A University of Wisconsin-Stout alumna’s career is right on target.
Dana Christopherson, a 2015 graduate in graphic design and interactive media, is a designer in Target Creative at Target headquarters in Minneapolis. Her job is to create concepts, design and direct pieces of marketing for the overall Target brand including gift cards, in-store marketing, internal branding and other campaigns.
Christopherson, a Waukesha native, loves the variety of work and the level of collaboration at Target. “Some days I’m art-directing a photo shoot for the Target run campaign; other days I’m lettering or working with other illustrators on gift cards,” she said.
“It keeps things interesting, and it also gives me a chance to collaborate with a range of other people inside and outside of Target Creative — illustrators, photographers, stylists, letterers, designers and artists — I’ve admired for years.”
Part of her job is working with soccer partnership art at Target, which committed to work with the U.S. Soccer Foundation to build 100 soccer fields in public spaces by the end of 2020. Christopherson’s role is to find local artists to design murals and/or windscreens for the fields to make them more inviting.
Christopherson started drawing and lettering as a child. She would make posters and signs by hand. “It was fun for me to draw letters by hand,” she said.
A counselor at Waukesha North High School encouraged her to look into graphic design as a career.
After she graduated from UW-Stout, she worked at the Milwaukee Art Museum from September 2015 until she started at Target in March 2018. At the museum she worked in marketing, creating brochures, billboards and branding exhibitions and gallery spaces.
Seeing her creative work at Target in stores and on boxes mailed to consumers is surreal, Christopherson said. “The longer I work here, the better I grasp how big of a presence Target has and how many people are seeing my work,” she said. “It’s gratifying to know how many people are seeing it.”
For lettering, Christopherson enjoys using script and cursive letters. “All the loops and flourishes are always fun to play around with,” she noted. Her favorite typefaces are DIN and hobo.
An education in ‘design thinking’
The design program classes are taught with a hands-on approach, and her professors encouraged students to apply their design thinking to something tangible, she said.
“We were constantly challenged how to apply our knowledge to the real world. We were taught to not only think conceptually but also logically and how to solve problems with design thinking,” Christopherson said.
Alex DeArmond, graphic design and interactive media program director, said Christopherson was an enthusiastic learner who brought great energy to the classroom. “She has a really positive outlook on things and tackled class assignments with creativity and openness,” DeArmond said.
“The hands-on aspect of what we do in the design program at Stout is so important,” DeArmond added. “Our projects are really rooted in real-world scenarios where students get to work through client-based problems that really connect with audiences and make an impact. We’re very proud of Dana and all our students who go on to do great things in design.”
UW-Stout’s program offers two concentrations, one in communication design, an exploration of graphic design including advertising, publication, packaging, motion graphics and more; and the other in interaction design, a study of design for interactivity across the web, mobile app and emerging screen-based media.
Earlier this year the program was ranked No. 1 in the state among public universities by Animation Career Review, an industry organization from San Francisco. In compiling the rankings, Animation Career Review considered various factors, including academic reputation, program breadth and depth, value and employment. The program has been graduating graphic designers for more than 30 years. To read the article on the ranking, go here.
UW-Stout is Wisconsin’s Polytechnic University, with a focus on applied learning, collaboration with business and industry, and career outcomes.
UW-Stout alumna Dana Christopherson is a designer at Target Creative at Target headquarters in Minneapolis.
Christopherson did the lettering for the Girl Power gift card. She worked on the project with Ted Halbur.
The Christmas gift card has lettering by Christopherson.
She also worked with a Target design team to create the shipping box designs, including Ted Halbur, Aaron Muther and Lab Partners.