December 18, 2014

Pratt Alumni Spotlight: Chiung Hiu Chiu

In October I had the pleasure of meeting with Chiung Hiu Chiu --who goes by Chiu -- an award-winning visual designer, art director and Pratt alumni. She has worked with some of the top design firms in the New York City in her career thus far, and after speaking with her, it is obvious she is going nowhere but up.

Tell us about yourself.

“My name’s Chiu, pronounced like a sneeze ‘Hah-chiu’. I love movies - I’ve seen Amelie seven times; I dislike diet food. I love music... all kinds of music. I am currently working on digital campaigns for multiple clients including Samsung and Converse. I like to draw and take photos of everything, everywhere.”

“I first came to New York in 2005 to travel and learn English. After spending some time in New York, I fell in love with the culture and lifestyle of the city. When I went back to Taiwan, I found myself missing NYC so much that I decided I needed to move there. While living in Taiwan, I was actually majoring in chemical engineering. I used to draw beautiful covers for the experiment reports, even though my teacher didn’t ask for them. I never really expected to move to NYC; it was traveling there in 2005 that changed my mind. I moved to NYC in 2006 to attend Pratt Manhattan’s Graduate Communication Design program.”

How do you think your Pratt experience has helped shape you as the artist/creative professional you are now?

“While I was at Pratt I took every class equally as serious - whether it was a design class or a theoretical class. I felt it was important to create work in every class.”

Here is some stuff I did while I was at Pratt:

Images provided courtesy of Chiu. Not for re-use.

“This project was about branding: you picked a company where you felt their branding failed and rebrand it. I picked the New York Sport Club - they have a logo but it doesn’t say anything about working out and it doesn’t inspire you. I noticed when people are working out they always make ‘Uh!’ sounds so I used that as an identifier. I wanted to develop a brand that would inspire people to work out. I decided to do a print campaign where I drew dumbbells and bars and cut finger holes into the pages so you could move the images as if they were real.”

What are some of the challenges that you faced as an international student?

“The first challenges I faced were the language barrier and cultural difference. I always felt discouraged by my communication skills; it was a struggle to clearly articulate concepts to people. I have ideas, but people don’t understand what I’m trying to say. Now I talk to my co-workers first to help me get my point across better. I’m still trying to learn how I can build up my language skills in a more efficient way. Cultural differences, on the other hand, are my nightmare. The culture I’m living in now is completely different than the culture I grew up accustomed to. Also, it’s challenging because as a foreign student when you get a job you have to ask for a work visa and employers have to pay extra to hire you. Most of my friends from Taiwan had to go back to Taiwan after college because New York is already very competitive and you have to get extra help as an international student.”

What is some advice you want to share with current Pratt students?

“It’s important to take every class equally as serious, don’t give up in smaller classes. Looking back, I regret not taking my first semester classes as seriously. My English was really poor the first semester, so the I spent more time figuring out what the teacher was saying rather than actually learning what was being taught. I kind of feel like I lost the first semester. By the second semester I started an internship because I didn’t want to waste any more time.”

“It’s also important to work on your own projects aside from company or school work. There’s one thing you can control - yourself. If you give yourself assignments you can do whatever you want and produce work that is true to your aesthetic, style and self. Most people think that doing work in your spare time is too much but you shouldn’t think about it - just do it! Just sketch and keep sketching and doodling and at the end you will see progress in your work. You should never think ‘What project should I do?’. If you think about things too hard, and you think about too many steps in a projects it will just block you. I draw whenever I can - it leads me to different places.”

Walk us through a day in the life of Chiu.

“Well, I check my email every thirty minutes, and spend about 20% of my day on Facebook. Unfortunately I spend a lot of my time in meetings, but when I’m not, I spend a lot of my day daydreaming and thinking about ideas. I also spend a lot of time doodling to come up with ideas.”

Here are some examples of Chiu’s ongoing doodle projects. You can check out the rest of them of them here:
Images provided courtesy of Chiu. Not for re-use.

Did you do any internships or have any work experience while you were at Pratt?

