If you’ve ever wandered down Mainstreet on campus or explored Wyckham House Student’s Centre, chances are you’ve seen the colourful and playful illustrations of SAMRU’s resident graphic designer Danzel Carrasco. Danzel is the brain (and steady hand) behind virtually all of the graphics you see today on SAMRU’s website, advertisements, posters, and most recently, the visual upgrades displayed throughout Wyckham House. If you haven’t seen them yet, Danzel’s designs decorate the interior of Wyckham House, making each space uniquely its own.
So, exactly who is Danzel, and how did SAMRU get so lucky to have her on board?
Danzel first got involved with SAMRU as a student attending events and programming to explore her interests and meet like-minded people. “I’m a shy person, but I also like trying new things and exploring events that are going on. As a student, I was glad that SAMRU had programs like Indigenous Crafts to express myself creatively. Having opportunities to be a part of clubs and societies was a good way for me to decompress and come out of my shell,” says Danzel.
Tasked to find a summer work experience placement, Danzel joined SAMRU as a junior graphic designer in her second year of the Information Design Program at MRU. In her role, Danzel worked on various projects, giving her a glimpse into professional life as a designer. “Although the role of a designer can be challenging, my work experience at SAMRU confirmed that I wanted to be a graphic designer. I had room to experiment with different styles and learn what works and what doesn’t”, explains Danzel, “even as a full-time professional, I’m always learning new skills, techniques, and ways to make processes more efficient.” Danzel describes her work experience with SAMRU as “an opportunity I was fortunate to experience.” Working at SAMRU allowed me to express my creativity and learn more about myself and my chosen profession. It allowed me to do so in an environment where I felt supported and appreciated.”
After Danzel’s work experience term ended, she continued to work part-time with SAMRU until she graduated and was hired on as a full-time in-house graphic designer.
Danzel was surrounded by art growing up, and it has undoubtedly shaped her into the creative force she is today. Her dad also works in the world of art and design, making his living as a comic book artist, at one point illustrating alternate Star Wars storylines. “Ever since I was little, my dad brought me to comic expos he attended, where I’d help as his assistant. I remember our old house had piles and piles of comics in the basement. I was very proud [and still am] of what my dad did. I thought it was enchanting how comics could pull you into a different world,” recounts Danzel, “I was always encouraged to draw from a young age. When I saw that my drawings could make people happy, I began to give them as gifts”. Although Danzel was an artist from a young age it, wasn’t until her third year of pursuing a software engineering degree at U of C that she seriously considered turning her passion into a full-time career.
After joining a women’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) club at U of C, she was asked to update the club’s website and create posters for club events. “After joining the STEM club, I gained experience combining writing with my love of design. I found the Information Design program at MRU through a technical writing course I was taking. It was then that I realized there was a program out there where I could combine my interests and passions and make a career out of it.” Shortly after, Danzel left U of C and followed the new exciting prospect of a career in design. “It’s rewarding to work in a career that allows me to be me, and I still get excited when I see my work displayed around campus.”
FUN FACT: If you’re ever in the small town of Okotoks on a hot summer day, you’ll find a beautifully painted piano by Danzel located downtown.
Danzel’s work is inspired heavily by old comics, retro advertisements, and Little Golden Books.” I was raised on everything geeky, so I draw inspiration from graphic novels, manga, cartoons, anime and video games. I love the fantasy genre. I am always on the lookout for unique colour schemes, pleasing line art and immersive environments. Lately, I’ve been into webcomics and zines for their handmade and personal feel.” This inspiration is seen through Danzel’s work using a combination of contemporary design with a retro-inspired spin.
Danzel continues to grow both professionally and personally in her role at SAMRU. She encourages all students to reach out to SAMRU and take advantage of its services, resources, and opportunities. “SAMRU supported me and helped me to succeed. If you ever want to pursue something, reach out to SAMRU! There is always an opportunity waiting to be discovered.” SAMRU is here for its members. There is nothing we want more than to see you reach your full potential. Reach out; we are here for you.
Every year, SAMRU offers a variety of part-time roles to help students gain the experience they need to be successful upon graduation. While there are no current open opportunities at SAMRU, students can check SAMRU jobs throughout the semester for updates.