Thursday, May 3, 2012

Employee Profiles: Web Designer Catherine G.

Always wanted to know who’s work is behind the pages of and our AE e-mails? Catherine G., one of AE's web designers, is part of the team that brings the brand to life online. We sat down with Catherine to learn a little bit more about her and her work at AE. 

Catherine G., one of AE's Web Designers

What made you interested in graphic design?
I’ve always created and organized things. When I was little, I didn’t really like to go outside and play much, I would sit in our basement on our (at the time, very cool) Gateway computer and design posters with song lyrics on them for my bedroom. In college, I majored in Visual Communication at Ohio University where I primarily learned editorial design. This lead to me an internship at Cosmopolitan in New York one summer. Growing up in a suburb of Pittsburgh where AE is based, I knew working here was a feasible dream, if I could get my foot in the door and I’m so glad I did. Working here utilizes my experiences in fashion editorial design in an online medium, plus I enjoy working for a brand my friends and I grew up with and still love.

Lee's Art Shop - Catherine's favorite art store in Manhattan, near the Hearst Tower where she worked.

What are some of the projects you have worked on for AE?
At AE, my daily responsibility is designing all of the email marketing creative that we send out each week. I love designing the trend-focused emails, which really let the customer see how they can outfit themselves in up-to-date looks with our product. Recently, I’ve also worked on pages of the website as well as a new experience called “Where Has Your AE Been.” (It launches on later this month.) All these projects let me work with different groups of people within the company and keeps me on my toes.

Where do you find your inspiration?
I don’t really find inspiration from anywhere specifically, I gather it mostly from magazines and blogs. I have a floor-to-ceiling cork board in my bedroom where I put up photos that excite me in some way — like a real life Pinterest. My desk at work is the same. My bedroom has a chill gray, teal vibe to it and my desk has a bright pop of pink and orange right now to get me motivated for the day. It’s hard for me to set time aside to look for inspiration, I just like to be surrounded by things that look nice and draw from what’s around me.

Catherine's current inspiration on her desk.

If you weren’t a graphic designer, what would you be doing?
I always say if I wasn’t a graphic designer, I would be a travel agent. I get a natural high from planning trips – I love booking flights. I always want to find the best deal, flight time and perfect seat. I hate to admit this, but is really fun for me.

What’s your favorite part of Pittsburgh?
My favorite part of Pittsburgh is Shadyside, the neighborhood where I live. I’m within walking distance to my yoga studio, Starbucks, tons of restaurants and bars where my friends and I hang out, and a Sephora (which is big trouble for my bank account). The coolest part about it is everywhere I go, I see people I know. On Saturday morning at the yoga studio, I see 3 or 4 girlfriends that I not only work with at AE but had drinks or dinner with the night before. It’s a quiet, small town feel in an awesome city — I never run out of things to do here.

Shadyside captured by Catherine on a 7 a.m. Saturday walk to yoga

What are your other passions and hobbies?
I’m a yoga teacher at Amazing Yoga in Shadyside. I’ve been practicing there for three years and I went to Costa Rica and Mexico to get my teaching certifications this past year. I also teach yoga at our corporate gym, AE Fit.

Last August I became a Big Sister for Big Brothers, Big Sisters and have a Little Sister who is fourteen. We spend time together on weekends — painting pottery, ice skating... I recently took her to Whole Foods and she tried sushi for the first time (she liked it!). Big Brothers Big Sister is a program that AE supports heavily and I love giving back on the smaller scale, one-on-one.

Catherine and her friend Josie doing yoga on the beach in Tulum, Mexico in March.

Are you headed anywhere for vacation this summer?
I’m going to Lollapalooza and it’s the first musical festival I’ll have been to. I’m so excited to see Kaskade, Florence and the Machine, Washed Out, and The Weeknd.