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Conversations with Rachel Camponeschi

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rachel Camponeschi.

Hi Rachel, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself
Becoming a graphic designer wasn’t something I had planned for at all. Growing up, I always loved drawing and painting but never thought I could make art into a career. Looking back now, I realize how those things have shaped my career today.

Even though I had an artistic side, I was always good at math and science. Math was my favorite subject, probably more so than art classes. As a junior/senior in high school, I began looking at colleges and trying to decide what my major would be. Coming from an engineering family and excelling in math, I decided that would be my path. I applied to many different schools and ended up at Virginia Tech as an engineering major. I quickly realized this wasn’t something I could picture myself doing outside of the classroom.

I left Virginia Tech after my first semester and enrolled at my local community college to figure out what my new major was going to be. After two years, and many different ideas, I took one graphic design course in my final semester. Going into the course, I didn’t have a great understanding of what graphic design was but after only a few weeks I knew this was what I wanted to do.

I transferred to Towson University where I completed my BFA and shortly after started my full-time job as the graphic designer for Notre Dame of Maryland University where I have worked for almost five years now. When I started, I never thought freelancing was something I wanted to do, but the pandemic really shifted my perspective. It made me look back at what I’ve accomplished the past five years and where I want to be when I’m 30.

January 2021 was when I decided to finally get serious about my freelancing career and start my own company, Campo Design Co. I’m still in the process of building enough client work to fully support myself but I’m excited to see where this takes me!

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I feel like I am still just at the beginning so I’m sure there will be more struggles to come! The biggest difficulty so far was the period of time between leaving Virginia Tech and finally transferring to Towson. Every day, I agonized over career choices. I can’t even count how many different career paths I considered along the way, from accounting to cosmetology to joining the Peace Corps.

There is so much pressure to make a seemingly life-long decision at such a young age it can definitely be overwhelming. To be honest, I’m not even sure what moved me to sign up for the graphic design class, but it almost felt like a Hail Mary in my final semester of community college. That was definitely the turning point for me.

My next struggle will be continuing to build my brand. So far, I have a good foundation and a handful of clients but my ultimate goal is to fully support myself and become a staple of the Baltimore community.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
The type of work I’ve done from undergrad until now has been focused on higher education. While studying at Towson, I also had the opportunity of working as a student designer for their Creative Services department. My transition from graduation to the working world was pretty smooth since I had previous experience working in higher ed.

Working in-house at Notre Dame of Maryland University has allowed me to take ownership of the brand. My design style for the past five years has been clean and contemporary, with playful elements throughout. Typography is one of my favorite ways to express feeling through design and I definitely spend too much time looking at fonts!

My design services include everything from brochures and invites to website design and branding. With each project and client, my style evolves and I love adding new techniques and different types of businesses to my portfolio.

Are there any important lessons you’ve learned that you can share with us?
Being able to handle criticism is something that every artist has to deal with. It’s hard to be objective when art can be so emotional but being able to step back and see the greater picture is important. Getting input from peers and mentors is super important when you run your own business and don’t have co-workers to bounce ideas off of.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Headshot is taken by Peter Hoblitzell

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