Graphic Design, and How It Makes a Difference

Being a Graphic Design major, I am constantly thinking about what I’ll be doing with my degree in the future: Will I be a freelancer and be my own boss? Will I work for another company and help them sell their products? Will I go back to my high school job at Dairy Queen and make prettier Blizzards than before? There isn’t a day where I haven’t thought about where life will lead me, but there’s one thing I haven’t thought about until recently: How can my work affect others?


Until last week, I had been worried about if I can find a job and how much I’ll make, but I never thought about what kind of difference my work will make. Justin Kemerling, a graphic designer who works for social justice initiatives, talked to us about how he used his designing skills to send messages for topics that he cares about, much like the Pipeline Fighters campaign he worked on. He utilizes graphics to make points and move people on certain situations to raise awareness, and utilizes them effectively. In his blog post, he says “When design is utilized to further the cause of social justice, to promote equity and opportunity, amazing things can happen.

Justin’s presentation and his mission in general really made me rethink the way I look at my future. Instead of thinking about how I’ll go about making a living for myself and how much I can make, I want to start thinking like how Justin thinks: How can I make a difference? What kind of impact with my work have on others? I already put my heart and soul into everything I work on, so why not do that for a movement or topic that I care about and have a significant amount of interest in?

If people can be convinced to buy a product based on a certain commercial or because of the aesthetics of an advertisement that they’ve looked at, they can certainly be drawn towards a social justice movement based on its design. I hope that one day I can be a part of a movement that I care about, and help raise awareness of the movement through my work. It’s nice to find a way to make a living for yourself with your degree, but it’s even better to help make a difference with it too.


A Bit About Me

My name is Ryan Lloyd, and I am a Sophomore Graphic Design Major from Waco, TX. I was born in Omaha, Nebraska and lived here for 10 years. After a bit of moving around from Omaha, to Little Rock, AR, to Texas, I was able to come back here to be able to study at Creighton University.

Like most Creighton students, I came to Nebraska seeking a Pre-Med degree. Unsurprisingly enough, that changed about halfway through the first semester after realizing it just wasn’t for me. During that year, I discovered that my passion lied within the JMC department, specifically for Graphic Design, and decided to declare my major at the end of the year.

What I want to be!

Being a Graphic Design major, I’ve been able to explore other areas of the JMC department in the past year and a half of going here. I’ve taken two computer science classes and a journalism class already, and I’ve enjoyed all of them so far. While I knew how to code in HTML from high school, I was able to learn more and improve on my prior knowledge through the classes I’ve taken the past few semesters. I’ll be excited to learn more within the department and continue to progress in the upcoming years.

I’ve also had many chances to develop my graphic design skills through several opportunities on and off campus. During Freshmen year, I worked in the Department of Residence Life as a work study student creating posters and digital signage for important housing announcements, programs for different organizations, and anything else that needed design work. From there, I branched out into other designer positions like Executive Director of Communications in the Inter Residence Hall Government, as well as a graphic designer position in the Creative Suite. I was also able to find a graphic designer internship with a company called Viirt, who I worked with  for close to a year on many design and video projects.

I’m connected to technology about 75% of the day, whether it be browsing on my phone through Reddit for my daily news updates, or watching Netflix on my computer to catch up on my favorite shows. But if I’m not procrastinating via YouTube videos or playing video games, I’m using the computer in a more productive way through working on projects in different Adobe programs (Photoshop, InDesign, etc.).


In today’s day and age, technology is prominent in our everyday life, so much to the point where it’d be a challenge to avoid. We use our phones not just to keep in touch with each other, but to get our news from online newspapers or social media in an instant. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and can actually be very beneficial to us to know what is going on in the world around us. But it can be easy for the media to make mistakes when they can find something on the internet immediately and take it as fact. Despite this, we still live in a great age where this situation of obtaining instant knowledge is possible, and it’s pretty amazing.