From the outside, Commonvision looks like a well-oiled machine that constantly produces high-quality graphics, prints and animations for a number of UMBC organizations. But what few see are the student workers — graphic designers, animators, office assistants and production assistants — who work behind the scenes to make those projects come to life.
A day in the life of a graphic designer at Commonvision consists of meeting with clients, helping out at the front desk and working on jobs, according to senior graphic design major Megan Clelan. Clelan was hired last summer after spending the previous year building up her portfolio.
Although she has only been working at Commonvision for a few months, Clelan has already worked on a number of interesting projects; she cited a poster for a recent Ice Cream Flavor Reveal event as having been particularly fun to design. “It was kind of cool to be able to come up with the design for that,” Clelan explains, “to keep it still UMBC-based, but still fun.”
Animators’ jobs are similar: they, too, spend most of their time working on jobs for clients, many of which are advertisements that are subsequently shown on the iNet boards located throughout Commons and in other locations on campus.
Designers, however, are not the only student workers at Commonvision. Commonvision also hires office assistants, who process job tickets and help with small-scale printing jobs, and production assistants, who produce and install larger jobs. One office assistant, senior media and communications studies major Morgan Mullings, has been working with Commonvision since the end of her freshman year. According to Mullings, office assistants “wear a lot of hats. We’re mainly just the ones who make sure the office is still running.”
Production assistants work in the Commonvision production room, where they are primarily responsible for producing large printing projects, including posters and banners. They are trained to use specialized printers (differentiated by nicknames such as “Thor” and “Big Papa”).
The production room also features some exciting new technology, including white ink, which allows colors printed on a clear surface to pop, and die-cutting, a process by which a machine can cut out various shapes in large quantities. There is also a 3D printer located in the main Commonvision office, which can print everything from keychains to engineering prototypes.
Training in the use of these technologies, however, is not the only thing employees have to gain from their time at Commonvision. Katie Chrzanowski, the Commonvision Multimedia Coordinator, notes that employees also gain invaluable customer service skills. “Most people […] don’t realize they’re going to be writing a lot of emails to clients,” Chrzanowski says.
Emma Hagen, the coordinator of Commonvision and herself a former Commonvision office assistant, emphasizes that working at Commonvision for several years can be a huge benefit when looking for jobs after graduating. “There are opportunities for students to have internships in the field and off-campus,” Hagen says, “but having them [at Commonvision] for multiple years really tends to set them ahead when they’re applying for jobs because you can say, ‘I have two or three or four years of client experience.”
Those skills have certainly aided former Commonvision employees. According to Hagen, most Commonvision graduates “are immediately getting jobs in the field, and they’re getting some impressive ones, too,” including positions at Baltimore Magazine, Image Factory and Stanley Black & Decker. Two Commonvision graduates even decided to go into print full-time and are currently working at Indigo Ink. “It’s really awesome to have students come here and then realize, ‘I really love doing this, and I can do this as a job,’” says Hagen with a laugh. “It’s not just something that exists in Commonvision-world.”
Commonvision is currently hiring office assistants and production assistants. For more information, see job listings 9301687 and 9301688 on UMBCworks.