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Thomas Gangwer

Posted on February 19, 2020 

“Follow your passion early on in life”

Student Spotlight – Fall 2016 – Thomas Gangwer

Posted on November 8, 2016 by admin

SoFAD Student Spotlight

Thomas Gangwer


What area are you specializing in within Visual Communications? Graphic Design.

What inspired you to pursue a career in Visual Communications? The birth of my three sons is what really gave me the motivation to pursue a career in graphic design. Once they were born I began to contemplate the example I would be leaving for them. It seems as if these days our children are told that success in life directly relates to the size of your bank account or the things that you own. Yet none of those things matter if you are unhappy with what you do for a living. I want to make sure that the example I set for my children shows them that being happy and being successful are one in the same.

When will you graduate? What do you plan to do after graduation? I will graduate in the spring of 2017. After graduation, I hope to find a position within a local design firm and further build upon the education I have received while attending Ivy Tech.

What is/was your favorite class and why? If I am forced to choose one, it would have to be Advanced Electronic Layout. It is both intimidating and exciting to work on a project that is large in scale. It has tested my ability to think about the big picture while working on a small portion of the whole.

What high school did you attend and if appropriate what kinds of classes prepared you for success in Vis Com? Goshen High School – I took both drawing and ceramics classes while in high school. They taught me to think creatively, embrace my mistakes, and the importance of not comparing yourself, or your work to others. Comparison is the thief of joy.

Who is your favorite artist and why? This is a difficult question to answer, there are so many that deserve recognition. The art nouveau painter Alphonse Mucha, Stephen Wiltshire who is an autistic man with an extraordinary memory and passion for painting skylines. Two of my biggest influences in regards to graphic design are Brandon Rike and Massimo Vignelli. While they are both very successful designers, what I admire most about both of them is their dedication to craft, they are both so passionate about design, they have made me realize that in order to have success you have to have that same desire and dedication.

What is your favorite advertisement and why? I always pause to admire a Target ad or commercial, what they do is really very simple. Large splashes of bright color and the image of the featured product. They show that in order to be effective you don’t need a multitude of different things going on or big bold text, sometimes less really is more. They are a perfect example of knowing who their target audience is and marketing towards them.

What is your favorite Adobe Application and how is it used?  InDesign is where the photo’s that have been touched up in Photoshop, and the logo or illustration that was created in Illustrator all come together. In my opinion InDesign is the “blue collar” application, it doesn’t get recognition by those outside of the design community and when used correctly nobody’s going to notice. Nonetheless you will spend hours examining columns of text and adjusting the tracking or kerning so that everything fits just right. It’s a beautiful thing when done correctly.

Do you have any advice for your fellow designers/artists? Life Quote? “The only people who achieve much are those who want knowledge so badly that they seek it while the conditions are still unfavorable. Favorable conditions never come.” CS Lewis

This quote has gotten me through many sleepless nights. It’s a reminder that if you want something bad enough if it’s important to you, you will find a way to get it done. There is always an excuse to be found if you are looking for one.

Graphic Design isn’t always making cool images or award winning logos, it’s great when those opportunities come yet often what we do if done correctly will never be noticed, and maybe I’m a bit crazy but that’s what I love about it.

Is there anything else you wish to share? None of my accomplishments or success would be possible without the support of my wife Anne. Her constant encouragement and late night cups of coffee have kept me going when it would have been very easy to give up. 

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