Alumni Throwback: Stephanie Ross

Stephanie Ross, ’13

Shop Assistant/Gallery Coordinator, 2010-2013


If you could sum up your experience in Design Works in one-two words, what would it be?

Fun & rewarding.

What have you done since leaving Design Works and graduating from UNT?

I worked briefly for a PR Agency in Dallas for seven months and tired of it. The transition from feeling appreciated at Design Works to being under-valued at a large company was so rough. I liked having a voice in my work at Design Works so much that losing that voice, working for a corporation that didn’t care, made the work unenjoyable. I left Dallas in 2014 to move to Boston. I booked an Airbnb for a month to find a job. I found a job in marketing, which lead me to more marketing positions and opened so many doors. I’m now a content and account manager at an agency. This job is what I was looking for.

How did your time at Design Works prepare you for the future?

Design Works was my first job. I started to get used to the environment and working with all these other personalities. I saw the value of my work. It helped me stay organized and learn how to manage my time better. It was the perfect job that a college student could ever have.

What about Design Works had the greatest impact on you?

Being able to deal with other people. While I was there, I learned customer service. Any job requires some measure of customer service and so it proved to be very useful.

What was your favorite moment at Design Works? 

Getting ready for Union Fest. It was always so busy, but it was so much fun helping decorate. Seeing the Union come to life for a day was so great. Plus, the cake.


What do you wish other people knew about Design Works?

I wish more people knew how fun it is at Design Works. It’s the most perfect job while being in college.

Thing you miss about Design works? Thing you miss about UNT?

I miss everything! I just miss the cost of living and the overall feeling of being in undergrad. It’s such a unique feeling of being carefree, energetic, and optimistic.

What’s your spirit animal?


What is your brain food?

Craft beer & outdoor walks.

What’s on your playlist?

Kid Kraddick Morning Show and Death, Sex, and Money.

What’s in your bag?

Wallet, watch, and headphones.

What’s your favorite color?


What is your favorite thing about your job now?

It’s a lot like Design Works. My boss is amazing, so funny and supportive. The work schedule is super flexible because they understand life outside the office. Today, I am working from home. We’re like a small family. It reminds of Design Works.

Advice for current students?

Enjoy the time because it flies by and you’ll never get it back. It’s super cliche, but it’s true. The real world sucks sometimes, so just take advantage of your undergrad. And don’t be afraid of risks.

Designer Profile: Abby Caron

If you don’t know what UNT Design Works is, you’re missing out. Run by Union Marketing, Design Works is a print shop that prints large and small format specialty print jobs, as well as operates as a graphic design firm. Services are available to students, departments, and the public. Design Works produces a lot of really great designs (hence the name) so we would like to take some time to profile the excellent designers we have on staff not just because they’re awesome but so you can see their past work and find insight on their personal style, should you like to hire them.


Abby Caron, Senior Integrated Art and Design Major, INTP

Strengths Quest:

  1. Relator
  2. Empathy
  3. Intellection
  4. Developer
  5. Input

“I feel like I have a very open and inclusive personality, to where people come to me when they need help, encouragement, comfort, or even objective criticism. I have been told that I have a calming energy, and I’m typically more introverted and quiet but always open to love on people and tackle challenges and projects in the best way that I can.”

Designer Playlist:

  1. Play the Game by Beach House
  2. Late by Teen Daze
  3. Vanille fraise by L’Imperatrice
  4. Oh My God by A Tribe Called Quest
  5. Girl Like You by Toro y Moi
  6. All I Wanna Do by The Beach Boys
  7. I’d Rather Dance With You by Kings of Convenience

What is your spirit animal?
“I’ve always thought my spirit animal would be an otter, because they’re super chill and just float around all day and play and love on each other, but everyone else usually says I’m a flying squirrel or chinchilla or something. Probably because I’m small.”



What is your brain food?
“I have a huge thing for pretzels coated in pretty much anything. I love Barkthins Dark Chocolate because the chocolate and salty crunchiness of the pretzel are soooo good together, and the perfect snack to eat while working.”

