.
Forrest: Lastly, do you have a particular type of graphic you like to work on the most? For example, event graphics, logos, etc.
Cory: Working with vectors or vector based graphics is probably the most fun. I like working with black or single color, single design graphics because when I can create a graphic and make it look awesome at it’s most simple form it’s extremely satisfying. No matter how someone sees that logo it will look really good. This can be extremely challenging because I rely less on color and style and more on pure design instinct, which can be a pain at times, but when I’m able to pull it off it’s really cool.
Well, that wraps up the interview. I hope you enjoyed reading what it’s like to be a graphic designer and seeing some of my brother’s awesome work!