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Meet Santa Monica Graphic Designer: Emily Xie

Today we’d like to introduce you to Emily Xie.

Emily, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was exposed to art ever since I was young. My dad was a sculptor/illustrator and created sculptures for gardens, parks, and various other recreational places in China, so he guided me through lots of critiques whenever I took interest in art. I also did photography here and there, dabbled in Photoshop, took dancing classes and tried painting. But my interest in graphic design didn’t begin until middle school when I had to design a t-shirt for the school band. This then continued when I joined the dance team in high school when I helped design t-shirts and marketing materials for the team.

During my 5th term of ArtCenter, around my sophomore, junior year in normal college terms, I landed an internship a studio called Blind located in Santa Monica. During this period, I was able to learn many things, from how to design in the real world, to learning how to not get creative blocks. After my internship ended, I was asked to freelance at Blind while I continued my education at ArtCenter. Until finally, April of 2012, I graduated from ArtCenter and started working full-time at Blind.

Has it been a smooth road?
During my first few terms of ArtCenter, I had lots of trouble trying to manage my time correctly. I didn’t have enough time to sleep, socialize with my friends, and also sometimes even finishing up my assignments on time. But as time went on, I’ve learned to become an efficient designer. Instead of working harder, I worked smarter.

I’d also struggle with creativity. I finished ArtCenter in 3.5 years, sprinted through the courses without taking a break in between, so by the 4th term, I was burnt out and uninspired. I suddenly forgot how to concept and brainstorm. And when I finally did come up with an idea, I would stick with the same style that I’ve used in executing in all my previous projects. I wasn’t getting out of my comfort zone and I felt incompetent. I finally overcame this struggle of mine when I learned the design of business, how each project should solve a problem, therefore with each design decision it should reflect back to the client’s goal and their messaging.

What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?
One of the proudest moments of my career had to my graduation showcase event. We had several weeks before the event to brainstorm and 3 days to set up our displays. Prior to that, we spent weeks developing a personal brand for ourselves which included a logo, branding statement, elevator pitch, website, business cards and letterheads just to name a few. When the day finally came, everything set up, I remember looking at my work and thinking, this was what my past 8 terms of ArtCenter was all about, I did it. It was a great and proud experience sharing my work with potential employers, students, families, and friends.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Los Angeles is definitely one of the best places to start as a graphic designer, especially for a motion designer. Most art schools in LA invite over creative directors and producers to senior graduation showcase events to expose students to potential employers. Without this exposure, finding studios and agencies around the area can be challenging. Searching for a list of design studios and agencies on Google only gives you the most popular results, therefore it would be great if there was a good list of contact names for graduates to reach out to after graduation.

Contact Info:

  • Website:
  • Email:
  • Instagram: @_emilyxie
  • Other: Dribbble: @_emilyxie

0-museum-poster-frames-mockup 1-idsystems_v3 2-ap_posters_v9 3-ap_posters_v3 4-ap_posters_v7 5-01 6-static1-squarespace 7-static1-squarespaceImage Credit:
Headshot photography by Andrew Truong

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