From sound engineering to art director: Insight to a designer’s unique journey with Crystal Martin

By: Natalie Cantave, Co-Founder of MKTG WMN

Designers play a role within organizations and marketing teams. Yet, at times, we don’t know exactly what the role of a designer is or how someone can have a successful career as a designer.

Within MKTG WMN, we celebrate our share of “off-the-beaten-path” marketers and designers who started their careers in one area and transitioned into another. We are inspired by them because they incorporate their learnings throughout their careers, and there is something they all have in common: the willingness to learn and experiment.

I had the opportunity to sit down with an amazing design leader, Crystal Martin, who shared her unique career path into design, advice for both marketers and designers, and pearls of wisdom about following your passions!

Q: Tell me about your career path to date. Where’d you start and how’d you end up in the design role you’re in now?

A: I started out as a scrappy, hopeful, and driven designer that happened to graduate college in the middle of a recession. Times were hard and design opportunities were few but I took whatever I could find and the hustle paid off.

I eventually made my way out of California and accepted an opportunity in the Cornhusker state of Nebraska. There, I was able to work for a couple of great companies that gave me the experience and confidence I needed in order to know what I really wanted out of my career.

Fast forward 10 years later, and here I am working as an Art Director for a computer software company where I get to create beautiful things every.single.day and couldn’t be happier.

Someone pinch me!

Q: When did you realize you wanted to move to design and why?

A: Growing up, I always gravitated to anything creative so it wasn’t a big surprise when I enrolled in a digital arts college straight out of high school. I had originally majored in sound engineering but I found myself wanting to design the movie posters instead of the sound. It was then that I decided to switch majors, and I never looked back.

Q: How do you think your past experiences have helped you in design/working with marketing teams?

A: I think working with marketing teams has definitely made me a more well-rounded designer. It’s helped me better understand the needs of my team and how I can utilize my skills to uplevel company branding and exceed marketing goals.

So far, I’ve had the pleasure of working on countless marketing projects ranging from company rebranding, casting for commercials, landing page designs, social campaigns, you name it.

Being a designer is probably one of the most versatile jobs out there. You can really take it and use it anywhere!

Q: How have you applied your skills throughout your career to your role to date?

A: Every design role has the opportunity to teach you so much if you’re open to it. I always like to pack those skills away like precious treasures because that’s what has carried me along.

Q: What are some design resources that you have found helpful throughout your career?

A: Pexels for royalty-free stock photos, Moat to sift through past/current ad creative. But, tbh, there’s nothing like a good ol’ Google search to help guide you to unknown resources and spark inspiration.

Q: What’s one piece of advice you’d give people unsure about making the jump to marketing/design?

A: Trust where your talent leads you, and you’ll never be disappointed.

Want to join us?

Want to get in touch with Crystal? Connect with her on LinkedIn.

Interested in joining a network filled with marketing powerhouses? Join MKTG WMN.

About MKTG WMN
MKTG WMN is a networking group that grows with you, as you jump from ladder to ladder and shatter ceiling-after-ceiling. We cost nothing and pay dividends through a community of women across roles, regions, and industries. Working out of a LinkedIn group and Slack, we exchange ideas, produce tactical content, and host events with a community vibe.

​An inclusive community for marketing women everywhere ​to get what they need to grow, together.