Meet Alex Hindenlang, a Junior majoring in Journalism Graphics. In this interview, Alex shares how her passion for graphic design started as a high school student and the highlights of her higher education journey so far. She also talks about the efforts she has put in place during the pandemic to continue honing her craft, and her hopes for the future.
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Could you describe your journey prior to coming to Ball State?
Before coming to Ball State for its journalism program, I was interested in study engineering at the Ohio State University. I love to fix things, solve problems and find out why things work. I thought I would be able to use both my analytical and creative thinking to succeed in that career. But the more I got involved in my high school yearbook, the more I uncovered my passion for journalism and design, and knew I should go to school to continue to develop those skills that genuinely make me happy. So I was looking for schools and my yearbook staff took a trip to J-Day here at Ball State and I fell in love with the campus and the journalism program. So I applied, got in, and here we are.
When did you start developing an interest in graphic design?
Joining an award-winning yearbook staff really jump-started my love for design. I started my junior year as coverage editor, and my senior year was promoted to editor-in-chief. In that position, I was responsible for designing all of the theme elements for the book. This included developing the theme and designing the cover and the layouts for all of the pages in the book. That year our book won two national awards — gold in CPSA and first-class in NSPA — and for the third year in a row, our book was the only book to receive an All-Ohio award from the Ohio Scholastic Media Association. Needless to say, the hard work and collaboration paid off. After that, I knew I wanted to work in media for the rest of my life.
Why did you pick Ball State and the journalism graphics concentration?
Ball State’s journalism program was well known and respected and seemed like a great place for a journalism kid to find her people. I was also offered in-state tuition as an Ohio resident in a bordering county, so it was affordable for me as well. Although, I didn’t join the graphics program until the end of my freshman year. I declared it after I had taken some intro journalism classes and realized that although I adored all things journalism, graphic design was what I was passionate about. Thank you, Kim Green and your J103 class!
What have been the top highlights of your higher education journey so far?
Building relationships with people in my major, in my dorm, on my staff, in student media… to keep me surrounded by people who understand the pressures of being a college kid who spreads herself too thin. Some weeks are harder than others, and even though I might feel like I’m drowning I have my people who are right there with me helping me to keep going. Another would be the moment I found out I was going to be a RA in Kinghorn Hall. This is my second year there, and the sense of community I have among my staff, my residents, and the entire hall brings me so much joy and reminds me of the impact I have on others. It may be a lot of work, but it’s incredibly rewarding.
The pandemic has been hard for many students. How did you manage to keep your creativity up in these trying times?
Honestly, it has been hard. Back in March/April, when it all started, there were days I just wanted to curl up in a ball on the couch and ignore my responsibilities as a way of “self-soothing.” But what has always managed to keep me motivated and experimenting is my love for graphic design. As Marc Anthony once said, “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” And I feel like that rings true because there were days I would just sit down and illustrate something random to keep my creative energy flowing. I also think we need to realize that this pandemic has completely changed the way we live and that it is okay to feel off and unmotivated.
You are graduating in 2022. What are your top goals for the next 1-2 years?
It’s crazy to me that I’ll be graduating in almost a year and a half. Time really flies. But some goals of mine are to secure a design internship for myself this summer – although I have no idea where yet. I also want to keep building my portfolio and branching out from standard media design and being more creative than I have in years past. And Ideally, I will have a job lined up and be working in the real world designing 2 years from now.
Who are your mentors on and off campus? and/or Who are the people you look out to in the design world?
Some mentors I have had over the years are current and former professors like Ryan Sparrow, Kim Green, Brian Hayes, Martin Smith-Rodden. All of them have motivated and pushed me to be a better designer and journalist. And when I started designing for student media Emily Wright and Elliott DeRose were so welcoming and helped me catch my footing when it came to news design.
Can you show us some of your design work?
Sure! Here are two examples from classes I took at Ball State.
The airplane one was from J345 with Brian Hayes. It was an infographic with the prompt “Covid-19’s impact on…” This prompt challenged us to focus on a topic relative to the pandemic, which made the content relevant and fresh and not something overproduced. I, personally, loved the challenge of researching and coming up with a topic that would push my illustration skills farther than previous assignments. After having several trips canceled due to the pandemic, I thought how air travel has changed would be a fantastic topic for the infographic.
The country concert was a website we redesigned in Ryan Sparrow’s J241. For this assignment, we were assigned an actual website that was poorly done and we had to take all of the information and completely redesign it. This website is for a country concert. To see the original site go here: https://countryconcert.com/
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