“Go ahead and throw me into a new scenario or environment. It might take me a hot second to get my footing. But once I’ve adjusted, watch out! I’ve counted to ten. Ready or not, here I come!" -Nicole Mallett
Nicole Mallett had heard a career in graphic design wasn’t going to be all daisies and butterflies, but once she enrolled in the graphic arts program at SOWELA she knew it was one of the best decisions she had ever made. "I immediately felt at home when I walked into the Art Department,” says Nicole. "The one-on-one experience I got with my professors really helped groom me to be a successful designer. I was encouraged to try new things and think creatively."
With several years of fast-paced design experience in the non-profit sector, Nicole became a brand builder at Parker Brand Creative Services. “From the outside, all I ever saw was incredible designs being put out by Parker Brand. You can see the passion in their work. They truly value good design and strive for greatness, and it’s great to be a part of the brand building team."
Now that Nicole is putting her creative knack to work for the graphic design clients at Parker Brand, her upbringing in Iowa, Louisiana helps her push beyond her level-best on every project. “I grew up on an old dirt road in the country. I made the best mud pies on the block,” says Nicole. “One thing from my childhood that really sticks is the way my mom pushed me to try harder. She would ask, 'Is it your best?’ If I said ‘yes,' she would smile and accept my best. But sometimes—if I’m being honest—I had to say ‘no.’ That’s when she would tell me that she expected my best in everything.” This simple question is what often drives Nicole to push herself one step beyond what clients expect of her, and what she expects of herself. Nicole says, “As a graphic designer, I continually ask, 'Is this my best?’ If I can’t answer ‘yes,' I know I have work to do."
Beyond her childhood inspirations, Nicole is also driven by her clients’ needs. “Design work is easy when you are creating things for your own fulfillment, but once you start mixing in client ideas and preferences, it can get sticky. You have to keep your eye on the prize… and that prize is seeing your client’s vision come to life."
Nicole’s creative expression doesn’t end in the design room; she’s also a talented piano player, and she feels the two are related. "I enjoy learning songs on the piano. Once I learned the fundamentals of playing, I quickly started exploring and learning new songs. In a way, that translates into my everyday life. I have to take the basic principles, practice, and apply what I learn. Once you master those you have to push yourself to try new things. I do that with music and design."
For a creative team like Parker Brand, bringing in a motivated design surgeon like Nicole wasn’t even a question. Her personal sentiments echo perfectly the “just do something” philosophy that has continued to keep Parker Brand Creative Services at the top of the branding game in Southwest Louisiana. "I learn things quickly,” says Nicole. “Go ahead and throw me into a new scenario or environment. It might take me a hot second to get my footing. But once I’ve adjusted, watch out! I’ve counted to ten. Ready or not, here I come!"