When many hear the words graphic design, they may think of symbols, logos, and even advertising. For College of Communication and the Arts student Paola Hegedus, a senior graduating in December 2017, graphic design is more than using visuals and illustration to gain attention – it's about using digital media (and ourselves) as a vehicle for change.
Hegedus will combine her professional and personal interests by volunteering as a full-time missionary for Saint Paul's Outreach (SPO), a nonprofit organization focused on awakening the Catholic faith on campuses and forming long life disciples. Beginning January 2018, Hegedus will answer the call to evangelize across SPO's university chapters. One of her responsibilities as a missionary will include using digital media to gain traction for their cause. Hegedus' plan echoes the areas of study she pursued as a student, majoring in Graphic Design and additionally declaring two minors – one in Web Design and another in Catholic Studies.
We asked Hegedus about her upcoming missionary work and how she plans to use her background in graphic design in bringing the SPO mission to life:
You mention the types of designing you enjoy. What do you find attractive about graphic design?
I've always loved how graphic design really focuses on getting people's attention. To me, there are two definitions of graphic design. First, you have the general notion that it is using digital to create and provoke emotion to get people's attention with something that is visually enticing and appealing. For me, graphic design is about using visuals to enhance and display beauty, in all forms. My work focuses on provoking change and doing something good. There's emotion behind my work – all it takes is putting that work out there and waiting for the impact and creation of a positive ripple effect.
Post-graduation, you'll be working with St. Paul's Outreach. How did you get involved?
During my freshmen year, a SPO missionary reached out to me and we really connected. Through her and other missionaries, I got involved on campus, particularly in a Bible Study and a small-group encounter with other individuals interested in deepening their faith. What really stood out to me was how committed the SPO missionaries were. They wanted to invest in me and lead me into a deeper relationship with Christ. They are focused on each and every person they reach out to. They take time to recognize each person's strengths. For me, it was design – they gave me a chance to produce flyers and even run the social media for a while. They recognized what I was good at, encouraged that passion and helped me grow both intellectually and spiritually.
At the moment, I feel a calling to evangelize and pursue my faith in a deeper way, which is why I'll be joining SPO post-graduation. I'm setting aside a few years of my life to focus on their mission and answer my calling to spread the Good Word.
Can you share a little bit about some of the work you'll be doing?
My commitment begins in January (2018) on Seton Hall's campus. In May, I'll begin my two-year commitment with SPO, moving to a different campus. I'm not sure where I will be evangelizing since missionaries can be called to campus chapters all over the United States. Most of my work will be focusing on outreach in the college community. I'll be making flyers, developing social media for that chapter – all which leverages my talents to support the SPO mission.
Following SPO, what's next? What's your ultimate career goal?
At the moment, I'm really focused on missionary work. But, I can envision myself working for a nonprofit organization. I want to use graphic design to make a difference, and I think working for a nonprofit will help fulfill that desire. My internship this past summer helped me see that.
I worked with Verily.com, a women's fashion and lifestyle website that empowers and inspires women to be the best versions of themselves. The website was founded by several Christian women and they compete heavily with iconic women magazines such as Cosmopolitan and Vogue. The experience I had with the company was phenomenal. I wasn't just an intern – I was a student worker. I was part of the team. I helped them with photoshoots, visual development, and even clipping and creating art to use in their articles. My experience with them really strengthened my skills in graphic design and my thoughts and how it should be used with a purpose. In the smallest ways, it can be used change attitudes and even other people's lives.
All images included with this article were taken by undergraduate Public Relations student, Lisa Demytrk.
Categories: Arts and Culture