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A Piece of Whitney's Story

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Meet Whitney Badge; a design student who's living and breathing the city life at Parsons School of Design. Besides drinking coffee and exploring New York, she's driven to succeed in her endeavors towards digital marketing and design. Read more if you want to know her favorite coffee shops and who/what inspires her to create! Whitney is truly an inspiration for all the creatives out there!

WHAT ARE YOU UP TO RIGHT NOW? ARE YOU IN SCHOOL, WORK?

Both! Recently, I moved from Michigan to New York to finish out my undergraduate degree at Parsons. I was previously double majoring in Digital Communications and Graphic Design at Calvin College, but decided to transfer schools when I was offered a scholarship to study Communication Design in New York! Here, I’m taking a full load of classes and also working remotely as a marketing intern for Steelcase. It’s been a really huge change and it’s a lot of work, but I’m really happy with this decision and I’m excited for what will happen next.

WHAT'S YOUR DAILY ROUTINE LIKE? ANY UNIQUE MORNING RITUALS?

Living in New York, I feel like it’s pretty hard to have a daily routine just because this city is always in a constant state of flux! Every day is an adventure, which is something that I really appreciate. I start my mornings with a long shower and a big cup of coffee, which is the perfect combination to get me ready for the day. I have to wake up pretty early in order to make it to the train in time for my morning classes. After class, I usually camp out in the Graphics Lab or in the Making Center at Parsons, where I work on my never-ending to-do list. When I’m in need of a change in scenery, I go on a walk to Washington Square Park and enjoy the sunshine. I usually head home around 9:30pm to prepare myself for the next day. As I said before, my daily routine doesn’t really exist, but this is what I aim for!

SO YOU'RE CHASING YOUR DREAMS IN NEW YORK, HOW IS IT SO FAR? IS IT DIFFERENT THAN WHAT YOU EXPECTED? HARDER, EASIER?

My decision to move to New York has been a long time coming. I remember when I first applied to Parsons, thinking that I just needed to get my application out there and see what happens. Looking back on the whole process, I honestly didn’t think that I would actually ever end up here. Moving away and going to design school was always a dream of mine, but now that I’m actually here, I’m still in a bit of shock! New York is insane, exciting, overwhelming and comforting at the same time. There is so much to take in at first, but once you get settled in and focused on your purpose for being there, things start to feel more and more like home.

DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE COFFEE SHOP OR CAFÉ? AND WHY? TELL US ABOUT IT!

Anyone that knows me understands how much I love coffee, so it's really hard to choose a favorite! Out of all the coffee shops I've been to so far in the city, I'd say that my favorites are Stumptown Coffee Roasters near Washington Square Park and Sweatshop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Usually, I'll either order a cold brew or a black coffee depending on the weather. Since moving to New York, I've also gotten into making pour-over coffee in the morning before heading to class, which is a great option for when I'm on the go!

HOW DO YOU REPRESENT THE TRAIT CREATIVE? WHAT THINGS HAVE YOU CREATED IN THE PAST AND WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS TO CREATE IN THE FUTURE?

I’ve always been a maker. In elementary school, I would always draw Scooby Doo cartoons for my teachers and classmates. In high school, I had a really great relationship with my studio art and media production instructors. After high school, I really latched onto media and design. I volunteered in a media team, started doing freelance video work, worked for my previous college’s information technology and video production departments, and finally interned in marketing before moving to New York. At Parsons, I’m pursuing a design education that I can apply to my digitally-driven and business-minded foundation. I know that’s a mouthful, but I want to do big things. I see design as an experience and I’m passionate about how it can be used to influence thought and action. Design is a means to express yourself and I want to understand all the possibilities that it has to offer.

DO YOU ENJOY THE PROCESS OR RESULT WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR WORK?

Both, although I think that the process is more important than the result. Of course it’s awesome when projects turn out well, but if your focus relies solely on making things look pretty, then I feel like your work loses value. It’s so vital to spend time brainstorming, sketching and researching before even touching your computer (or whatever medium you intend to communicate with). This is something that I have to remind myself every time I approach a project. I’m always super eager to jump on my computer and make something incredible, but I have to remind myself that true growth and effective results come when you’re not afraid to fail, experiment, and think outside of the box.

