Evan Ohl on Designing Solo and Collaboratively

Evan Ohl left Woodbury in 2015 as something of a design star, having made it into a student showcase in “Communication Arts,” the gold standard among graphic design journals. For Evan, a senior brand designer at Scorpion in Valencia, it looks very much as though past was prologue.

Evan attributes much of his career trajectory to his Woodbury experience. “Woodbury taught me how to think for myself in terms of design,” he says. “Being encouraged to try new techniques, new mediums, and new methods of presentation across physical and digital media has made a difference in every job I’ve had at Scorpion. From web design to branding, every creative class I took at Woodbury has helped in one way or another.”

In a graphic design context, thinking for oneself can be both communal and solitary, Evan suggests; it means making ample room for colleagues and associates. “Team-wide communication is one of the most important elements of working in a shared space, and one of the backbones of leadership,” he says. “It’s incredible how quickly a situation can go from bad to worse with poor communication, and how, with quality communication, it can go from bad to highly productive even more rapidly. We’re all guilty of speaking too much or too little – it’s natural. But finding a balance between the two and actively finding solutions to problems instead of relying on management to handle it for you – that makes all the difference.”

At Scorpion, Evan has been able to apply those lessons in his work with Google. “Working with Google has been an absolute blast,” he says. “I’ve designed co-hosted webinar decks for our salespeople and co-branded collateral for tradeshows we’ve been a part of.” And more – much more. “Overall, I completed 619 projects in 2017 and will probably beat that record this year. Deadlines represent the biggest adjustment I’ve had to make, no question. Not all companies will work at the same pace, but it’s vital to manage your time and work smarter.”

If Evan is on a fast track, it’s one he’s mapping with care. “In five years, I see myself in a director of branding position, and in ten years I’d love to have achieved the role of vice president of branding for the company,” he says. He’s looking to grow along with the core technologies that continue to redefine graphic design. “We’re seeing more and more ‘futuristic’ methods of delivering a message: virtual reality. Projection advertisement. Projection mapping. Even more subtle technology like remarketing and retargeting.”

From his point of view as an emerging leader in the design field, Evan’s counsel is both thoughtful and forward-looking. “It’s important to experiment. Play with unconventional methods of design. Make something with your hands and photograph it. Create things you want to see in your world. Get inspired by your music, your movies, your games. See what works, and what doesn’t work. Always be results-focused. And never forget your target audience.”

His ties with his alma mater continue to be strong. Evan has returned to critique degree presentations for his professors during the past few months, and has visited Woodbury as a guest judge for various design projects on several occasions. “I love coming back and offering real-world advice as a way to help current graphic design students,” he says.

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