Kinsey Remien



Northwest College of Art - Graphic Design + Fine Art

Kinsey Remien gets to dream in color, and shape and font and … well, you name it … all day long. As a graphic designer at ParternersCreative in Missoula, Mont., for the past five years, Kinsey has worked her way from an intern to a woman who receives anywhere from one to 20 creative assignments in a day! She loves the creativity of her job and designs everything from logos and brochures to e-blasts and websites. Outside of work, she enjoys family time, getting a good workout in and carbohydrates. Read on to see what it’s like to be a designer at a bustling advertising agency.

You can’t start at the top, but if you know that’s where you belong, and work your butt off, you’ll get where you need to go.

How did you discover your current job?

If nothing else, I learned two things in college. One, that I could not leave my hometown of Missoula, Mont., and two, I wanted to work as a graphic designer. By the time I was looking for work, Missoula had three advertising firms, and PartnersCreative was at the top of that list. It was consistently referenced as the best -- the best creative and design, a commitment to local nonprofits and a likelihood for growth. I loved everything I heard and submitted my resume right away.

What has been your path so far to get you where you are today?

My senior year of college, I interned at Hale Design in Ballard, Wash. My experience with Hale taught me that the field is highly competitive, and it takes a lot of hard work and talent to get noticed. After graduating, I moved back to Missoula and picked up little jobs here and there, some having no connection whatsoever to my career. My poor parents were horrified after helping with college tuition and other expenses. But after a couple moths of parental torture, I got a job working for an architectural firm. I was able to offer graphic design and textile illustrations for their clientele while working behind the front desk. I enjoyed the freedom of being the go-to designer, but there was still a lot I needed to learn. Fortunately, after six months, I got a call from PartnersCreative about a resume I had submitted, and the rest is history.

Was there any one situation that helped you along your way?

Because I started as in intern at PartnersCreative, I gained a broad understanding of how an advertising firm works. I quickly developed skills in pre-press, production and layout. It was remarkable to me the pace of a larger firm’s work flow. (I think I learned more in my first two weeks at Partners than I did in my entire college education.) At times it was frustrating to not be designing right out of the gate, but I was determined to prove I could be a designer for the agency. In the end it paid off with a great job, and I was able to learn things that I most likely would not have picked up had I initially started freelancing. Not to mention, being able to do work in different departments within our agency has made me an asset to the company and given me a sense of job security in the frightening economy we’re all facing.

What is your typical day like? Does it ever change?

There is never a typical day as a graphic designer. I’m never sure what jobs I will be assigned to until I sit down at my desk at 8 a.m. (or in some cases, minutes before a job is expected out). The design process starts with a kick-off meeting or e-mail dialogue with an account coordinator or art director to begin outlining a project and discussing concepts. I get anywhere from one to 20 job requests throughout the day, which I then prioritize according to job schedules and assignment. I will design anything -- logos, collateral pieces, brochures, posters, outdoor boards, e-blasts, websites, etc. I love the creative aspect of my job, being able to work as a team and not having to set schedules and crunch numbers is a dream come true!

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

It’s always rewarding to see a finished piece, receive audience feedback and the analytics of how you have helped a client and their cause. For example, Partners recently developed a capital campaign for Watson Children’s Shelter to build a second shelter in Missoula. The first phase of the “Second Shelter” effort included print materials and a website ( The second phase included a highly visible push using boulevard banners, a month-long T-shirt event (workers at downtown businesses were encouraged to wear Watson campaign T-shirts), radio, out-of-home, online banner ads, newspaper, television, ambient advertising with giant children’s building blocks placed around town and public relations efforts. The campaign brought in more than $2.3 million in private donations. With those funds and some federal grants, Watson Children’s Shelter celebrated the opening of its Second Shelter on July 1, 2010. It’s a pretty good feeling to be a part of a team that gives so much time to a great cause and makes such a positive impact in many children’s lives in our community.

What is the most challenging part?

At times it can be a challenge to be creative, but I have found that if I’m patient and stick to it, the project slowly falls into place.

What is the biggest personal sacrifice you have to make because of your job?

I can’t think of a sacrifice I have made because of my job other than missing the occasional powder ski day. My husband is always there to remind me just how great the skiing is on his Fridays off. He’s in the dental field -- maybe “I Want His Job” -- hmmm?? In reality, we all work more than not, so we better enjoy what we do!

What is one lesson you’ve learned in your job that sticks with you?

You can’t start at the top, but if you know that’s where you belong, and work your butt off, you’ll get where you need to go.

What do you feel is the biggest challenge for women today, particularly females in your industry?

We have two times as many female employees as males. So, if there were an issue of gender discrimination, which there is not, you would see some serious ass whoopin’. In all seriousness, a separation of female workers would largely limit the growth of our business internally and with our clients. We work as a team and stand out for other attributes, like our talent, fun and energetic personalities, and insights.

Who are your role models?

My family is my role model and personal cheerleader. Ever since I can remember, my parents have encouraged me to pursue my passion. I was doubtful that I could ever make any money as an artist, but my parents squashed any doubt. They were right, and I can’t thank them enough for their support.

Is there a quote or mantra that you live by?

“Do your best -- forget the rest.” -Tony Horton

What advice do you have for girls who want to be in your industry?

Graphic design is constantly changing, be it technology or look and feel. So immerse yourself in design, and stay informed and aware of trends in the industry. Designers feed off one another’s work and experiences. Communication arts is a great resource to get you started.