“As soon as I started going to Pratt I realized I shouldn’t just be a student but I that I should get a job as well. I got a part time job on campus being a lab monitor. My friends started doing internships and that made me realize that I should start looking around for one. Unfortunately, there weren’t very many opportunities at the time. My first internship was with MTV and it was SO COOL, however like many first internships, it didn’t pay. I did a lot of flash banners for the shows. I went there three days a week during the school year and completed the internship for academic credit. I loved the environment and the people I worked with. they ended up asking me to stay but with no pay so I started looking for other internships. While at MTV I got some great advice from one of my coworkers, they told me I have to build connections as a student. If you’re locked up in one place then maybe you’ll just end up there.”
“My second internship was paid working for Firstborn Multimedia. After that I worked for RGA - one of the top agencies in the world. They offered me a job after the first semester and I ended up working there for four years. I was offered a job while I was drawing icons for Verizon and my creative director saw my drawings and thought I was talented so they kept me. Throughout my time at Pratt I was constantly running between work and school. After being at RGA for a while I decided it was time for a change. I was given West Coast opportunities but ended up going to Shanghai, China to work for Wieden + Kennedy, the company that does all the advertising for NIKE. My title in Shanghai was Head of Design - I learned a ton about leadership.”

“After my experience at Wieden + Kennedy I knew I wanted to teach students how to build their portfolio because when I hired people, our recruiters spent very little time looking at people’s portfolios and interviewing them. You have to be extremely versatile. One time an employer asked me: “ Do you ever sleep?” I took that as a compliment. While in Shanghai I was never really able to get used to the Chinese lifestyle. I was still so in love with New York City that I decided I just had to go back. When I went back I had to start all over with getting a work visa, doing paperwork, blah, blah, blah. When I returned to NYC I started working for Razorfish (digital agency) but I didn’t really get used to it. Then I went to JWT (J. Walter Thompson) as a Design Director. I felt it still wasn’t a right fit, then one day I randomly ran into my old boss from RGA. We started talking and he offered me to come back since I wasn’t really happy with my current job. It wasn’t that I was sad about working at JWT, I just wasn’t completely satisfied with the work I was doing. So I decided to go back to RGA - and that’s where I am now.”

My time spent talking with Chiu gave me a great idea of what it is like as a professional after graduating from Pratt, and she has some great projects that she has worked on. To learn more about what she has done, check out these links:


Some work from Pratt

The on-going doodles

Photo Blog

CH!U® Daily Journal

Written by: Christina Nahas 

December 16, 2014

Inside Track into Industry: Publishing

It was a rainy fall evening and there was just a hint of sunlight left outside. Students and alumni were lined up to sign in and register with umbrellas in hand at the Student Union. The room was set up with 11 circular tables and at each table there were two to three employers, authors, art directors, editors and designers from different companies, including Entertainment Weekly and American Photography.
Inside Track to Industry: Publishing began with the strike of a gong. Then came Deborah Yanigisawa’s introduction of Rafael and Martha, who were the organizers of the event. Rafael explained the instructions for the night: “Whenever a question is asked, you ring the bell on the table”. The employers met with students and alumni to discuss career plans, share career stories, and provide information about the company they were there to represent.

A screen projected a live feed of the Twitter hashtag for the night, which was #PrattInsideTrack, and we found many tweets such as:

  • @Raphaelschnee (Sir Schnoopy): “Talking about book covers at table 6! #PrattInsideTrack”
  • @iamssih (Emily Faber): “Love learning about American Illustration at table 7!! #PrattInsideTrack can’t wait to learn about more industries”.

After 30 minutes, the gong was struck again and all the employers shared with the entire group the most interesting questions discussed at each table.

It was exciting to see different publishing companies all in one table with Pratt students. There were a good number of students at Table 4, who spoke with Michael Windsor, the Art Director of Penguin Random House, along with others from Time Magazine and Time Out New York. Table 10 had the chance to meet Kevin Brainard who studied at SVA and is now a designer for book covers, theatre posters and magazines (such as Living and Brides).  He discussed the diversity of his work: “We like to stay diverse and keep it moving… keep it changing”.

