Ask UW-Green Bay senior Olivia Heilman the best advice she would give to her younger self, and it would be “to be inspired and allow yourself to try new things.”
Wise words that are very fitting for Heilman, especially after she recently won two awards from the American Advertising Federation (AAF) Fox River region. The Design Arts minor recently entered into two categories for Brand Logo Design and Website Design and clinched gold for both. “The whole thing was on a whim,” Heilman admits. Her UW-Green Bay instructor, Tamara McLean encouraged her to apply. With nothing to lose, and everything to gain, she did. Her award-winning designs move into District 8 competition, and if she wins there, off to nationals.
Though Heilman is a senior Business Administration major, her heart lies with Design Arts. “I lean more towards creativity,” she explained. “There’s a huge overlap in the design process and creative process that applies to strategic and critical thinking that you use in business. It’s about taking a look at the end goal and working backwards to create something both you and your customer would enjoy.”
That creativity shines through in her brand entry idea that earned her the gold award. Heilman’s design, ‘Lunar: Coffee for Astronauts” mirrors her inspiration of the fall semester—space. Her inspiration for spring semester? Dinosaurs. Heilman chuckles as she talks about the differing topics, “It’s all about finding different things that inspire you over your time as a designer and running with it.”
Finding that inspiration is what fueled her love for her Design Arts Class 431: Graphic Design Studio III. The class is based on creating a product, branding, packaging decisions, advertising, and other entrepreneurial skills necessary to launch a successful product. This class and others at UW-Green Bay are credited by Heilman as playing a role in her success both academically and personally.
“Olivia possesses the unique ability to be equally accomplished at both strategic thinking and design,” McLean said. “Her sense of design aesthetic and application of typography, color, photography, and illustration is matched only by her consumer insights and market trend knowledge. The balanced education she has received at UW-Green Bay will serve her well whether she chooses a career in marketing, business, or design. It was a pleasure to mentor her through the creative process of building her brand Lunar Coffee. From defining the target audience to naming to graphic design, throughout the semester we used strategy to craft business solutions resulting in her award-winning comprehensive brand design.”
Heilman found constant encouragement from her professors.
“I found a lot of professors who were so kind and helpful and encouraging,” she said. “It’s why I continued to go out on a limb and try new things. It’s been a lot of fun being with my classmates and being pushed to grow with people who are open, and vulnerable to make mistakes. College has been less about success and more about who you’re going to be.”
Heilman is excited for the future, hers and that of design arts. She’s hopeful about the shift of graphic design and how serious it is being taken in its role of the success of a brand. The brand experience has become increasingly important and a huge part of it is done through design. It gives her a sense of pride in her love for design and the skills that she brings to the table.
Graduating in May 2022, Heilman is keeping an open mind about the future of her career. She hopes to stay in the Green Bay area to maintain and foster the relationships she has built. Her journey in Green Bay has been introspective and intuitive, with a hint of ‘winging it’. It seems though, that Heilman’s leaps of faith in the design world have led to some great successes.
Heilman believes her freshman self would not believe where she ended up and she’s okay with that. She is humbled to be where she is and honored to be a recipient of the American Advertising Awards. With these victories in mind, there’s only one other thing she would tell her freshman self: “Acknowledge your insecurities, accept them as they are and take initiative to keep going in spite of it.” It’s clear to see in Heilman’s passions and successes that she lives by those words.
See her portfolio.
Story by UW-Green Bay Marketing and University Communication student assistant Soundarya Ritzman. Images submitted.