Arrin Bristow, Graphic Designer

  • Name: Arrin Bristow

  • Education: B.A. Arts and Visual Technology, George Mason University
  • Target Audience: Middle School

Being a graphic designer is a tale of two loves; art and technology. Ever since she was a quiet kid, Arrin Bristow, who works as the Graphic Designer for the Kids Ahead Program was instilled with values including a strong work ethic and the importance of education. Read on to find out what makes Arrin’s occupation such a cool job!

Describe an average day at work?

imageThere isn’t one! Every day is different. Some of my responsibilities include working on social media, such as Twitter and Facebook. Ensuring my team stays connected to the outside world is paramount when trying to inspire kids, parents and educators through a virtual world! In addition to using my skills for the graphics you see throughout our websites, I also get to use my creative side through designing flyers for the program’s day-camps and brochures for SMU.

What is the best part about your job?

One of the coolest aspects of my job is that I get to work from home, while still being part of team! I stay connected to co-workers through video-conferencing, long distance calls and traveling to SMU for visits. Although, I love the experiences gained through traveling, I don’t enjoy the airport lines or leaving my family, which includes a spirited dog named Stella! Above all, I love making a difference for kids.

Interesting Bytes: Arrin’s Mother is an elementary school teacher and in college Arrin was a substitute teacher and a high-school crew coach.

What were you like as a kid?

Very shy! Not to mention, really busy. My family was very active and I guess I followed suit. As a kid I participated inimage soccer, gymnastics, played the piano and in high school I joined the crew team. It was not until college however, that I really came out of my shell. Now that I work for Kids-Ahead, I’m is in a position where I have to be especially outgoing.

Interesting Bytes: Arrin not only rowed crew, but enjoys other H2O sports such as wakeboarding , tubing and water skiing.

What were your favorite subjects in school?

I have always loved applying my creative energy in school. Art classes were among my favorite subjects, along with Biology, math and many other areas of science and technology that could be applied to the real world.

Who was your inspiration?

Family was pivotal in my career decision-making process. My brother joked that I would be a “starving artist” when I graduated from George Mason University with a Graphic Arts Degree. My brother’s well intentioned teasing, coupled with my late father’s government occupation, inspired me to go into government contract work as graphics developer after graduation. With lots of experience under my belt, I was able to pursue another passion inspired by my mother; helping kids through education in my current position with Kids-Ahead.

imageDo you currently have a mentor?

I think I inherited a strong work ethic from my mentor and father, who passed away several years ago. The absence of my dad’s invaluable guidance has partially been replaced by the personal support system of my husband.

How crazy are your hours?

For an unconventional job that allows working from home, hours are fairly conventional. Work generally starts around 6:30 or 7:00 A.M. and I begin thinking about what to make for dinner around 4:00 P.M.

What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?

In my first role as a graphic designer for a government contractor, I was thrown into a huge project for DARPATech, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s convention. I was terrified, as my supervisor, who was in charge of the DARPATech project, had just been let go! I guess my work-ethic kicked into over-drive, when I was put in charge and led my team through what would become the most meaningful accomplishment in my professional career.

What subjects do you recommend for kids entering high school who want to pursue a similar field?

Kids interested in graphic design can start tailoring their coursework for the type of graphic design field they’re thinking about pursuing. For example, if you are leaning towards advertising you could take a marketing course or join the school paper which provides opportunities for designing ads and edited pictures.

Do you have any closing remarks for our readers?

Don’t quit your job before you have another job. I learned this through my experience with the DARPATech project when sticking it out turned out to be one of my best career decisions ever! My dedication and commitment to see that job through gave me the opportunity to join the Kids-Ahead team. Also, go to college and stay connected!

Quick Bytes:

  • The median expected salary for a typical Graphic Designer in the United States is $47,764.
  • Graphic Designers usually interview for jobs with a portfolio of their own work, in addition to a professional resume.
  • In our modern, fast paced world, graphic designers make information both accessible and memorable.

(adapted from and Arrin’s experience)