What initially began as a freelance assignment landed Kaitlin De La Merle a position at Nike as an apparel graphic designer for the company’s basketball line. Since then, she’s had the opportunity to work on the crests for Nike-sponsored teams in the 2015 Women's World Cup and, most recently, Nike’s NBA uniforms.
“In this position, I’m responsible for conceptualizing and executing graphics that go on Nike basketball apparel,” explained De La Merle. “Getting to work on so much product with such an extensive and diverse team is what I enjoy most about my career. But it hasn’t always been easy. I got my position here by taking on freelance assignments after working 9-to-5 shifts at my other jobs. Going home after a full day of work, then getting back into the ring with your personal projects is tough, but well worth it in the end!”
In addition to her work with Nike, De La Merle has worked with a broad range of clients including Reebok, Soulection, Fiat, Audi, Boreal Mountain Resort, Maverik Lacrosse and Line Skis. She worked at Doner and Hovercraft Studio prior to starting her
current position. These opportunities gave her experience conceptualizing campaigns, branding, packaging and exhibiting; creating start to finish core illustrations for a wide range of clients and projects; and engaging in rounds of positive critical feedback, workstarts and problem solving with clients to meet goals.
“I know it sounds cheesy, but the only way I've moved up and gotten to where I want to be is by being determined, learning new things and always being inspired,” she said. “Taking on freelance assignments after work has been rewarding and allowed me to eventually land a position doing what I enjoy. As long as I get to do that for the rest of my career, I'm happy!”
Although she was more confident in her drawing skills, De La Merle started at CCS with the intention of majoring in graphic design. She later decided that illustration would be the most practical and rewarding path since it combined both of these disciplines.
“I think that the tight schedule and rigorous classes prepared me most for my career,” said De La Merle. “I loved having Dave Chow as a professor. He really pushed us and encouraged us to evaluate projects from all angles. Best teacher; hands down!
“If I could give aspiring artists/designers any advice, I would tell them to not doubt themselves and to always have a healthy outlook on improving their body of work. Nothing worth having is easy!”
Outside of work, De La Merle can be found checking out the local art scene or catching music shows with friends. She also enjoys sketching at her favorite spot and exploring the neighborhood with her dog Rawlins.
To check out more of De La Merle’s work, visit http://www.De La Merle.com.