December 16, 2014

Q&A with Splendor’s Art Director Michele Fulton

Splendor Design Group is very fortunate to have an ace layout designer, Michele Fulton, as our art director. Not only is Michele a seasoned, experienced designer, but she also happens to be a master of typography. Michele has an amazing ability to take a company’s content and information, and evaluate and organize it beautifully. She develops a prioritized outline of various content areas and then designs a visual presentation that communicates all of this information effectively.

Web Designer NJAlthough her focus was print design initially, Michele’s design savvy translates beautifully to the world of web design. Splendor Owner and Creative Director Adam Taylor notes, “Michele is an amazing website designer. For elegant, professional, sophisticated design work, she’s as good as it gets.”

Before joining the Splendor team, Michele was also an instructor at the California Design Center in Los Angeles. Wanting to tap into her knowledge and experience, we played Q&A with her recently to talk a bit about her unique skills, expertise, and teaching experience, and how they relate to the work she does now.



Where did you go to college and what was your concentration?

School of Visual Arts, NYC. I studied Graphic Design.
Prior to that I received a Liberal Arts degree from Middlesex Community College.



Where did you teach?

California Design Center, in Los Angeles, CA



How did you get involved in teaching these courses?

I always thought I would really enjoy teaching. I actually applied for a job I saw online. It looked like a great opportunity. 1 year later they hired me. I’d love to teach again if the opportunity presented itself.



What was the focus of the courses you taught?

I taught two courses: Hierarchy of Typography II and Concept Design.



I’m a student. Can you give me a little bit on what the “hierarchy of type” and “hierarchy of information” are?

It’s essentially understanding the different attributes of type elements to create a logical, visually pleasing layout. We use size, weight, placement, and spacing to express the parts of a page or document according their relative importance.



And what about Concept Design?

This course focused on brainstorming exercises including research, moodboards, style boards, etc. These are all aimed at creating various concepts and ideas for design projects. We followed up with execution on the computer to visually communicate, using design and style, stemming from the concepts created.



How does understanding design hierarchies set Splendor apart from other website design companies?

We are information organizers. In essence, we evaluate and interpret your business’ services and offerings and present that information visually. We work down from the top, placing the greatest emphasis on the most important elements and message points in the document.

We take in all of the information about what your company does, we then organize the information not only in its relative importance, but visually how it should look on the page keeping in mind this order of importance. Thinking about the importance of every piece of information, taking liberty to enhance the information or cut it back. Designing smart.



What’s one of your biggest pet peeves as a professional designer?

  • Not using the appropriate programs for the appropriate layouts
  • Messy files
  • Not asking questions



What do you try to avoid in your designs?

  • Ugly drop shadows
  • Bad margins
  • Bad type



What’s your favorite part or aspect of your job?

We work with so many different types of people and companies that were always learning about a new industry.



Any advice for young designers looking for direction?

Look at every job opportunity as a learning experience and more work for your portfolio. And listen to all of your bosses as if they were teachers. You will get something out of every older designer. No 25 year old designer is as good as a 65 year old designer. Just like life, your skills develop with age over time, the more you do it the better you will become.

Also – keep your ego out of your work and be reliable. Also, spell check. We get a bad rap for typos. Make us look good and prove the Harvard graduates wrong. Designers are actually very smart; we solve problems all day long.



Michele’s design work can be seen extensively in our print and website portfolios.

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