What is your favorite color?
“My entire life is basically Pantone’s 2016 color pair, Rose Quartz and Serenity. I love rosy and mauve colors paired with light blue-greens. I’ve also become a sucker for more Valentine’s colors recently, like deep reds and pinks.”

What tools could you not design without?
“I definitely couldn’t live without tracing paper. It saves my life when I’m creating lettering and typography so I don’t have to re-do my sketches with every single revision. As far as my illustration goes, I use a Wacom tablet almost every day. I love learning more digital illustration techniques with Photoshop and Illustrator, I’m such a nerd for it all, and I’m always trying to be better.”

What’s in your bag?
“I always have some sort of sketchbook and pencil on me, whether a little Moleskine in my purse or a big one in my backpack. My laptop, planner, and a book (or multiple books) for pleasure are usually in my backpack. Oh, and HEADPHONES. Sometimes I’ll leave my place for school or work and forget my headphones, and it’s probably the worst feeling ever. I love a good tote bag, they’re just so easy. I always bring my favorite tote bag to work that says, “Dinosaurs eat man, Woman inherits the Earth.” It’s awesome.”

What would you be if you weren’t a graphic designer?
“From when I was little until like, my junior year of high school, I was positive that I was going to be a Marine Biologist or Animal Behaviorist. I love animals and have a lot of empathy for them. I would probably be working in animal conservation with marine life. Either that, or I would want to somehow work as an advocate for women who have been trafficked, abused, and oppressed. I have a huge passion for that kind of thing and making sure that these survivors know that they are worthy and loved. I still want to use my art and design skills to be a voice for women around the world that aren’t heard.”



What is your favorite typeface?
“The Gotham family is pretty solid, I’ve used it a lot throughout my jobs. It’s just simple and has lots of different variations, so I could probably design an entire brochure just using the Gotham family. I’m also a sucker for Futura, mostly because it’s Wes Anderson’s chosen typeface for his films!”

What is your favorite thing about being a designer?
“I love graphic design, and it’s like something that I can never escape. I notice everything. I love that I can create graphics that bring beauty and whimsy to normal settings that aren’t necessarily beautiful or whimsical. I feel like that’s my purpose in the world, to make the world a little bit more beautiful and fun so that people can better appreciate art and design.”

You can follow Abby on her website and her Behance.

Alumni Throwback: Johnathan Wenske

Johnathan Wenske, ’15

Graphic Designer, 2013-2015


If you could sum up your experience in Design Works in one-two words, what would it be?


What was your first memory of working at Design Works? 

How cold the original Design Works office was. So cold. I thought it was hilarious that we had no windows in that office.

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What have you done since leaving Design Works and graduating from UNT? / What do you do now?

I moved to Chicago and got a job an interactive designer. I left that job and went to General Assembly for their user experience design 10-week program. Became a UX designer at a startup, then recently started at Aon as a UX designer.

How did your time at Design Works prepare you for the future?

I was able to work on different projects with different people. I meet someone new almost every day now. It was difficult when I first started at Design Works, but now I have professional skills to work and communicate with others. You don’t learn that in class.

What about Design Works had the greatest impact on you?

The relationships I developed when I was working. When I think about UNT, I think about Design Works and the friends I made there. That was the biggest part of my college experience.

What was your favorite moment at Design Works? 

It would probably be the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Union. It was so much fun and it was cool to see everyone collaborate to kick off this new start.

What do you wish other people knew about Design Works?

I really wish more people knew about Design Works. It’s an amazing resource that should be utilized.


Thing you miss about UNT?

The campus itself. I loved that campus. I don’t know what it was about it, but it was such a great place to be. It felt like home.

What’s your spirit animal?


What is your brain food?

Protein shake.

What’s on your playlist?

Flesh Without Blood by Grind, Sweet Lovin’ by Sigala, and the new album CTRL by SZA.

What’s in your bag?

Laptop, tooth brush, tooth paste, cologne, deodorant, baby wipes, phone charger, laptop charger, vitamins, and three packs of gum.

What’s your favorite color?


What is your favorite thing about your job now?

That I get to work from home.

Advice for current students?

Build your network now. Do everything and anything to meet people through organizations and classes and stuff. Don’t be afraid to reach out to professionals on LinkedIn.