The gong was hit once again and Deborah asked the group to share the most interesting question at the table. The answers included:

  • “How we got started doing our jobs” from Table 2
  • “Transferring from a book to an eBook”
  • “Most effective way to get illustration work to an Art Director- if it’s monthly: call, if it’s daily: don’t call.”
  • “Is it normal to jump from job to job?”
  • “How companies are judging books on different scales, such as how it would do financially, etc.”
At Table 6, Ryan Fischer-Harbage (literary agent at The Fischer-Harbage Agency Inc.) and Thad Ziolkowski (author of the novel Wichita) asked students about their classes. This was a table I really enjoyed visiting, as there was a French vibe to it. They discussed the simplicity of writing, using quotes like this one from Blaise Pascal: “If I had more time, I would have written you a shorter letter”. They joked and conversed about subtractive methods in writing, stating that if you can say what you want in a simple way to do that, because less is more and simple is profound.

Other tables included Nick Nartorelli (Manager of eBook productions at RHPS Group), who discussed eBooks and noted how they are HTML language and how anything that can be done in an eBook can also be done on a website -- like animation, color, and sound. Another table got the chance to speak with Rhonda Schaller (author of Create Your Art Career: Practice Tools, Visualizations, and Self-Assessment Exercises for Empowerment and Success)  and Moses Gates (Urban Planner at AICP) who talked about writing and finding your audience. One tidbit I overheard advice to writers from Moses: “Don’t tell them you’ve written the whole book or ‘I already have the book done’ because companies want to be cooperative with the writing process”.

Table 7 got a chance to speak with Mark Heflin, Director of  American Photography & American Illustration. They talked about the student’s edition competition section of American Photography and American Illustration: “You can pick your best ten, or two pictures”. Check it out, as the deadline is in February - you can register here!

Mark Heflin conversing with student

Someone asked Mark if he started as an illustrator, and his response was that he used to be a tap dancer and a singer. He then described the types of “survivor jobs” he has held. He explained what temporary (temp) agencies are and shared his story of how he started working for the office through one of those agencies and ultimately became director years later. I was surprised to hear that there are just two people that work at his office. It was interesting hearing about his position and what it is like inside American Photography. I will definitely be submitting my work to them, you never know if it could be, I hope you do too.

Our next Inside Track Into Industry: Public Spaces, will take place on Thursday, January 29th. Be sure to follow Pratt Success on Facebook for registration information, which will be provided closer to the event!

Written by: Jazz Seijii Hernandez
Photographs by: Jazz Seijii Hernandez

December 8, 2014

Gotham Tours: Makerbot

On October 29th, I got to be a part of our second Gotham Tour at MakerBot. We headed over to downtown Brooklyn where the MakerBot office was located. When we entered their office there was a gallery which included the first 3D printer designs and showcased some 3D prints that highlighted some of the many ways we can make use of a 3D printer. Two that stood out in my mind were the high heel shoe design and a frog dissection kit.

MakerBot Prototype 3D Printer

After walking through the gallery we entered their office space. Desks were filled with colorful toys and the sound of 3D printers was everywhere, -- it was like hearing a group of robots doing detailed work. Every desk was stocked with a MakerBot printer, and it seemed like they were all in use at the same time. We walked through the multiple departments -- the marketing team, the design studio, and the learning department, and they all had fantastic views of the city.

We were then led into the conference room where Matt Sung and Peter Ciccotto gave us a presentation of the different components of the company. Peter spoke to us about his role in user experience, making e-commerce easier, user research, design and prototyping. He indicated the importance of speaking to buyers in a language they understand, as there are ways to speak and inspire certain populations (such as schools).

He mentioned how at MakerBot “we try to be more emotional in how we speak about our devices” and how they consider “what’s the best way to convey this message” or ”what is the best way to tell the story”. Peter also mentions keeping track of buyers and taking into account what buyers are coming back for -- …”where there’s smoke, there’s fire” and that is the cue to get something started.

