Designing for the pros

Last Updated 27 February, 2015

Update: Cody's internship opened the door for his new permanent position as the Graphic Design Manager for the Sounders FC.

Over the past ten years, Northwest Nazarene University’s design program has grown and developed, sending out talented and well-trained artists who are making a big impact. Alumni are getting phenomenal jobs working for companies like Brooks Running and Carhartt as well as a variety of top design studios and agencies and are producing work for brands such as Disney, ABC and Microsoft. Recent graduate Cody Pearson (’13) of Nampa, Idaho is now adding the Seattle Seahawks and Sounders FC to that list.

Cody first became interested in graphic design in high school. His older sister was studying in the program at NNU and had a summer internship at the Nazarene Publishing House. Seeing the projects she worked on piqued Cody’s interest, and he began to take graphic design classes at his high school. What he learned in these elective classes cemented his desire to study design in college. After sitting in on several classes at NNU, he knew that was where he wanted to be.

My education definitely prepared me for where I am now. At NNU, I was able not only to develop my skill set and put together a portfolio that I was proud of but also to build relationships with professors and classmates that helped me succeed.

“I really valued the smaller class settings NNU was able to offer,” he says, “and the opportunity to connect with and have one-on-one time with my professors.”

Through class instruction, critiques and the direction of faculty, Cody continued to develop the skills he had begun learning in high school. Chair of NNU’s Department of Art & Design and Professor of Graphic Design Paul Kinsman says Cody stood out in his classes from the very beginning.

“His design was always smart—it looked great—and also had a strong concept behind it that made his work memorable and meaningful.”

NNU graphic design students gain at least 140 hours of real-world experience through internships over the course of their studies. During his senior year, Cody had the opportunity to work with the downtown Nampa organization committee on their “Become a Friend of Downtown Nampa” campaign. This gave him experience in working with a client and boosted his confidence in his own skills.

“Real world experience is honestly irreplaceable. In our classes we also practiced the steps that come after college: networking, interviews and how to really talk about and explain our work.”

All of which contributed to where he is today.

Through a recommendation from a fellow design alumnus, Cody began a one-year internship with the Seattle Seahawks and Sounders shortly after graduating in May 2013. He joined a select trio of talented designers who work to create many of the marketing materials for both teams. It is common for NFL and MLS teams to outsource their marketing and design, but Cody has had the unique opportunity of being part of the Seattle-based franchise’s in-house creative team. Since the start of his internship, Cody has worked on a variety of projects. Seahawks fans may recognize one design in particular from its unveiling on Nov. 3, 2013.

Seahawks anniversary logo

“The logo commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Seahawks’ first playoff team has been one of my favorite projects so far. It was used on a lot of different pieces that weekend, like autographed footballs and a patch on the players’ jerseys. It was really exciting to see my work become part of a professional sports team’s history.”

When he’s not making history, Cody can be found in the Seahawks and Sounders’ practice facility working on designs for anything from player cards and posters to social media graphics and web ads.

His manager, Creative Director for the Seahawks and Sounders John Weaver, speaks highly of Cody’s work.

“Cody has proven to be an extremely talented designer with a great attitude and a willingness to take on a variety of projects. This combination has allowed him to become an integral part of our marketing team in a short time. By nature, the sports industry is fast-paced and deadline-driven, and Cody has jumped right in to take each challenge in stride.”

The continued contributions that Cody has made have also led to unexpected surprises–including the opportunity to attend the Super Bowl as a member of the Seahawks organization.

Cody continues to receive bigger and better projects, and no matter what he’s working on, he is quick to attribute his current success to the training he received at NNU.

“My education definitely prepared me for where I am now. At NNU, I was able not only to develop my skill set and put together a portfolio that I was proud of but also to build relationships with professors and classmates that helped me succeed.”

Cody exemplifies the kind of students who graduate with degrees in art and design from NNU. Relevant, practical curriculum and accomplished, talented faculty make NNU’s graphic design major a premier program. Find out more about art at NNU.