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Founder’s Day: Celebrating 127 Years of North Texas

As you may know, the University of North Texas was founded as the Texas Normal College and Teachers Training Institute in 1890. It all started with this man…

Recognize him? Probably not. But you should. Although his name only comes up once a year on Founder’s Day, you already know it from one of the buildings on campus.

His name was Joshua Crittenden Chilton. This photo of him was taken somewhere between 1890 to 1893. Chilton passed away in 1893 and the school was handed down to another familiar name around campus, John Jackson Crumley.

When Chilton founded Texas Normal College, it began as a private teachers college and music conservatory. Originally, the school was housed in a leased facility above a hardware store off of the Denton square. Fun facts to bore your friends with!

The first building was built in 1891, on the corner of Avenue B and Hickory (so probably where modern day Hickory Hall is…you know, across the street from the Jack In the Box…times have changed.) It was called the Normal Building.

Creepy, right? That looks like something straight out of a horror movie. This photo was taken in 1896. The tower was home to the curfew bell, which rang at the start of the day and when students had to return to their boarding houses. Another fun fact to bore your friends with: the building burned down in 1907 when it was struck by lightning.

Through seven name changes and endless construction, the University of North Texas has done nothing but grow and improve. We came from humble beginnings, but our scrappy spirit has gotten us to where we are today.

Speaking of Scrappy! This photo was taken in 1979. Look at him go!

In all seriousness, let’s remember Chilton’s words about this school:

“It will be our aim to become leaders in the education of the young men and women of Texas, fitting them to creditably fill the most important positions in business and professional circles. We desire the cooperation of all who believe in higher education and who want to see our state in the very front of intellectual as well as material progress.”

And here’s another pretty cool picture, taken in 1942.

Built in 1939 and named after our founding president, Chilton Hall is home to two computer labs, the media library, six departments, and many different classes. Next time you’re in there, remember this stuff. We’ve come a long way.

Happy 127th birthday, North Texas.

(Photos all courtesy of the UNT Libraries Special Collections.)

Alumni Throwback: Kai Horan

Kai Horan, ’14

Graphic Designer, 2012-2014

If you could sum up your experience in Design Works in two words, what would it be?

Fun and family.

What was your first memory of working at Design Works? 

We were up in that little closet in the old Union. Our office was tucked away and it was just Steve, me, Nikki, and Caleb.

What have you done since leaving Design Works and graduating from UNT?

I was working full-time as an intern at The Marketing Arm. I decided to move out to LA to do graphic design for AG Jeans. I did design for their commerce and then their retail, which was a lot of fun. I ended up moving back to Dallas and worked as a digital art director, until I moved to Austin to work here.

How did your time at Design Works prepare you for the future?

Design Works made me pay attention to deadlines. In this work environment, there wasn’t a lot of time to drag out a project, we had to get everything out for our clients at a realistic place. However, we still had fun exploring weird ideas.

What about Design Works had the greatest impact on you?

The people. The work was fun and cool to do, but the people were the best part.

What was your favorite moment at Design Works?

When Jonathan’s secret santa gave him a Rihanna CD clock and he started crying.

What was the most important lesson you learned during your time at Design Works?

I knew Jonathan was going to take my job and there were new people coming in. I stopped having to micromanage everything. We were collaborating on projects and it was cool to support them. I didn’t have full control over the projects like I used to, but then I could learn how to pass down the torch.

What do you wish other people knew about Design Works?

The flexibility and real-time experience you can get from working here.

Thing you miss about Design works? Thing you miss about UNT?

Just being in college and having everything in walking distance.

What’s your spirit animal?


What is your brain food?

Matcha green tea or cold brew

What’s on your playlist?

I normally listen to audio-books.

What’s in your bag?

I always have my laptop, headphones, a Moleskine notebook, and microns.

What’s your favorite color?


What is your favorite thing about your job now?

Aside from my amazing office and being surrounded by beautiful dresses, I think being in fashion and doing tech things makes everything fun.

Advice for current students?

Just enjoy college. Go to the events the Union puts on and meet new people. Get out of your comfort zone.