Peter explained to us that the replicator of the printer, which is an important part of the printer that serves as the heart, was not revealed in the website (or even given the option to buy and replace) until a week prior, but was a feature the printer has had for a year. He spoke about their process to make this information more visible to the user and gave some details as to the reasoning behind their website design for this functionality.

They then began to speak about the different factors that go into the presentation of a MakerBot store. They create 3D renders, plot out the color of the walls, typography, location of bathrooms and digital design in screens. It was interesting to hear all the dynamics that go into planning a store.

We asked questions about their professional journeys and how they started their careers. They spoke about the importance of summer jobs, internships and networking from their different perspectives. What struck me the most was the discussion on networking with your professors and getting them to remember you.

Peter stressed the importance in handing in your work on time since it shows that you are able to handle deadlines. You might be surprised to hear his story on how this (positively) affected his first job and the hiring recommendations he made. Note to self -- make sure to continue submitting everything in a timely manner!

It was an extraordinary experience as a student to get the chance to check out the MakerBot office. You can check out reviews of past Gotham Tours on our blog to see where else we have visited. We would love to hear from you to find out where you want to go for the spring semester -- let us know on our Facebook page or via Twitter!

Written By: Jazz Seijii Hernandez
Photography By: Jazz Seijii Hernandez

December 3, 2014

Internship Access: School of Design

On November 6th I attended a CCPD event called Internship Access: School of Design. Internship Access is a series of networking and recruiting events designed to promote different internship programs and to establish relationships between students and businesses. The event began with individual presentations of the different internship programs and ended with an opportunity for students to network in a casual setting.

Before attending the event, students submitted a resume on their Pratt Pro accounts so it would be sent out to all the companies who attended - pretty cool right? If you missed out, don’t worry about it - we’ve got you covered. Here is a list of the companies that attended with a brief summary of who they are and what they’re looking for in interns:

Jared Sherman Epps

Jared Sherman Epps is an interior design firm specializing in residential and hospitality design, and they are located just a couple blocks away from Pratt in Clinton Hill. Jared Epps, the company’s founder, actually graduated from Pratt with a degree in Interior Design. He was recently awarded "Best of 2014" by, and “18 Designers to Watch” by Boutique Design Magazine. His company has done work all over the world for a number of different clients, including the Trump Hotel in Dubai and Harrow Art Hotel in Africa.

They are looking for interns who have previous program/job experience and who are proficient in computer programs/rendering. Interns must have a professional and positive attitude as interns will receive real world experience like client interaction and on site experience.

GOOD TO KNOW: If you plan on applying keep in mind that Jared Sherman Epps strongly recommends that you have references.


Papercutz is the #1 children’s graphic novel publisher in the United States. Located in the financial district, they are the only North American stand alone publisher in the United States. They publish about 50 - 60 books a year and are currently working with companies like Nickelodeon, Lego, Smurfs, Disney, Dreamworks and WWE. Along with advertising and graphic design, Papercutz also works with relettering and translation of European book imports.

Papercutz is looking for Graphic Design and Advertising/Art Direction majors for their internship program. Duties and projects will include creating digital previews of Papercutz titles, creating graphics for marketing use, assistance with social media campaigns and building and maintenance of Papercutz websites. The internship is 12 weeks long and unpaid.


Barker is a multi-disciplinary advertising and interactive agency. They’re an integrated industry working across multiple platforms. Barker prioritizes helping their clients and promoting business strategy - which has proven to be an obvious success because they’ve won 35 awards in the past year. There are currently 25 people working for this company.

Barker internships offer workplace flexibility - they value the actual work, not necessarily where it gets done. So as long as the work gets done on time, the intern will be able to occasionally work from home.

GOOD TO KNOW: When considering applying, you should know that they end up hiring 89% of their interns.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

We all know who this company is - but did you know that the MET has their own in house design studio? The Metropolitan Museum of Art is the largest art museum in the United States and the third largest art museum in the world. They have two design departments in the MET design studio: Communication Design and Exhibition Design.

