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Q&A: Mary Orth, Graphic Designer Extraordinaire

Updated: Oct 7, 2019

When she's not moonlighting for Rolling Hills Media, Mary Orth is an Innovation Specialist at Vanguard’s Innovation Studio in Philly. If you like the Rolling Hills Media logo, that's Mary. The branding an web graphics for Turazo Recruiting? Mary! This Carpe that Fucking Diem poster everyone needs in their office? Mary (and Carolyn!).

She's beyond creative and as you'll see in this Q&A, just an overall awesome human being. Getting to create and work with other freelancers, like Mary, has been one of my favorite things about this gig. Plus, they make me look pretty dang good... meet Mary!

  • Name: Mary Orth

  • Location: Philadelphia, PA

  • Full time gig: Innovation Specialist at Vanguard’s Innovation Studio

  • Undergrad: Rochester Institute of Technology with a degree in “New Media Interactive Development,” aka, ½ graphic design and ½ computer programming

Q: What/who inspired you to join the field of graphic design?

Mary: Even before I knew why, I have always been drawn to well-designed objects or thoughtful experiences, like a high quality notebook or extra cozy coffee shops. Over the years, I kept finding situations where I was designing posters or logos for friends and family. Eventually, I was able to land my first two (real) graphic design jobs for a non-profit and a microbrewery!

Q: Which of your personality traits have been the most useful for you in your career?

Mary: Being adventurous and optimistic! It's helped me be open minded, constantly inspired, and always scheming new ideas. It's the reason I try to say yes to as many new opportunities I can (sometimes to a fault… Oops!), which has led me to some pretty cool collaborations I never thought I'd have the chance to be involved with in my career -- like this one!

Q: When you have 30 minutes of free-time, how do you pass the time?

Mary: - Planning my next adventure

- Making a list

- Cuddling my cats

- Getting inspired (okay, okay...scrolling Instagram)

Q: We finish the interview and you step outside the office and find a lottery ticket that ends up winning $10 million. What would you do?

Mary: Oh, definitely first do a major happy dance! I would start by putting some money away to help my nieces and nephew go to college, then I would travel the world for a year -- starting with New Zealand or Denmark. And of course, I'd invest the rest :)

Q: What’s been one of your favorite projects and why?

Mary: My favorite project would be designing my sister and brother-in-law’s wedding invitation! I got to flex some creative muscles to make a super special event, even more special.

Q: Teach us something we don’t know in 3 minutes or less.

Mary: I'm really into the Japanese concept of finding your ikigai (ick-ee-guy), which means the intersection of what you are good at, what you love doing, and what the world needs. It's the ultimate recipe for happiness and success!

Q: Design school never ends.. How do you learn and grow your knowledge and expertise?

Mary: There’s a lot out there! I try to stay inspired by current trends and best in class designers through different blogs, like Dribble, Medium, FastCo Design, and It’s Nice That. I also really appreciate behind the scenes video tutorials of artists I follow on social media to get a time lapse view of their creative process, as well as just trying out new techniques in my work.

Q: If you were arrested with no explanation, what would your friends and family assume you had done?

Mary: Probably would be for “borrowing” someone else's puppy… Want more? Check out Mary's portfolio and find her on Instagram.

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