The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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Coffee Conversations: Danielle Probst’s Advice for Graphic Design Students

Danielle Probst, ‘19 Graphic Design graduate, flourishes in the city as an artist and business woman. TORCH PHOTO/ Jennalynn Fung

A job after graduation — It’s what we fear we won’t get. But Danielle Marie Probst was more concerned about the ability to follow her passion once she left St. John’s. Probst graduated from St. John’s University in 2019 as a Graphic Design major. She is currently working at Endeavor under IMG Media and Events as a designer for digital consumer marketing and is flourishing in the city as an artist and businesswoman.


In this Coffee Conversation, Probst reveals her path to success in a saturated industry. “I had a job in Hudson Yards about two weeks after graduating,” Probst reveals; something that not many recent graduates can say. But in her freshman year, she switched her major twice before committing to graphic design.


Q: How did you get started in graphic design?  

A: Although I was involved in a lot of art clubs in high school, I came to St. John’s with no intention to do graphic design. But my friend said I was really good at art and told me about all the career paths one has available to them. Didn’t even realise that it was a realistic opportunity until the last few weeks of my freshman year, so I just plopped in one graphic design course and fell in love with it. It’s everything I do in my job, everything that my professors had taught me. Can’t see myself doing anything else, and I’m very fortunate to have discovered my passions early on.


Q: Out of all the projects that you have worked on so far, what has been your favorite?

A: The one that got me repeat  interviews and was all interviewers would ask me about was a project I did for St. John’s called “Knowing ‘Yes,” about consent. Originally, they just wanted flyers for a SJU workshop about consent. So I came up with something witty, like ‘consent is hot.’ It was great because I worked with motion graphics, got paid to do it and saw it blow up on campus. When I talk about the message of consent and my thought process behind it, people love it. It’s a rare opportunity to get to take on from start to finish, have it get paid for and then produced. 

Q: What’s the best part about being an artist? 

A: It’s nice to see your work out and around to see, and also for people to respond to it. Even people who don’t know me would share the work. My friends would share it on social media and be like “that’s Danielle’s work!” A lot of freelance opportunities started coming my way, and a lot of work came through Instagram DM’s. That project gave me a lot of opportunities and established a name for me.

Q: What types of people do you think are best suited to go into graphic design?

A: The first thing is you need to be able to take criticism. Whether it [the point of criticism] was right or wrong, you need to be open to different perspectives. Other people will see your work differently no matter what. You will stay in the same place if you’re not listening to other people.

Also, super important: attention to detail. You’ve gotta be willing to zoom in and clean up every detail. Sometimes I work on ten projects a night and multitask, but other days I’m working on one single character the entire day. Getting feedback, figuring out how to change the details, maybe changing the colors … [you] just gotta be prone to changes. 

Q: As an artist, is it more important for you to make money or to produce content that you truly can feel proud making? 

A: This has been the current internal struggle for the past two months. I’ve been going to a lot of local art shows, trying to inspire myself to create outside of work. Money has to be in the back of the mind. My rent is $1500, I have a car, I live alone, but on the side there is something to be said, where you work 9-5 and then you come home and try to work on something that isn’t related to work. Super thankful that I work at a place that is pretty laid back, I can think of other things during my lunch break. 

Q: Do you have any words of advice for those who hope to launch their own career in graphic design or really any art field?

A: You have to find something about it that you’re passionate about and that you can speak about. They see right through those who just want it to be their career. When you actually get out here to the job market, the competition is not so close. There’s no need to know how to do everything right out of college…show them how much you love it and want to learn more. Never thought I’d want to make movies out of college. But now I do. Specific to SJU, don’t get discouraged by the people from art schools. If you take advantage of the resources at St. John’s there’s no reason you can’t be successful. A lot of students at art schools are good at making things pretty, but SJU teaches you how to do the business aspects of it, call to action, the purpose.

Law firms look towards communications and marketing majors who took graphic design classes. They almost prefer those people rather than those who can make something really pretty but have no idea how to apply that to the real world. 

Q: Do you think it’s difficult for people to get employed right after graduating, particularly as a graphic design major? Do you think the position you’re in is rare for recent graduates?

A: From what I’ve seen from others graduating in the field, it is not impossible to get employed right out of college as a design major. In fact, there are tons of jobs in so many different fields with a variety of pay, both freelance or contract and full time. It’s all about learning how to speak about your work and your love for what you do. Once I learned the right way to interview, I received multiple job offers and it was a matter of choosing. I noticed a pattern of not getting offers or second round interviews to positions that I didn’t really care about or didn’t quite align with my style and I think it’s all about finding where you fit in the design world in order to get hired!

You can check out Danielle Probst’s work here and at her Instagram @daniellemarieprobst.

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