This week, we were with Maria Stangel to talk about what she has been up to after graduating from DMI. Don’t forget to check out the photos!
DMI Tumblr: What is your name, year of DMI graduation, advisor, thesis focus?
Maria Stangel: My name is Maria Stangel, I graduated in 2012. My thesis advisor was Brian Lucid and my thesis topic was: Playful Interactions – Designing Spontaneous Connections
I was interested in connections that may emerge among people that temporary use the same space. I wanted to see how I can influence interactions and encourage people to open up and share a positive experience.
DMI-T: What did you do before you came to DMI?
MS: I have graduated Academy of Fine Arts in 2009 as a Graphic Designer and then worked for a year at the Firefly Branding, an office in Prague. At the same time I was doing a post graduate research at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, on signage systems commonly used in Europe in renaissance and baroque. The signs such as animal shapes or symbols above the doors, gave people guidelines before the building numbers were introduced.
DMI-T: What is your current profession?
MS: I am a Senior Designer at DDB Worldwide – happy to say, second time the advertising agency of the year in Poland – we just learned that two days ago:)
DMI-T: How did DMI help prepare you to make the work you are currently doing?
MS: The two year program taught me to always search for new ways of expertise. I learned that experience can apply for all different sorts of fields: from small scale of self presentation, through design, data organization to large strategy planning.
Classes with Gunta Kaza taught me to consider my own impressions in everything I do, no matter if it is a large budget project or a playful composition. Also, to start small with intuition and later search for connections in a large context. And to never fear any project, ever…cause “Whats the worst that can happen?”
Seminars with Joe Quackenbush reveled the hidden connections in my personal life path but also in the history that lead to the present day achievements. I realized that there is much less coincidence in the world. People inspire each other and grow new ideas based on what the already know. This chain of sparkles repeats over and over again, and it is fascinating where it might lead.
Jan Kubasiewicz made me fearless. Truly. Since critics with Jan I just go for things and argue badly for what I want. That is probably the most direct connection to my current job since for the second time that approach landed me a pretty good salary :] I also learned from Jan to oppose my own ideas. To question what I do and evaluate my thinking all the time. That gives me the power of flexibility that allows to change project in a very early stage. I see that most people I work with, especially creatives, lack of that skill.
Brian Lucid introduced me to prototyping technique. I prototype now pretty much everything. My coworkers in Poland often thing that this is a some kind of a joke… However later they run out of a clients meeting to take a prototype from my desk to explain the idea. I learned to sketch ideas “on a fly” and use all sorts of objects when talking to people. I also was introduced to the field of technology and programing that I never thought I could possibly understand…Seeing my things work was a huge satisfaction.
A lot of skills I learned at DMI translate directly to my daily job, but I want to point out that many ideas and approaches were directions for life. That is priceless.
DMI-T: What advice would you give to a potential DMI candidate
MS: Go for it. It is a great learning opportunity and an amazing adventure. You will also join a worldwide community of fantastic, funny and inspiring people. This school does not end after two years, that is for sure.