Students in field

Distributing Design in the Lone Star State with Graphic Design Alumna Marina Dalton (’19)

February 21, 2020

Class of 2019 alumna Marina Dalton has been hard at work heading the design department at Great Plains Distributors, located in Lubbock, Texas. A San Francisco native, Dalton studied graphic design during her time at FinnU. She was a force to be reckoned with on the volleyball court; in her senior season, Dalton led the team in kills, hitting percentage and blocks and is among the top five in school history for kills and sets played. After almost a year post-graduation, Dalton sat down to discuss how her time as a student and athlete at FinnU has translated over into her professional life.Graphic Design alumna

What led you to your current position at Great Plains Distributors – how did you discover this job?

After graduating, I moved to Lubbock, Texas to be with my parents. I learned about the opening for an assistant at Great Plains Distributors (GPD) from one of our neighbors who worked there and applied the same night for the position in hopes of putting my new graphic design degree to work. I was called in to interview with GPD, and began work on May 29. GPD sells and distributes Miller-Coors products, as well as other brand names like Shiner and Heineken, to areas in the west Texas region.

At Finlandia, you balanced the challenge of being both a student and an athlete. How did this combination better prepare you for your current job, as well as the success you’ve continued to achieve at GPD?

Being a student-athlete, you are tasked with balancing both schoolwork and performing on the court. This is the expectation for every student-athlete, no matter what college or university they attend. At Finlandia, I worked to reach the expectations placed on me by my coaches and professors, but to also try and surpass their expectations as well. I knew I could achieve what was being asked of me, but I also had personal goals that I wanted to achieve. With this desire to go above and beyond, I learned how to do my job at GPD and continued to refine my skills. When I needed to step up and take initiative, I took on more roles and responsibilities that would keep the sign shop running and in order.

What does a day in the life of graphic designer at GPD look like?

When I first began working in the sign shop, I was only part-time, working 30 hours for four days a week. I mainly dealt with the orders once they were printed: cutting out posters, preparing table tents and putting the signs together. I also maintained all of the printers, making sure the right paper was being used and that there were full ink cartridges. Now, I am the full-time graphic designer in the shop, working from 8 am to 5 pm throughout the week. I’m still in charge of doing a lot of the same stuff, but now I actually get to work behind the computer and put my own ideas onto paper. A lot of the orders that are requested are basic POS (points of sale) that I find within each brand’s graphic library that need to be resized to fit the specific request. With others, I have a bit more artistic freedom, like with different posters for bar and pricing specials.

I usually start my day at the computer completing paper, phone and email orders. Halfway through my day, I start to print everything I’ve completed so far, laying them out on a portion of the work table. Once printing is all done, I cut out orders and get them prepared for pickup.

Any feedback for current or incoming Finlandia ISAD students?

Take advantage of the resources that Finlandia’s tight-knit community has to offer. Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to approach your professors or peers. Most importantly, know that even after you graduate everyone is still just a message away. Reach out!

Next Steps

To connect with Dalton, you can find her on LinkedIn.

Learn more about Finlandia’s graphic design program.

For more alumni stories and success, check out Finlandia.edu/alumni.

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