We wanted to take a moment here on the blog and spotlight our Graphic Design team: Elizabeth Dunaway and Aaron Tucker. They are truly the individuals that make Agape North go! Without them our clients do not receive high quality products with fun designs, and the schools we give to do not receive high quality donated shirts with fun designs. Enjoy getting to know them in this interview-style blog post!
How did you end up in the field of graphic design?
Elizabeth: Most of my life I have had an artistic inclination. Throughout high school I drew and painted, but I did not desire to be a studio artist by trade. Funny enough, I didn’t actually know that much about Graphic Design when I started applying for colleges. I always noticed and admired well-designed magazine spreads, hand lettering, and creative logos, so I thought I would just give it a shot. I knew I wanted to stay in the art industry, so I declared my major as Graphic Design and the rest is history!
Aaron: I dabbled in Graphic Design-type things in high school through my IB Art Program and fell in love with different aspects of design such as color, photography, typography, and packaging. I went to college with the goal of making money, and then developed the mindset of wanting to enjoy what I do for a career. After changing my major three times, I chose to pursue my BFA in Graphic Design.
What types of design are you drawn to?
Elizabeth: It’s so hard to pick because the industry is constantly growing and changing. Though I would say my “specialty” is illustration, I’ve always been interested in product packaging design. The identity and the packaging contribute to the experience consumers have with the product, and as a problem solver, I’ve always been attracted to packaging design. Currently, hand lettering is an area of design that I am drawn to as well!
Aaron: I am drawn to many aspects of design. I think ultimately I am drawn to arbitrary aspects of design. Graphic designers are problem solvers. We seek ways to solve and communicate messages. Some of those messages are heavy, and some are fun and light. So, I am drawn to how different elements of design come together for a purpose.
Why do you choose to use your design talent at Agape North?
Elizabeth: I was drawn initially because it was a chance to work in design without being confined in a corporate design firm. However, this job is so much more than a sweet design gig, and this company is so much more than just giving shirts back to students. It has given me relationships with co-workers and clients who believe in my city, and are passionate to see students empowered. I really cherish the fact that I get to use my design talents here.
Aaron: Originally, I began working at Agape North because they recruited me to come work for them via the Downline Emerging Leaders program. I was really excited but really didn’t know what all I was saying yes to. I quickly learned the heartbeat of Agape North and saw how similar it was to mine. As I grow in design, I am searching for opportunities where design overlaps with community development. At Agape North my design skills are able to impact students and remind them that they are loved by those within and outside their own community.
How would you describe the Agape North staff team?
Elizabeth: The best people to work with. The passion to invest in and connect with students throughout the city is evident in each person on our team. At the same time, we have a company atmosphere where we have a lot of fun doing what we do.
Aaron: I would describe our team as a tray of cupcakes. When people order cupcakes, they are normally celebrating something. As a team we get to celebrate with the individuals, businesses, and schools we partner with. Everyone loves cupcakes, we all have different flavors (talents), and our team is pretty sweet just like a great cupcake.
What song best describes your personality?
Elizabeth: I really had to think about this one, but I’d probably say “Crazy” by Ben Rector. It’s all about living a pretty normal life of Netflix, Bed Bath & Beyond visits, and having fun in the “normal”. I feel like that sums up my personality pretty well – nothing too flashy.
Aaron: Many songs could describe my personality because I am very complex. The first song that I can think of is “Let’s Be Birds” by Jacob Whitesides. This song reminds me of a journey, and really expresses the free bird inside of my personality that I LOVE! It also speaks to how I really want to travel and see the world.
What is a fun memory you have from an Agape North donation at a school?
Elizabeth: A fun memory I have from a donation event was at Bluff City High School with the University of Memphis. Small groups of students and community partners were given a few fun icebreaker questions like, “What ice cream flavor best describes your personality?” After we all felt well-acquainted with one another, the students began to open up and share with us why they loved their school. The pride all the students and staff had for their school was inspiring and was my biggest takeaway that particular day and event.
Aaron: My favorite memories are when I see kids transform in the 45-minute window we are there at their school for an event. This happens at many donation events, but sometimes I notice it more. At one particular event, a partner organization was in the room, and then the students came in the room. The students were an older group and they looked upset and/or nervous. Honestly, I felt like some didn’t want to be there. But by the end of the donation event the kids were smiling, and they all seemed to really enjoy themselves. That transformation in such a short span of time is always encouraging to see.