ASIDE FROM BEING CREATIVE, WHAT ARE THREE OTHER PERSONALITY TRAITS THAT DESCRIBE YOURSELF AND HOW SO?

I am loyal. I am so thankful for all of the people in my life. From Michigan to New York and beyond, I would do just about anything for the people that I love and care about.

I am intelligent. I always try to practice self-awareness and thoughtfulness in everything that I do, whether it be focusing on my personal growth or my workflow when approaching a new project.

I am driven. No matter what, I will always keep moving forward, working towards my goals, and fighting for what I believe in.

HAVE YOUR CREATIVE ENDEAVORS CHANGED SINCE MOVING TO NEW YORK? HAVE YOU DISCOVERED NEW MEDIUMS OR NEW WAYS TO EXPRESS YOURSELF?

My creative endeavors have become much more formal, insightful, technical and reflective since moving here. I’ve always been a very detail-oriented person, but now I am really understanding the fundamentals of design so that I use them to their fullest capabilities. I’ve been learning so many new things since moving here! From typography to branding strategies and interaction design, I’ve already begun to look at design through a completely different perspective than before. When you understand the full capabilities of the tools that you’ve been equipped with, there are no limits to what you can create! Design, in and of itself, is communication that can be expressed through all mediums, so being willing to learn and experiment is key to understanding its potential.

DO YOU HAVE ANY OTHER HOBBIES THAT ARE CREATIVE, BUT PURELY FOR FUN?

I’ll be totally honest, school is my life right now. At the same time, what I do at school is kind of like my hobby, so I see it as a nice trade off! On the other hand, I really love playing music, taking photos, and shooting video. Those three things feel like such a natural part of my life that it doesn’t feel like an obligation or a burden. I really do love everything that I do, whether it’s coding, editing, typesetting, researching, cooking, or just taking time for myself.

WHO IS YOUR BIGGEST INSPIRATION AND WHY?

There are so many artists, designers and influencers that I am inspired by. If I had to choose a couple, I would say that Leta Sobierajski and Jessica Walsh are two designers that I look up to. For starters, both of them are incredible women living in New York who are totally killing it in their field. Leta is a spunky multidisciplinary designer and creative director whose work is incredibly vibrant, interactive, and unique. She seems to be oozing with imagination and raw creativity, which is something that I really admire. Jessica Walsh is a fierce designer and creative director who is excited and passionate about using design to influence perspective and to communicate a message. I really resonate with Jessica’s persona and her growth as a creative and professional over the years.

WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN FIVE YEARS? CREATIVELY AND PERSONALLY?

Five years from now, I hope that I’m still learning, growing and challenging myself just as much as I am right now. I’ll be graduating from my undergrad program in a year and a half and will most likely be considering which graduate program to pursue in five years time. What will happen in between? I couldn’t say for sure. I’d love to stay in New York and pursue a career in digital marketing, design thinking, branding strategies and creative direction. Things are pretty uncertain at the moment, but I’ll figure it out as I go and focus on making the most of this moment right now.

WHAT’S THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU’VE LEARNED SO FAR THROUGH YOUR EXPERIENCES? WHAT CAN YOU TELL A YOUNG GIRL THAT WANTS TO MOVE TO NEW YORK FOR ART AND DESIGN?

I know that I have a long way to go, but I know that I wouldn’t have even gotten to where I am now if it wasn’t for an incredible support system and the determination to keep pushing forward even when things seem impossible to overcome. I also know that it’s really important to make the most of where you are right now, wherever you are, whatever you’re doing. I used to spend a lot of time wishing I was elsewhere, but I’ve realized in the past year that it’s really important to stay grounded in who you are, but also be open to new opportunities and experiences that come your way. No geographic location is going to secure your success, but what matters more is your determination to learn something new every day and your willingness to accept a challenge. It’s also important to not take yourself too seriously. Push yourself hard, but be willing to laugh at your mistakes and learn from them. This is something that I have to remind myself of every day as well!

Check out more from Whitney below!

Website | Instagram

Email: whitney.badge@gmail.com

Photo Credit: Anastasia Kharchenko and Brian J. Green