My name is Koral Dean and I am the Art Director for S&G. I hail from a small town in Cullman County on Smith Lake. I graduated from Auburn University with a BFA in Graphic Design. After I graduated, I moved to Birmingham and started working at an awesome design firm and soon after married my husband, Derek. I have been with Scarlet & Gold since pretty much the beginning and can’t express enough what a blessing it has been to me. We still live in Birmingham and have an almost 2 year old daughter, Maison, who keeps me very busy and very happy.
My job as Art Director is to make sure everything is on brand and that everything that we put out there is done to the best of our ability. This means I get my hands on almost every aspect of the company. On any given day I am brainstorming product concepts, providing visual direction, assigning out the concepts to our team of crazy talented designers and providing feedback. I work with Megan to outline our timeline and make sure that we hit them. From there, I work with our production manager, Sarah, to prepare the files for production and ensure the quality of our products all the way through the process. I work with photographers and provide art direction for shoots and shot lists. I give input on anything that has to do with the S&G brand. Whether that’s what tissue paper we use in our retail store or what stickers we put on our packaging to how our website looks and the images that go on there. A big part of my job is being the Yin to Megan’s Yang. If this business were a crazy car ride (and it is), she is the gas and I am the breaks. She’s the big dreamer and I am just here to try to execute those dreams with realistic timelines and steps. We constantly feed off each other and its a push and pull, but we work very well together building on each others strengths and weaknesses.
My favorite part about working here is that I get to use my talents for the Kingdom. Its a pretty unique opportunity to be able to use my creativity as a witness to others as my job. Megan has also been super accommodating in helping make sure I can do work and family well. She has pushed me when I needed it and pulled me up when I needed that too. Family always comes first here and that is something that is super important to me. I love that my daughter will be able to grow up and see me using my gifts to make a difference. Not just on a small scale but a very large scale that grows daily through our social media and family of customers. Not just anyone can write a blog post (for example) at their job and it be read by thousands of people. That’s pretty cool to me and also a powerful responsibility. I just want to make a difference and make beautiful things. Thats exactly what I get to do everyday.
- My must haves for a successful day start with my to-do list! I am a list person and not much thrills me more than crossing stuff off that list. (It’s the little things).
- My big beautiful iMac! I’m usually deep in an InDesign/Photoshop hole and with this huge screen I just get lost in it and can see every single detail.
- Tabs. I have a tab problem and usually have no less than 45 open at any given time. I am constantly jumping back and forth.
- My notebook and pencils. If I don’t write it down, I forget it.
- I also love my Corkcicle tumbler! I usually work long stretches of hours and this thing keeps my drink cold ALL DAY LONG.
- Quiet. I work best when Im alone with my thoughts in a quiet place. I rarely listen to music or anything at all.
- And last but certainly not least is a nanny. I have a nanny that helps with my daughter most days and then my mom will watch her one day a week. If I don’t have help, I can forget trying to be productive. I’ve been there, done that, tried it. For me, that is a recipe for burn out, unhappiness, and guilt.
My best advice to someone who is about to graduate and would want to do what I do is to work your BUTT off. Do your very best and always give 100% everyday. When I was in college, I went to listen to some speaker about design and he gave some advice that really stuck with me. It has been kind of my motto in my career. He said, “There is always going to be someone better than you, more talented than you, someone that you look at and envy because it comes so easy to them. But there is no one out there that can work as hard as you. EVER.” Find something that you believe in and that you are passionate about and do that. Passion is the only reason I can work as hard as I do and still enjoy my job. Always ask yourself how you can make your bosses life easier and take initiative. My advice to the young female graduate that wants a job and a family is to work hard now. As hard as you can and get the best job you possibly can. Don’t settle. Go for your dreams and make a name for yourself. Hard work and willingness to learn goes a very long way, especially in this generation. Then… when you’re able to start a family, you’ll be able to stay relevant because you have earned a reputation and good people are loyal to that.
My proudest moment to date is every time I see someone out in public wearing a Give Grace tee. It blows my mind to see such a tiny idea grow into a movement. It’s making a difference to people and that fires me up. The success of Give Grace has nothing to do with me, or Megan, or Chandler, or any one person on the team. It is a true example of teamwork because… Every. Single. Person. Has had an impact on what Give Grace has become. It’s also a true example of truly loving one another well in the good times and especially the hard times. I’m just so, so proud to be able to be a small part of that because isn’t that what we’re all called to do?