Q and A with SDHE grad Patch Leishman

Patch Leishman
SDHE grad Patch Leishman is now a designer at Portland design studio Ideaville.

Recent College of Business grad Patch Leishman is now happily working for a design studio in downtown Portland. Read all about how his experience at Oregon State helped prepare him for a fast-paced and varied career in the design industry with this week’s Q and A.

What did you study here at Oregon State? I majored in graphic design, as well as minor in new media communications and I loved both programs. While the design program taught me essential fundamentals of design, the new media program gave me insight into the realm of cognitive science and communications, which was great for me since I tend to focus on digital interfaces and user experience.

What are you doing now that you’ve completed your degree?

After graduation, Jeremy Ehn (owner of Ideaville) graciously offered me a position at Ideaville, a design studio in Downtown Portland, OR. Alongside two other Oregon State alum designers, Brenden Schild and Dana Beaty,  I am the third graphic designer to join the team. We also have a web developer, Ryan Niswonger, who absolutely kills it on the code front. As far as responsibilities go, Ideaville wasn’t afraid to start giving me a lot of projects to work on. In any given day I can find myself designing print flyers for Regence, mocking up web designs in Photoshop, designing wine labels, editing content in the WordPress platform, or coming up with rich and engaging SEO content. Really the sky’s the limit as far as the type of work I get to do, which was one of the reasons I was so attracted to the job.

How did you find out about your current job?

I actually found out about Ideaville through Dana Beaty. She was my TA in my intro graphic design class and I made an effort to connect early on in the design program. Come senior year, I invited her and her coworkers to the senior show. Brenden Schild showed up and was impressed with my thesis work on design in the health care industry and connected me with Ideaville’s owner, Jeremy Ehn­,who is one of the nicest people I’ve ever worked for.

Did you complete any internships while attending Oregon State?

I did have a few internships. From working in the basement of Milner computer lab, interning as a designer for KidSpirit, working in Portland for Outlier Solutions during my junior year, to the most recent position as a designer and exhibition coordinator at the Special Collections and Archives Research Center at the Valley Library. I’d say each job taught me a lot about responsibility and helping other people, which as a designer, is something that really excites me. Service design, design that harmoniously focuses on all aspects of a person’s experience is something that I strive to pursue, and all the internships I completed while at Oregon State helped me form fundamental skills that make me a better user-centered, service-driven thinker.

What was the best part of your experience at Oregon State?

The best part of my experience was starting the AIGA OSU student group (American Institute of Graphic Arts) and being president for a year. It was so great to see designer students ranging from freshmen to seniors come together and get involved. I think that no matter what your grade classification, we all have something to learn from one another.

What is the most significant takeaway from completing your degree that you think will benefit you early on in your career?

I think the most significant thing I took away from the program was the ability to think conceptually about communicating messages in an original yet level-headed away. I think consumers and society in general are becoming smarter and savvier, and as a designer I’ll always need to be able to create fresh yet concrete solutions to any design challenge, whether that be tomorrow or 10 years from now.

What are you most looking forward to in your career?

The thing I’m looking forward to most is being a part of this crazy fast paced world of change we live in. Technology is getting more advanced and smarter everyday, and I’m so glad I get to be the part of that. To be able to merge design and function into our everyday experiences is so thrilling.

What advice would you give current and future College of Business students about how to be successful in their program and in seeking a job?

Network. I know it’s so cliché because people say it all the time, but honestly in the design program, it couldn’t be more true. Start networking early. Try not to be too pushy, but just be honest about your intentions. Be driven. Always pursue more knowledge and keep trying. I think I applied to over 30 places from here to Austin, Texas. One of the offers I got was indeed from my immediate network, so it does pay to make connections.

What is your favorite thing about Corvallis?

One of the things I miss most about Corvallis is walking into Interzone on a rainy day and getting a hot cup of their River Mud coffee. Lucky for me though I have Stumptown nearby!

What’s your favorite thing about Oregon State?

My favorite thing is how friendly and beautiful the campus is. At no time did I ever feel threatened or insecure about my learning experiences, which I think helped push me to keep trying new things while I was there.

If you knew you were leaving Corvallis for good, where would you go for your last meal here? What would you order?

My last meal would have to be the French toast at Gathering Together Farms. It’s not normal French toast. It’s magical farm French toast.

Do you have any “secret” talents or hobbies?

Not many people know that I play the guitar but it’s one of my hobbies I enjoy doing when I get time.

What do you watch when you just need to laugh?

When I need to laugh I watch failed cat jumping videos. Be careful though, once you’ve entered the funny cat video domain, hours will have passed before you realize it.

Any final thoughts you’d like to share?

I love the direction the graphic design program is taking at OSU. I think it was so smart for SDHE to transition to the College of Business, and both Dean Klinsorge and Associate Dean Minjeong Kim have done a great job in the transition. I think there are so many opportunities for design students within the College of Business. Lots of amazing things are happening, and I’m so lucky to have seen a small part of it. As one of my professors Andrea Marks always said, “Onward!”

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