Q&A with our new design lead: Amy Robinson

Amy Robinson, Graphic Design Team Lead at Mt. Lebanon Magazine /Photo: Rachel Windsor

Please join us in welcoming Mt. Lebanon Magazine’s new graphic design team lead, Amy Robinson. Coming to us from Bellevue, Amy brings 20+ years of experience in marketing, strategy and graphic design to the position. Get to know the newest member of the team even better in this Q&A:

What brought you to Mt. Lebanon?

I was looking for opportunities locally. I had been working remotely for the past three years and I was thinking that it might not be the worst thing to have a job that you go to, that you commute to. [In] my last position I focused on marketing strategies and account management, but my passion is design. I was looking for a position that allowed me to use my creative direction, art direction and design skills.

What did you study in college and where?

I went to a technical school which turned into a college: Pittsburgh Technical College. That’s where I got the skill for graphic design. In 2017, I got a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership at Robert Morris University, which is also something I’m passionate about.

Did you always know you wanted to be a designer?

That’s actually a funny story. In eighth grade, I got into John Grisham novels, so I had my heart set on being a lawyer. My senior year, I had an elective to fill so I took an art class. I had never taken an art class and my teacher was like, “Hey, you’re really good at this. What’re you doing after school?” I was all set to go to Penn State for law, and he said, “Well, that’s too bad, you’re really good at design. You just have a good eye. You might just want to rethink that.” He gave me the names of some schools, and I came down and visited. My second semester senior year, I changed my whole plan, and I’m so glad I did. I really enjoy my profession.

Do you have any artistic influences?

Not particularly. I appreciate gathering inspiration and ideas from a variety of sources. I think it’s good to look at what the famous designers are up to, but also what’s going on with social media. I look at magazines in the supermarket to see what’s going on out there as a real-world example.

Talk about how the industry is changing.

When I first started, it was the marketing professionals who controlled the message because the media was limited. Over the past twenty years, it’s almost the other way around. As a design professional and marketing professional, you have to go where the people are. People are starting to talk about influencers and user-generated content.

Are you concerned about AI or accepting of the new technology?

I think a little bit of both. It’s been a part of our lives and we haven’t really understood how yet. I love a good Netflix recommendation and Spotify playlists. I’m imagining we are going to see a decline in available positions. I hope we figure out how to use it for the mundane tasks, and not the fun, creative things we enjoy as human beings.

Amy and her husband, Mark, during a trip to Barcelona, Spain

What do you like to do in your free time?

I really like to travel with my husband.

Dogs or cats?

Definitely cats. We have an orange cat and she is a female, which is apparently very rare. Her name is Rebecca and she is eight.

What is your favorite kind of music to listen to?

I like all types of music, but my favorite band is called Phish. They’re a jam band. They just did a four-night stint at the Sphere in Las Vegas. I love the creativity they bring to everything they do.

Favorite restaurant Uptown?

Aladdin’s Eatery is probably my favorite food.

What was your first job?

In an advertising agency. I was actually an intern. One of the requirements for my associate’s degree was an internship, so I worked right in Downtown Pittsburgh. It was an agency called Ten United. I started as an intern, then they hired me full time as a junior designer. I was there for seven years and I worked my way up to Art Director.

What’s your ideal summer day?

Hanging out in my backyard. It would be sunny with a little breeze and maybe like 75 degrees. I would sit out there with a good book and just relax and enjoy doing nothing but reading.

Any advice for someone just starting out with graphic design?

I think that I would definitely suggest trying to find a real-world opportunity like an internship or even a job shadow. I think that it really helps you understand a day in the life. Other than that, really be mindful and observant. Whether it’s print materials or social media, try to see how people are reacting and what they’re observing. Great design is amazing, but I think a lot of times we forget that functionality has to be embedded in it.

Do you have any goals for your time at the magazine?

I’m really excited about working with the team that’s here. Hoping to make a good contribution and keep the creative content flowing out. I want to help keep the quality that they’ve built here going and help improve things along the way if possible.

Rebecca Robinson: Amy’s ultra-rare, female orange cat

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