By Mike Cromwell
Ryan Dalton, who lives in Townsend and graduated from Fitchburg State last year, is living proof that with the right training and knowledge, true success can be found by young graduates. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean it was easy for him as the last couple years weren’t without their challenges.
Dalton is a design major who currently works for Arnold Worldwide, a prestigious advertising firm located at the Prudential Center in Boston. His first foray into the professional world of design came during his later years at Fitchburg State. “The biggest preparation for my career as a graphic designer came through Fitchburg’s internship program,” he says. “I learned more through my internship than I did during my four years in class.”
Something that he wasn’t fully prepared for, but quickly had to learn outside of school, was the basic fundamentals of working competitively. “Once you’re thrown into a professional, fast-paced environment, it’s really sink or swim; so you need to learn how things are done correctly and be able to do them as fast as you can,” he says.
Dalton’s internship from Fitchburg State led to employment at The Boston Phoenix, one of the city’s leading entertainment newspapers. The work he did there, along with a freelance collaboration with the independent sunglasses company Toaster Shades, caught the eye of someone at Arnold Worldwide. He was then offered the chance to interview for his current job.
He works as a layout designer for the company. It is the happiest he’s been in a professional setting and just a year after graduation, he finally feels like the work he put in during his years as a student and occasional freelancer have started to pay off. Arnold’s offices provide the ideal working environment for a creative young person. It isn’t unusual to see an employee travel from one cubicle to another on a Razor scooter, and the company bathrooms play punk rock hits of the 90’s from the likes of Bad Religion and Rancid. Despite the fun, artist friendly environment, the creative output that the company expects from its employees is strictly world class.
There’s one particular Photoshop assignment that Dalton recalls with a slightly amusing sense of despair. “During a creative pitch for McDonald’s, I worked 8 hours overtime, painstakingly removing each individual seed from a series of hamburgers and putting them all back on one at a time until it spelled our company mantra, ‘Great Work Works.’”
That gruelingly tedious undertaking only prepared him for further assignments and at this point he feels confident in his field. He is at the top of his game, working full time for Arnold Worldwide, while he continues his own personal projects like designing skateboards and clothing for friends. He’s found himself at the beginning of a promising career, one that began right here at Fitchburg State University.
You can check out some of Ryan Dalton’s design work at his website: Ryan Dalton Design