If you bought a gift card and gift card packaging at certain retailers over the holiday season, you may have seen alum Beth (Drege ’10) Laird’s work on display. The graphic designer works for Gift Card Impressions in Kansas City, a leading provider of creative and packaging systems for the gift card industry. Kohl’s, Target and 7-11 all carried her gift packaging designed specifically to accompany gift cards.
Beth enjoys working at the small creative company of 30 in the River Market district and even gets to work from home two to three days per week. The projects she develops are so deadline driven, Beth says it’s not a problem to stay productive when working.
“If Amazon doesn’t get their product on time, it hurts our whole company, so everyone on the team is striving to make the project on time and the best it can be,” she says.
Not only has she designed physical packaging, but she’s excited to work on new launches such as Amazon’s new app, Surprise! The mobile app lets users send a free e-card with an optional Amazon gift card. Along with other artists she’s designing the “skins” for how the cards look when delivered electronically.
“We’re making giving a gift card a more special experience, like you put thought into it,” she says. “It’s fun and more creative for both the giver and the recipient.”
According to Amazon, with Surprise! users can customize their personalized e-card with a photo, video or audio greeting and even a handwritten signature. Then it can be “digitally wrapped” with designs such as the ones Beth makes.
Another aspect of her work is for à la Gift.com, a digital platform developed by Gift Card Impressions, used by many retailers of gift cards. Digital cards, photo books, personalized video greetings and gift cards with “wrapping” can be created; many include her design.
Beth’s career experience after graduation includes four years at the Nazarene Global Ministry Center (GMC) where she gained experience creating designs for various departments all with different looks for different audiences. She calls it a “great proving ground” for a new graduate.
“As a designer at the GMC I learned not to have just one style,” she recalls. “Different audiences have different needs.”
She also gained good communication skills by working with all the different GMC departments. Something that benefits her as she navigates among the various projects she handles today.
If she could give a new designer advice, getting feedback and accepting criticism of one’s work would be top priority. Beth uses online websites as a way of getting feedback.
“You can put your design out there and get feedback,” she says. “Every day I look at the blogs to see what’s out there and what’s trending. And get a good mentor,” she adds. “I’ve learned so much from them and the experience has helped me grow so much.”
She also recommends designers strive to keep learning through conferences, and trying out new things.
“I’m always pushing myself; always designing. If I have no work to do, I make something of my own to sell,” she adds.