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Women in Graphic Arts: Belinda Ivey

Belinda Ivey

KarBel Multimedia
Fort Lauderdale, FL

What is one thing you learned in school or via an alternative learning source that has made you a better professional? What was the name of the school / instructor / resource?

In 2001, the Society of News Design held their annual conference in Phoenix where I was working as an intern at the Arizona Republic, the city’s major newspaper. I was in the editorial graphics department, working as an assistant to the graphics director and spending my time learning how to write, research, design and illustrate news graphics.

SND was offering several workshops, and I had a chance to attend the conference through the paper. I took an introduction to Flash and an introduction to web design. Both classes laid a new foundation for my career. I thoroughly enjoyed both classes, and went on to experiment in creating my own Flash animations and web sites.

But the instructors who taught the Flash class ended up being my bosses when I landed my dream job at the South Florida Sun Sentinel newspaper two years later as a graphics reporter. There, I continued to create infographics for print and online, then got to dabble in television graphics, and still retained coding knowledge when the paper started to push their website platform more than print.

Today, I teach two classes (multimedia design and web design) at the University of Miami, and I can look back and pinpoint exactly where my roots started.

As a woman in graphic arts, how do think the female perspective has impacted the evolution of the industry?

I think the female perspective is more rounded. We’re able to focus on the bigger picture as a whole and not dwell on a linear path. While we may be more “emotional,” I think that’s a great trait to bring to the table as we’re able to troubleshoot issues from several angles.

Name a female graphic artist, living or deceased, that made an impact on your aesthetic or work style (Include their social media handles if available). How does that impact present itself in your work?

I’ve struggled with this question. Honestly, there weren’t a lot of females working in the news graphic industry to begin with. We were sparse. The few names I had come across included Peggy Stark and Susan Mango Curtis (@mangocurtis), both heavyweights in the newspaper graphic design. But I had never had the fortune of being mentored or taught by them.

Newspaper graphic design is a heavily male-dominated field, but I gravitated to the female co-workers who had strengths in illustration. I’ve met amazing women across 4 newsrooms who have influenced me in both art and business, including the self-made craft goddess Kathy Cane Murillo (@craftychica). I love that I’ve developed friendships with some co-workers and can still bounce back ideas and mentor each other within the past 20 years.

I left the newspaper business in 2011 to focus on my freelance company and build a part-time career as a teacher of graphic design in journalism at the University of Miami. My career took a wild left turn, and I found myself wading through unfamiliar territory with only my husband to help navigate this new venture.

As a business owner, I’m fortunate enough to look at my friends and colleagues for inspiration. I’m able to watch the successes of these women who’ve converted a hobby into a full-fledged business. My dear friend and former co-worker Susana Sanchez Young (@designingchica) is one of my favorite people and we still collaborate, commiserate, brainstorm, and reflect on hardships, milestones, and successes in both career and personal life to this day.

My friend Lindsay Dubois Conchar (@Life_Love_Sugar), who I also mentored as an intern at the Sun Sentinel, used her knowledge in web design, coding, video editing, graphic design, and social media to develop a part-time hobby (and love of funfetti cake) into a full-fledge web business as a cake blogger!

It’s been wondering seeing these women grow as designers and artists, and watch them navigate similar challenges as me while we forge a new path outside of the newspaper industry.

I preach to my students that design is something that evolves and grows over time with experience, and the same philosophy can be applied to a career in graphic design. I’ve evolved from a news paper designer to a graphic artist to an owner of a graphic design firm, and finally an instructor in the field. My goal moving forward is to make an impact as a mentor and teacher to professionals and students.

A journalist since high school, Belinda Ivey’s award-winning career has sling-shot her from the halls of the University of Florida to the design and graphic departments of the Philadelphia Inquirer, The Baltimore Sun, The Arizona Republic, and the South Florida Sun Sentinel. In 2008, she started to freelance and formed her company, KarBel Multimedia, with her husband Karsten.

KarBel Multimedia is a creative agency focusing on graphic design for print, online and broadcast. In the beginning, the work consisted of similar projects the Iveys did at the newspaper: infographics, interactives, and 3D illustrations. Over time, they’ve worked with a variety of clients around the globe and expanded their portfolio to include more traditional print designs. Their client list since 2011 includes Google, United Way, Fortune Magazine, American Lung Association, Microsoft and Hasbro.

Most of KarBel’s creative team consists mostly of former visual journalists with years of design experience in newspapers and magazines around the country. The diverse set of skills allows the company to provide clients with an array of services to grow their presence in all media using graphic design, infographics, motion graphics and interactives.

In her free time, Belinda teaches part time at the University of Miami’s School of Communication. She’s been teaching there since 2001 with a curriculum in multimedia design, infographics, and web design. She is a member of AIGA and the Graphic Artists Guild; and holds a Masters in Fine Arts in Motion Media Design from the Savannah College of Art and Design. She is a mom and a scout leader, and loves to do art projects with kids.

Images © KarBel Multimedia. Used with permission.