In the art and design world, rules are destined to be broken. It’s how the industry stays fresh and new trends emerge. In fact, it’s one of the few workplace environments where rule breaking is actually acceptable, if not welcome.  That said, it’s still a bit difficult to imagine a graphic designer, just embarking on a career path, readily choosing to break rules and bypass the traditional steps, right from the get-go, but that’s exactly how Dempsey Murphy describes her road to becoming a graphic designer for I Heart Media.

In a recent interview for DesignRush, a digital magazine that features the best in contemporary design and the talent behind it, Dempsey describes choosing art classes in high school as “the easy way out.” Mainly to avoid having to take academic classes, she actively sought art electives.  Fortunately, this act of scholarly defiance paid off for her.  She soon discovered she enjoyed illustration and started to become passionate about graphic arts.

Bucking the rules continued past her high school years.

“Throughout college, I would always get points off my assignments for not following the structure of the traditional creative process,” Dempsey explains of her professor’s insistence that all visuals be sketched-out on paper first. Instead, she worked entirely on computer, willingly taken the resulting demerits she was hit with when it came time to grade the project.

Of course, playing the rebel isn’t always going to lead to career success or make you fast friends. But Dempsey seems to embrace the adage that rules are made to be broken and worries that those who adhere to rules and tradition too strictly may put their creative potential at risk. What kind of graphic artist are you?  One who respectfully follows the rules or one who blazes a new path?

In a bid to staying true to yourself, Dempsey suggests “Finding your own style and sticking to it is so important for your work and your brand. Stay true to your style and everything will fall into place.”   It’s paid off in her career path.  Will such a stance work for you?

Learn more about Dempsey Murphy and the graphic design work she’s doing at I Heart Media, by checking out the entire interview at

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