In anticipation of MA Journeys + Paths panel discussion, we asked Armchair’s Senior Designer and panelist Mariel Harding five questions.

How can schools prepare students better for the real world?

Give them experience with real clients. I know many schools are already doing this and it’s great. But I only had one experience in school where I had a real client to work for, so it was a big change for me to come into an environment where I had to take in all the client feedback and run with it. I realized that I had been designing in a vacuum in school.

How do your coworkers shape you and your work?

One of the things I love most about working with other people is the honest feedback I get for my work. Also my co-workers push me farther than I would go on my own. I’ve learned not to be satisfied with meeting client expectations but aim for the best.

How do you stay on top of latest technologies and methods?

I tend to research things on a project basis, looking for a tool to fit in with what I’m doing. Technology can definitely inform a design and make it better but isn’t usually the basis of it. Also Nate does a super job of keeping on top of what’s out there, so I look to him on a lot of things.

Who and what influences your work?

In school, I loved books so I would go to the library every time I had a new project to look for new books. Initially I would look for books on a specific subject like “logos” or “pattern design” Then when I came across a book on Milton Glaser’s collected work, I realized it was much more interesting to see how one designer tackled different projects in their own style. So I started to find great books on the work by Josef Müller-Brockmann, Massimo Vignelli, Paul Rand, Armin Hoffmann, Wim Crouwel, and Robert Massin as well as a book of book covers by Chip Kidd which I loved too. Currently I find the the work of Werkplaats very exciting because it is very playful while also following a strict grid.

How do you deal with rejection, when your ideas get killed? 

This has always been a hard thing for me because I get really personally attached to or involved in each solution or design I work on. It has gotten better and easier to accept rejection over time because I’ve seen that my idea isn’t always right and that rejection can make something much better in the end.


About Journeys+Paths

In ‘Journeys & Paths – Finding Success & Happiness’ a panel discussion moderated by Armchair’s President & CEO Scott Woelfel, award-winning global design firm IDEO, acclaimed digital/interactive-media agency Armchair, and the American clothing company that ‘gets it’, Alternative Apparel, examines the successes and challenges of young designers embarking on a career in the upper echelons in design-thinking and creativity.

Saturday, 8 June
6:00 pm – 7:30 pm

Armchair Media
950 Joseph E. Lowery Blvd
Suite 19
Atlanta, Georgia 30318

More info.