Our newest designer, Jen Mercer, has skated into CSG and added a brand new edge to our design team, not to mention local ice arenas.

As a long-time Busby Berkeley* movie fan, I couldn’t be more excited to have a synchronized ice dancer on board. Freestyle with an edge – what more could we want?

(*Oh, please, just the best synchronized-everything choreographer ever – still awe-inspiring after 70 years.)

Q: How did you get started in design?

A: I’ve always been interested in art but never felt artistic enough to be a fine artist, which led me to earning a B.A. in Art History from the College of William and Mary. [She was named a James Monroe Scholar, placing her among the most academically distinguished undergraduates at the college.] After interning at an advertising agency, I knew I had found my niche and went back to school to earn a B.S. in Graphic Design from the Art Institute of Philadelphia.

Q: I see that in addition to freelancing, you spent a little over ten years at Philadelphia’s Bauman Rare Books. What kinds of projects did you do there?

A: As principal designer, I designed all of the company’s print and digital catalogs and assisted in web design, ad creation, and design of posters and brochures, etc. I also collaborated with the marketing team on special projects like our Guide to Book Collecting. As a freelancer, some of my favorite assignments included logos and branding, and poster design.

Q: What do you enjoy most in your new job?

A: The broad variety of projects at CSG drew me to the job, but to be honest, I knew this would be a good workplace because I felt so respected in the interview process. And – they offered me the job on my birthday! My favorite part of the job is both the hardest and the most rewarding: it’s the initial creative process.

Q: So where do you look for inspiration when starting a new project?

A: To get ready, I like to follow trends online, on Pinterest and even in food blogs, where I like to see how the food and photography come together. That kills two birds with one stone since I enjoy baking as a hobby. Luckily the results of the baking are counterbalanced by my other hobbies: running, dancing and Zumba.

Q: If you were a brand, what would you be?

A: I’m not entirely sure how to answer that question, but I’d say my personal brand would be “playful and polished, but with an edge.” Or, at least, I want it to be! I love bright, fun colors, but can appreciate the opposite side of things, too. With that said, I love carnivals and circuses and the art/design associated with them, adore the idea of magic and fairytale worlds….aaand, I collect toy robots!

Q: Now that you’ve relocated back to Virginia, do you have a bucket list?

A: Travel, of course. My top destinations at the moment are Scotland – Edinburgh in particular, it’s the most beautiful city; Australia and New Zealand; and Yellowstone.

Q: If someone were searching for you online, what would your key words be?

A: I would say “funny,” “healthy” and “organized.”

We would agree, along with “talented” and “versatile.” Plus, loving carnivals and circuses is a great skill set for the design world – you know, juggling, lion taming, and lots of simultaneous activities to keep track of. We’re excited to have Jen at CSG and are looking forward to the ideas she cooks up as well as her baked goods.