Meet Michala, our silly, but seriously talented fall design intern
Exciting news, we recently welcomed a new Estipony to the team! Michala Matovina is our fall design intern, a soon-to-be Graphic Design graduate, self-described bookworm and loving plant parent. She gallops onto the scene (see what we did there?) with natural design talent, positive energy, and an eagerness to grow her skills. Let’s get to know her better.
Who are you?
I am a graphic design intern at Estipona Group. I grew up in Spring Creek (Elko), Nevada, and moved to Reno for college. I will be graduating from the University of Nevada, Reno, in the spring, with a degree in Graphic Design and a minor in Communication Studies. I love to read (total fantasy-romance girlie) and I have a LOT of plants. I think I have over 60 houseplants now, and all of my free time is dedicated to them.
What led you to the graphic design field?
I’ve always known I wanted to work in the creative space, but being from a small town, it never felt right to say, “I want to get an art degree.” So I started a photography business that I owned for two years. I mostly did graduate, couples, and engagement shoots, and it kept me really busy. But working two jobs and going to school became too much, so I dissolved my business license and decided to focus on school (I always joke that I went into retirement early). I started with a degree path in journalism and took graphic design as an elective my freshman year. I loved my Graphic Design and Design in Journalism classes; then I got into an actual journalism class and realized it was not for me at all. I realized the only thing I actually liked from the previous class was the graphic design aspect. So I decided to do what made me happy and switched my major. Three years later, I’m so thankful I made that decision and I’m excited to be graduating soon.
Tell us about a project you really enjoyed?
I made a book using a risograph, a vintage Japanese machine that uses one color at a time to create unique layered images (think of it as a cross between a screenprinter and a photocopier). I’m not someone who’s always loved hand skills in design, it’s something I definitely struggled with, but spending 20-30 hours printing, outside of class, to make this little 15 page-book was so interesting. There aren’t very many of these machines in the US and not a lot of people get to say that they used one, so this was a once in a lifetime project. The images are so vibrant, and it’s never perfect because even if you line it up just right, it’ll still be off by a tiny bit. So each piece is truly unique, and I really enjoyed the opportunity to do something so tactile and expand those skills.
Their values are something I really align with and hold myself to on a day-to-day level. I also admire the level of community involvement and the work that EG does. When I discovered EG, I felt that tap on my shoulder and knew I had to apply.
So far I’ve loved my experience here. Before this, I was the creative director at a student-run agency, so it’s exciting to actually see creative direction and processes happening in a professional setting. I’ve loved working with Stephanie, our Senior Art Director. We have so many similarities, I feel like I’m looking in a mirror. I’m learning a lot through her, so it’s been educational and fun.
Hopes and dreams?
Goal #1: Graduate.
Beyond that, I’m hoping this internship will help me figure it out. I’ve worked in so many aspects of the creative space (photography, videography, social media analytics), but I’ve never actually done graphic design in a space outside of the classroom. There are so many possibilities for my future and this is one I haven’t explored yet. Whatever I do, I want it to make a positive impact in my community. That’s what’s special about EG, and I think doing design for a local agency does so much to benefit the community.
What is a skill you would really like to learn or improve?
Working within brand guidelines. With my own projects, I can choose the color palette, fonts, and everything else that makes up the look and feel. Besides some refinement from my professors, the creative tone has always been up to me. There’s a challenge that comes from working with someone else’s colors, type, and assets. It’s a really valuable skill, especially when looking at graphic design more seriously, and I’m excited to have the opportunity to develop that skill through working with clients.
What’s your hidden talent?
It’s the most useless thing. No matter where I am, if there’s an overhead speaker with music playing, I can always tell what song it is. And no one else can ever hear it. It’s funny because otherwise, I don’t have any other musical inclination (well, I did learn a couple songs on the guitar once to impress a boy, but now it just sits in my childhood bedroom and collects dust).