A typical day for Ella Sexson is, well, not as typical as a graphic designer for Destroyer Media & Marketing.
At the time of her interview with Polk State News, she was planning to spend her morning on a mission that required photoshoping a raccoon. Other days, she may be called upon to work on commercials, participate in photo shoots, or take on the creative challenge of designing covers for HAVEN and LKLD magazines, which have become coveted works of art for locals. who admire new perspectives on iconic Polk County themes.
No matter what the work week may bring, Sexson credits Polk State College’s Digital Media Technology program with preparing for her success in her art and career.
“Polk State gave me the basics and the tools to be confident as a graphic designer,” Sexson said. “The digital media program has industry standard equipment, knowledgeable faculty who don’t want you to fail, and students and alumni. [as lab assistants] to help.”
When Sexson signed up for the program in the summer of 2020, she “didn’t know anything – I didn’t even know how to save an InDesign or Photoshop file.” But the program’s “no question is a dumb question” approach provides students with a solid foundation on which to develop their skills and creativity, Sexson said.
“Professor Joyce really taught me everything I know,” she said of recently retired digital media professor Richard Joyce. “I was so scared when I started the program, but I was able to learn very quickly because the professors and everyone involved in the program do a great job of teaching and reaching out when the students need it. help. “
“Polk State gave me the basics and the tools to be confident as a graphic designer. The digital media program has industry-standard equipment, knowledgeable faculty who don’t want to see you fail, and students and alumni to help you out.
Sexson’s endorsement of Polk State’s Digital Media Technology program is significant given his background, including his parents’ successful careers in media, marketing, and the arts. They moved from Michigan to Winter Haven in 2016 and founded Destroyer Media & Marketing. Chris Sexson is editor and Amy Sexson is editor-in-chief of the full-service digital agency, which operates HAVEN and LKLD magazines, Central Florida TIX, the Winter Haven Farmers Market, and more.
Polk State is a proud partner of Destroyer Media & Marketing, which was instrumental during the pandemic by creating special graduation sections in magazines for graduates and their families to remember in a time when in-person ceremonies could not take place.
HAVEN and LKLD magazines quickly became staples in newsstands and homes in Polk County with a monthly circulation of approximately 30,000 copies.
“As the business grew my parents needed another designer and I asked if this was something I could do,” said Ella Sexson, who has long had an artistic touch. and started her career as a beautician. “I always knew I would pursue art, and it was an opportunity in front of me to explore a new field.”
While Sexson could have continued her education and training elsewhere, she chose to enroll in Polk State because it’s local, affordable, and highly recommended by others, including her fiancé Adam Doyle who is a student in the program. of Polk State Respiratory Care.
She took a few courses, including Introduction to digital media, Image editing with Photoshop, and Advanced image editing.
“One of my first projects was to take a photo of the Polk State Lakeland campus and transform it from day to night,” Sexson said.
Today, she creates eye-catching covers and complex content for award-winning magazines and digital platforms consumed by thousands of people.
“I was able to learn so much so quickly that I was creating some of my covers while I was still in school, including the ‘Creature from the Haven Lagoon’ design in collaboration with another graphic designer,” Sexson told About the Halloween October 2020 edition. “I was able to take what I was learning in class and put it into practice from day one.”
Sexson aspires to broaden his scope of work to include freelance opportunities and perfect his artistic style.
“I see myself doing a bit of everything – web design, ads, covers. That’s the beauty of the Polk State program; it made me a complete graphic designer and now I feel ready for anything.
“I see myself doing a bit of everything – web design, ads, covers,” she said. “That’s the beauty of the Polk State program; it made me a complete graphic designer and now I feel ready for anything.
She enjoys exercising her new skills as part of her family’s growing business while working part-time at the downtown Confection candy store.
In conclusion, Sexson offered some motivation to aspiring students and graphic designers.
“Don’t be afraid and don’t feel like it’s too late to pursue something that interests you,” she said. “Go with the mentality of learning as much as you can, and it will be worth it.”