Communication Design interns should show proficiency with Adobe Creative Cloud and exhibition designers should be knowledgeable with Vectorworks, Rhino and AutoCad. Interns must able to meet deadlines and have a professional/ positive attitude. As an intern, you will be very integrated into working at the Met, as interns work collaboratively with all departments in the MET. 


TVI is a company specializing in branding, design, development and marketing who have worked with over 200 companies around the USA. They offer a breadth of creative and marketing services. TVI even has an in house innovations lab, where they’ve developed/launched their own products like Bubble Ball - a huge blow up ball that you can be worn comfortably around the body by adjusting shoulder straps and holding on to handles in the core of the bubble ball (seen below). They have worked with clients like TAO, Jimanos Pizza, NASA and Universal Music Group.

TVI’s company consists of about 20 people and is fun, flexible and allows you to occasionally work from home. During their presentation, TVI emphasized the fact that interns will be able to create an impressive portfolio.


Quirky is a company that turns ideas into reality. They bring new consumer ideas to the market every week.The awesome thing about Quirky is that the consumer comes up with the idea for the product then Quirky designers/ employees turn that idea into a reality. You can submit your own ideas and/or critique other people’s ideas for new products.

Quirky is looking for Industrial Design, Graphic Design and UI majors for internships. During their presentation, Quirky stressed that when you submit your portfolio for internships, think about who is going to be seeing it. Recruiting managers are NOT artists, so make sure your portfolio is short, concise and impressive.

GOOD TO KNOW: They are accepting internship applications now, but if you’re looking for a summer internship make sure you apply in January.


David Yum Architects

David Yum Architects is an architecture and interior design studio with locations in New York, the West Coast, Hawaii and Asia. They specialize in residential and institutional architecture and interior design, as well as historic preservation, furniture/fixture design, landscape design and more.

The studio emphasizes focus on research and critical thinking. Located in Downtown Manhattan, their New York firm consists of 46 employees. Internships are geared towards Interior Design students. Interns will work an average of 20 hours per week, but have the option to work a minimum of 16 hours per week.



Edelman is the world’s largest public relations firm, with more than 5000 employees in 65 cities. They have a full in-house creative production team and studio team. These teams work with some of the biggest and most exciting brands - not to mention they have won multiple awards. In one of their most recent projects, they collaborated with “The World’s Most Interesting Man”, the Dos Equis advertisement character, for a Cinco de Mayo themed campaign.

Edelman is looking for a design intern with a diverse skill set who is able to maintain a positive, professional attitude. On their internship job board they state, “We don’t care whether you aspire to be a copywriter, an art director, a coder, a designer, or a planner. What’s important is the way you look at the world and your ability to come up with cut-through ideas and present them in a compelling way. An experience at Edelman is a very real opportunity for you to flex your creative muscle and have an immediate impact on some of the world’s leading brands.”

GOOD TO KNOW: Their internships are open application.

Warren Red

Warren Red is an architecture, interior design and branding firm specializing in hospitality design, with a focus on creating complete branded environments. They have worked on everything from hospitality projects in the United States to large public arts and residential projects in Australia and New Zealand. Their interior design, architect and graphic design employees often collaboratively work with fashion designers and landscape designers.

Warren Red is located in a small, charming office near Madison Square Park in Manhattan. They are seeking interns with proficient design and communication skills as well as a positive outlook and independence.



PVH is one of the world’s leading clothing brand owners. Their diversified portfolio consists of brands like Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Speedo and much, much more. They’re a huge company with more than 30,000 employees all over the world.

Their 10-week, paid internship is a structured program, giving interns exposure through training & development seminars, networking events and group/ individual projects. PVH is looking for current sophomores and junior apparel design, web design, graphic design and interior design majors. PVH is looking for ambitious students with leadership capabilities and a passion for the fashion industry.

GOOD TO KNOW:Their summer internship application deadline is December 6th, so if you’re interested in applying - start your application soon!

