NEWBERRY — David Swanson is proud to not only to have attended Newberry College, but to now be a member of their staff as a graphics design and communications manager.
Born in Junction City, Wisc., Swanson came from a small town of about 500 people.
As a child, Swanson said he kept a sketch book and loved to draw. “I took photos out of magazines and would re-draw them,” he said.
Later moving to Aiken, Swanson attended Aiken High School before graduating and heading to Newberry College. In high school, he was a member of the ROTC program, where he got to platoon leader by his third year.
Also through ROTC, Swanson said he was a canteen manager, which led him to consider business as a college major.
With his mother, father, stepfather and grandfather all serving in the military, Swanson said attending Newberry College was not really on his radar.
“After so many generations in it, we (family) just decided I would not get into it,” Swanson said.
Newberry College was one of the first schools to reach out to him while in high school, and upon offering him scholarship money, he decided to attend.
While at Newberry, Swanson studied graphic design and got a minor in English. He started college as a business major, but decided against it after getting his first dose of accounting classes.
“I took a class in web design as an elective, and it really introduced me to design as a whole,” Swanson said.
Because he always loved drawing as a child, Swanson changed his major to graphic design.
After two years in design, Swanson said he then focused on the page layout side of designing, where he was able to be creative through typography projects and used programs such as InDesign.
His favorite class while at Newberry College was magazine layout, because he said it showed him he had the grasp and method to complete layout design.
During the summer of 2012, Swanson began an internship with Newberry College assisting the director of marketing in minor projects on campus. He worked about nine hours per week.
Graduating in 2013, Swanson continued working for the college doing free lance work for four to five months until he was hired full time in November 2013.
When the college has a new magazine, tri-fold brochure, postcard, or other designed handout, Swanson said there is a high chance that he helped design or produce them.
“It all starts here from the ground up,” Swanson said about the designing process.
Using his degree
In a growing society where it seems most college graduates do not end up working in a field directly related to their degrees, Swanson said it is exhilarating to know each day not only allows him to use his degree, but building on what he did the day before.
What Swanson said he enjoys about his job is the free reign he feels he has to create a finished product.
“People come to me and tell me this is what they need and let me design it,” Swanson said.
Swanson said he feels graphic design without creativity is like asking him to complete a paint by number project and enjoys the freedom he has with his projects with the college.
A difficulty Swanson said he had at first working at Newberry College was that the professors he spent calling “Dr., Mr., or Mrs.” he is now on a first name basis with.
“I love meeting the framework that decides everything,” he said about working with those same professors as colleagues.
His future goals include to move to a large magazine and to do design and layout for them.