Have you ever met someone whose job seems like it was made for them? If you haven’t, you have now. A graphic designer at Brafton, Sam Oxley has been involved in art in one form or another for most of her life.
From painting to art history to playing in her own band, Sam is an artist at heart with a passion for creating stories out of colors, illustrations and images.
An Artist Every Step of the Way
Sam’s dream was to become an art history teacher, which is what motivated her to get her bachelor’s degree in fine art at the Columbus School of Art & Design in Ohio. In college, it was all art all the time for Sam. As part of her studies, she focused mostly on painting but also pursued a minor in art history and writing, with a sprinkling of printmaking and philosophy on the side.
After leaving college, Sam put her design skills to work as a barista at Grand Central Bakery in Portland, Oregon. Long before she was delivering arresting graphics and illustrations for her clients at Brafton, Sam was creating latte masterpieces, designing killer breakfasts of champions and making food experiences that kept her customers happy and looking for more.
When she was ready to move on from the coffee-making world, that’s when Sam found her niche. While combing the job boards on Indeed.com in late 2020, she stumbled upon an open graphic designer position at Brafton and the rest, as they say, is history.
A Day in the Life
As a graphic designer, Sam’s days are spent designing layouts for eBooks, white papers and websites, as well as illustrating infographics and feature images for blog posts.
Day-to-day life for a graphic designer changes depending on client needs, but Sam’s day always starts with a bucket load of tea or coffee, chit-chatting with her indomitable manager, Ken Boostrom, and, of course, making sure she’s up to date on all client needs and preferences.
“I spend time combing through brand guidelines and websites so that I can communicate the client’s ‘essence’ in whatever asset I’m working on that day,” she says. Her work is challenging, she adds, but in a good way.
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There Is No “I” in “Team”
Sam is a real team player. She’s quick to point out that it’s hard to choose a noteworthy accomplishment because she feels like every successful project involves so many different members of the Brafton team. “Every success feels so much like a team effort,” she says. “I never know how to answer that question.”
“Every success feels like a team effort.”
With that team-first mindset, there’s little question what her favorite part of working at Brafton is: It’s the people around her. “My boss and coworkers are funny, interesting people and such a pleasure to work with,” she says.
Brafton’s transition to remote work brought an added benefit for Sam that really completes her experience: “I get to work from home and hang out with my dog while I make pictures and play with colors all day.” Did someone say, “dream job?”
Ain’t No Rest for a Graphic Designer
Even when she unplugs from the digital marketing world, Sam is usually knee deep in another one of her beloved artistic pursuits.
She spends much of her time outside work painting. While she’s a classically trained painter, that doesn’t stop her from tapping into her experimental side and “doing weird abstract stuff.”
It doesn’t end there. She’s also a musician, with a range of instruments in her skillset. “I play a few instruments, including the bass, guitar, ukulele and theremin.” (Brittanica tells us that a theremin “is an electronic musical instrument … [that] consists of a box with radio tubes producing oscillations at two sound-wave frequencies above the range of hearing.” The background music in many of the classic science fiction films? Most likely a theremin.)
“I get to work from home and hang out with my dog while I make pictures and play with colors all day.”
When the sun goes down and the nightlife wakes up, you can catch Sam at one of her favorite local bars — that’s because she’s a member of a band that does live shows. “I play guitar/bass and sing in a post-punk band that sounds a little like a mix between Devo, Sonic Youth and Captain Beefheart.” Aside from playing in her own band, Sam also spends many of her nights soaking up the other talent. (All of this was back when going to bars was a thing, of course.)
At the end of the night, Sam likes to curl up with a novel by one of her favorite authors. Fyodor Dostoevsky, Haruki Murakami and Slavoj Zizek top the list, but she’s always eager to expand her horizons and try out new authors, genres and titles.
Sam lives and breathes art, creativity and design, and that’s what makes her such a valuable member of the Brafton family. A quick look at all the work she’s done in her time at Brafton is all the proof you need.