Internship Access: School of Design was my first experience where a company pitched their program to me, and I found it to be very informative and less stressful than an internship fair. I also got the chance to network after the presentations and speak to my companies of interest, so it worked out!

The next Internship Access event will be for the School of Information and Library Science, and it is coming up in February. More information will be made available closer to the date, and the registration link will be posted as an announcement on your Pratt Pro account -- if you don’t have one, go sign up (PSSST: it’s free)!

Written by: Christina Nahas
Images from individual company websites, not for reuse.

November 12, 2014

We Visit Titmouse Inc.

2014-10-27 14.56.19 (1).jpg

I’m sure you probably already know about Titmouse, Inc. They make cartoons. Not only do they make cartoons, they make awesome cartoons. Do Metalocalypse, The Venture Bros., Superjail!, and China, IL ring a bell? This supercool animation studio took Pratt students on a tour through their Manhattan office to learn more about the awesome work being done inside.

We met a bunch of different people, got a sneak peek on what projects they'd been working on, and got to enjoy some fantastic Halloween decorations. We were guided through the building and stopped in to see five different people to find out what they were up to and get their advice.

Alex Kwan, a super kind animator that took us under her wing, shared some details on animating and symbols, along with shoes. Rachel Gitlevich, another fantastic animator, showed us some awesome animations from Super Jail (if you haven’t seen it, go check it out). She also had some great tidbits to share with the students that we are passing along to you:

    “Check your thumbnails on your demo reel.”

            “Internships are the best way to get a job ever.”

We also peeked in the offices (and over the shoulders) while chatting with Josh Howell (Digital Cleanup Supervisor), Chris Fisher (Background Painter), and James Sugrue (Animator), all of whom were awesome and amazing and every other good word you can think of that starts with A.

Obviously they had tons of other great things to say too, but we can’t share them all. Some of what we got to see and hear was super top-secret, and you missed out on the fun. Follow the Career Ambassadors on Twitter (@PrattSuccess) and like them on Facebook (Pratt Success) to find out what other cool events are happening so you can join in!

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October 22, 2014

Creative Morning - Everyone Has a Story to Tell: How to Tell It Strategically

On October 1st, 2014, I attended the ‘Creative Morning’ event at the Manhattan Campus, which was hosted by the Center for Career & Professional Development (CCPD). Everybody in the room was curious about what David Carofano was going to present. Once the lights had dimmed, each person was ready with their notepads and pens to find out what he had to share.

David Carofano presenting to Pratt students how to tell "their story".
David  works at Local Projects, and shared with us a short presentation on how to identify our skills and tips on expressing them in this changing market. He shared with us the struggles he faced at the beginning of his career, and his honesty about these struggles with employers.

David expressed that when interviewers asked why he had only been at his previous jobs for less than than a year, his answer was that he hadn't found "that thing yet" -- the perfect job that felt like a great fit for him, and was still searching to fill that gap. He suggested to include “why you’re here” as part of your story, because “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”.
He emphasized that when telling your story, you want to “connect with them on an emotional level” to make it powerful. David uses this same theory when working with clients and when he is developing strategies for new projects. He noted that he considers: “What is that one thing that people are going to connect to emotionally? You have to put yourself in their shoes and think about what they would be seeing, feeling or thinking”.
David says to continue to write your story with your experiences; talk to developers, designers and get to know individuals with different skills to expand your knowledge and story.

David - "Your story is your journey."
David’s role in Local Projects is to come up with strategies and pass them on to content developers and videographers. “You have to figure out a platform… come up with ideas that can then go into designs…” 

“How do you choose the right medium when working with a client?” Was a question asked during the event, and I’d like to know how you would answer this question. Feel free to comment and share with us your opinion.

Be sure to check out the next Creative Morning coming up on November 5th. These are held on the first Wednesday of the month at 8:30 AM on the Pratt Manhattan Campus. You can register through the CCPD Blog by clicking here.

Written By: Jazz Seijii Hernandez
Photographs By: Jazz Seijii Hernandez