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Former Middle College Student Now Working in Design

Landing a job as a graphic designer takes hard work, determination, and creativity, lessons Sarah Wiener learned as a Cañada College student.

Wiener recently landed a design job at Triple Tree, a San Francisco company specializing in socially and environmentally friendly custom-branded merchandise. The company started making products for schools and sports teams in 2010 and has now grown to serve other sustainable-minded businesses.

Wiener said her official job title is project manager/graphic designer but, in practice, this means she wears many different hats. “I assemble presentations for clients to give them ideas for potential products, write invoices for clients and purchase orders for vendors, and help clients optimize existing artwork for printing,” she said.

She said students in creative fields such as graphic design need to learn how to follow guidelines and manage their time, two skills emphasized in the Cañada College Multimedia Art & Technology Program. “To make art for a living, you can’t simply wait until you’re inspired to get it done – your deadline may be long past by then and you definitely won’t get paid. Similarly, your art director won’t be pleased if you’re in a blue period but they asked you for red, or if you like circles better than squares. Instructors at Cañada make sure you’re as prepared as possible to be a professional by setting students up for success.”

Paul Naas, Professor and Program Coordinator for the Multimedia Art and Technology Program at Cañada, said Wiener was the type of student professors love to have in class.

“She was focused, driven, determined to learn all she could, using the critique and feedback she received to improve the quality of her work,” he said. “She took full advantage of the opportunities the department offers, both in the classes she took, the chance to help other students as a lab assistant, and the advice and suggestions of the faculty. We’re sorry to see her go, but thrilled that she’s landed a job that fits here skills so well.”

Wiener began attending Cañada as a middle college student and graduated with her high school diploma in 2005. She came back to the school to earn credits to transfer to UC Berkeley, where she graduated in 2009. She earned a second degree at the Academy of Art in 2012 but has returned to Cañada to take some continuing education classes to learn new skills.

She said students need to make the most of the resources Cañada provides. “Don’t be afraid to ask questions and don’t be afraid to make mistakes,” she said. “Cañada’s instructors can help you transfer, teach you new skills, or simply give you good advice that you can use in your profession.”

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