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AIGA Alaska Member Spotlight: Sarah Paulus


My current position is Design Director for the public relations and advertising firm Optima Public Relations. The firm initially subcontracted me but they appreciated my design work enough to offer me a full-time, supervisory position. In this capacity, I've quickly discovered that clients have various speeds of expectation, such as nonprofits on a slower pace and political races on a we need it yesterday pace. Optima is growing fast, diverse in clientele, and I enjoy the fact I'm supervising all graphics and web design.

Home grown Alaskan: I was born in Palmer, Alaska and I lived in Wasilla before moving to Eagle River. I have two wonderful children, ages 13 and 8. Currently my favorite artists are Salvador Dali and Milton Glaser. Beyond the works, I pick these two for other reasons: Dali for his unique and brave approach to art in creating the surreal from the real, and Milton for his process, his teaching spirit and his love for the arts.

A background in pre-med biology studies as well as undergrad for nursing scatters my knowledge across different fields. My military background has held me in good standing for the tight deadlines required in this profession. I served as security forces in the Air National Guard, and received distinguished graduate honors from the US Air Force security police academy. My designs tend to reflect my experiences of structure and science. I obtained my degree in graphic design, and am now taking classes in web design and interactive media. If your vocation is your vacation, you never work a day in your life. I have done traditional freelance artwork throughout my working careers. As a teenager, I did portrait work through the now-less popular MySpace social site. I still remember my first design job. It was in middle school and I designed a business card for a local pet shop. I drew it out on an index card and colored it with marker. When my design was chosen it felt so good to see someone using a design I made!

I believe that there should not be a divide between graphic design and traditional art. Interactive design for me is the next frontier. Websites and the ability for people to interact with and through them is becoming ever more a need, a demand. I am excited about advancements in interactive media from smart phones to kinetic technology. The next websites we will browse with a wave of the hand. It is an exciting time to be a designer and I look forward to the process. What makes a graphic designer unique is when he/she can embrace the roots of what is considered traditional art and use those skills to create meaningful messages in design whatever the medium.

-Sarah Paulus

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