Membership Spotlight :: Marie Spears


Assistant Creative Director at Moore & Van Allen, PLLC
Member of AIGA since 2010

Marie Spears has been working as a graphic design professional for the past 6 years. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from East Tennessee State University where she graduated with honors from the graphic design program. While a student at ETSU she was awarded a silver Addy for her work on the school’s Mocking Bird publication. Though her career started in Memphis, Tennessee, Marie moved to Charlotte, North Carolina in 2007 to accept a position at Moore & Van Allen, PLLC. A law firm is an unexpected place to find a creative outlet, however, it has allowed her to work on political issues as well as provide pro-bono services to worthy causes such as the Arts and Science Council. Coming from a family of engineers and mathematicians, Marie has always been a bit more analytical and procedural in her approach to design than most artists. Working at a law firm has allowed her to use both her analytical skills and design skills to meet the client’s needs. Marie has found her career in the graphic design field to be extremely rewarding and full of surprise.

What attracted you to the design profession? Did you have particular mentors or experiences that opened the door to the profession for you?
After my junior year of high school, my father convinced me to go to an industrial design camp at Auburn University. He was worried that I hadn’t considered professions besides teaching, and wanted to make sure I explored other options that would let me combine my art and technical skills. It was the first time I was exposed to graphic design and even Photoshop. While that was only a minor part of what we did at the camp (the main focus was on making drafts and a prototype), it was what I enjoyed the most. After coming back home, I decided that I wanted to become a graphic designer and began looking at colleges.

What’s your favorite font?
I have a love/hate relationship going on right now with Neutra Text Expert. The hate part comes from seeing it used in inappropriate ways. It seems to be getting used wherever I look, but rarely does it actually fit the design. The love part comes from instances where it is used properly, and is just beautiful. The simple, modern lines of the font work very well to compliment a clean layout. Mix and match the different weights a little, and you can get some very visually interesting text.

What would people be surprised to know about you?
I’m an engineer at heart, and am more comfortable around engineers than artists. I come from a family of engineers and mathematicians. My mother, an engineering professor, let me sit in on one of her classes when I was in middle school, and I spent the summer learning to program a robot arm far beyond what the instructions laid out. I spent middle school participating in Science Olympiad competitions and loved it. I love reason and logic, which shows through in my choices as a designer.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Drop the accounting major. At one point in college I began to worry about being able to make a living in the art field. I decided to sign up for a double major, and earn an accounting degree as well as my bachelor of fine arts. It would have lengthened my time in college significantly. In one of my many conversations with my mother, who was also the best academic adviser I ever had, she convinced me to drop the accounting major. She helped me realize that what I truly wanted to be was a graphic designer; if for some reason that didn’t workout, I could always go back for an accounting degree. I took her advice, graduated on time, and got two job offers three weeks after graduation.

What’s one goal (professional or personal) you have for the future?
I hope to one day earn my masters of fine arts. I enjoy the academic atmosphere and would love to one day become a graphic design professor. Since I was little, the idea of being a teacher has been appealing to me. I have always enjoyed teaching other people and helping them understand concepts or programs.


About AIGA Charlotte’s Member Spotlight
Each month AIGA Charlotte interviews a selected AIGA Charlotte Member. It is a great opportunity for the Charlotte design community to see who AIGA Charlotte is along with all the amazing things our members are doing. If you or someone you know would like to be interviewed and appear on AIGA Charlotte’s Member Spotlight, please contact Kevin Brindley, Membership Director.

By aigacharlotte
Published April 1, 2012