The art of transformation

March 13, 2014, 1:00 pm

Ashley Curtin (‘12) is a Harter on her mother’s side—a family that has a rich history of attending and supporting Northwest Nazarene University. So, as Ashley says, “it’s pretty much in my blood to end up at a Nazarene school.” In addition to that, she was looking for a liberal arts school where she could study graphic design while also receiving a well-rounded education. “I liked the idea of having small classes where I could get extra attention and critique from my peers and professors, and NNU was a school I was comfortable going to.”

At NNU, Ashley started fresh with no prior training in graphic design and little confidence in her skills. It was through the dedication and encouragement of her professors that she developed her design and found the motivation to succeed.

“NNU’s art and design program and the professors who lead it are what made me the designer I am today.” Ashley asserts. “By the time I graduated I had a ‘design family’ that consisted of my professors and my classmates. We formed such a special connection during our four years together that I would still feel comfortable calling any of them up for some design—or life—consulting.”

Paul Kinsman, Director of NNU’s Department of Art and Design, speaks to the transformation Ashley underwent during her time in the design program. As her talents grew, so did her confidence. By the end of her four years at NNU, Ashley was promoting herself online through multiple social media outlets in order to find a career that matched the level her abilities had risen to.

“In class, Ashley developed a unique vision for her work that reflected her personal taste and sense of style,” Paul remembers. “But it was the way she pursued her career that made her a standout. A designer can have all the talent in the world, but if they don’t build a network of contacts, their talent may go undiscovered. Ashley did everything possible to be sure her talent and abilities were noticed—and it worked.”

Ashley completed an internship at Artitudes Design Inc. during the summer before her senior year at NNU. After graduation, they offered her a full time job.

“I felt really prepared going into my first graphic design job after graduation. I was prepped with software knowledge to know my way around the Adobe Creative Suite and with design knowledge that I use every day at work.”

Artitudes is a full service graphic design firm located in the greater Seattle area. They do work for many Seattle based companies—the largest of which is Microsoft. For their various clients, Artitudes does everything from presentation and web design to print collateral and full scale branding.

“Every day is different around here.” Ashley comments. “The kinds of projects that I work on vary from day to day, but I get a lot of work where I am given something and told to make it ‘look better.’ Because I was taught to have a critical eye, it is easy for me to pinpoint what needs to be changed, added, or taken away.”

Learn more about NNU’s Department of Art & Design and how it can help prepare you for your future design career at

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