Tell us about your work---what do you do? Currently, I am the Senior Art Manager for Beaulieu Residential, the residential carpet division of Beaulieu of America. My responsibilities consist of the following: Design , develop and create all graphics for the carpet division. We use a variety of graphics and P.O.P. materials to communicate our marketing message to the retailer and consumer and help the retailer sell our products to the end-use customer, the consumer. We use a variety of P.O.P. pieces most of which are specific to the carpet industry. We use deckboards to sample our carpets, so we create new deckboard headers. We use labels on the back of our products and so we create new labels that communicate the features and benefits for our products or will help communicate our branding message. Photography -- I am in charge of the photography for all products. We normally shoot vignettes or room scene images. Lately, we have been digitizing carpet into previously existing room scene photography, this is due to two factors: (a) cost: it normally costs upwards if $1500 to shoot a new room scene but the cost for digitizing carpet is $400; (b) frequently we are only given a small sample piece of carpet to use and you need a minimum 12' x 20 to adequately show carpet in a room. Because of production constraints we may not have enough time to produce a roll of carpet in time for photography so we use a small sample for color, texture and pattern for the photo. Displays -- I am responsible for the overall design direction of the sample displays for Beaulieu products. Direct side (Beaulieu products) -- I designed and developed the TrafficMaster display in Home Depot, the Wear-Dated Carpet Center in Lowe's and the ColorSelector display found in our Coronet retailer's showrooms. Branded Licensed Group -- I designed the Laura Ashley display, the Dennis the Menace display and the Dilbert display. What skills are needed? You should have a degree from a four-year school, preferably a design school or a major university with a good art or design department. What was your major? My major was industrial design . How did you get started in your career? I began as a junior designer at a design-consulting firm. A design-consulting firm is a design agency that focuses on product design, signage, exhibit design and corporate identity. After a number of years in consulting (the agency side) I decided to work in the toy field (the client side of the business). I spent 10 years designing toy packages and catalogs. I moved on to floor covering and I've been in floor covering for the last 15 years. Career-wise, I moved up to Assistant Art Director , then Art Director and now I'm the Senior Art Manager. What experience do you need in this job? I am a traditionally trained artist. I can draw, and design using pen and paper. However, I've been using a computer for the last 12 years. I think you need to have design training and be challenged in a competitive atmosphere like a design school. I believe you should be well versed in all aspects of design and familiar with all graphics programs ( QuarkXpress , Pagemaker , Illustrator , Freehand and Photoshop to name a few). If you were to start out today and you wanted to be an Art Director in the floor-covering field, I think you will need more than a basic understanding of your product, that is, carpet. You should know how it's manufactured, what are its features and benefits. After that, who your audience is, what are communicating and to whom. You should possess a good working attitude and an ability to work with people. Describe your "typical" workday: My day usually begins at 8:00 a.m. and ends at 5:30 p.m. Currently, I'm working on a number of projects - brochures, labels, etc. I normally try to finish one project at a time or at the very least take it to a stage where I can leave it and go on to another project (that project might be at a point where I can give it to a commercial printer to make press proofs or I might need additional information that can only come from another person). Normally, my day has many interruptions. Other colleagues might come to me with rush requests or I get involved in meetings that sometimes take valuable time from the project I'm working on. I will create designs or layouts that get shown to the person requesting the work. After approval, I complete that project and send it to a commercial printer. If needed, I will take work home and complete in my studio. What is the hardest aspect of your job? Making sure you understand all parts of the project. Following up. Minimizing interruptions. Making sure all parts of the project are completed at the same time. Making sure you haven't missed a deadline. Allowing enough time to finish. What is the most rewarding aspect of your job? Good comments from my fellow workers and that the work I've done is appreciated What are your suggestions for someone considering this field? Be true to your work and your work will be true to you. Make work fun, keep an open mind to other ideas and don't get discouraged.