PSU GD GRAD 2006: Steven Hanlen, Color Designer, Nike

Posted on May 12th, 2009 by Command Save

Where are you working? My title is Footwear Color Designer One,I am in a group called Core Performance at Nike in Beaverton. I have been there for two years in April. How did you get your current position? I was placed as a contractor through 52 LTD. 

What are you working on and what do you like best about your job? We are working on global product for Summer 2010 in running, tennis, and women's training. I like being able to see work I have done in stores across the world. 

In what ways did PSU prepare you for working as a professional designer? PSU classes instilled the discipline of doing a project correctly and taking the personal out of the evaluation process. Putting heart and energy into a project and then stepping back and listening to what others say in a detached manner. 

What suggestions would you offer to improve our program? I would double the amount of group projects in a quarter and have real world scenarios included in the timeline. Attention to the consumer / target audience as well in all the projects. 

What advice would you offer to recent grads who are looking for work?  My advice would be to tell a story with your portfolio and think of how someone will look at it from the outside. Practice presenting it and leading people through the work. Transition student work out as soon as possible as well. Show process and how you arrived at the finished work. Use sketches and inspiration to establish the why of a project to show thought and reason behind design decisions. I have been told on multiple occasions that if your resume is not clean and smartly assembled then they will not even look at your portfolio. 

What advice would you offer to current students and recent grads?  Work and perfect type skills, even in the "professional world" designers and marketing have no idea about type. It is a way to differentiate yourself and showcase why you should be there and that you consider the details. Take an internship outside your comfort zone in design. Try to read as much as you can about the world and current affairs, have a strong opinion and be able to defend it articulately. 

Please share with us some sites you visit for inspiration?,,,