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Visually Marketplace Designer Spotlight: Kyla Tom


published on October 22, 2012 in Conversations

Visually’s newly-launched Marketplace connects thousands of designers with clients seeking to commission infographics and data visualizations. In the following weeks, we will feature members of our designer community here, on the blog. If you are interested in participating, please contact us at blog[at]

Name: Kyla Tom
Age: 25
Has been designing infographics (among other things) for the past two years
Find her on kylatomdesign
1. Tell us a bit about yourself: how did you get into design, and how long have you been doing it?

Since I can remember I have been drawing. My mother would give me and my sisters blank sheets of paper and we would spend hours drawing. I always knew I would do art of some form, but I dabbled in Fine Arts in college before I discovered Graphic Design. I had heard it was a good way to create art and make a living, but most of all Graphic Design allowed me to bring art into everyday life and I loved the idea of that. After bouncing around a few design programs, I found one that really fit and got my degree from Portland State University here in Oregon. I got my degree about two and a half years ago and I have been designing for a company in-house as well as freelancing ever since.

2. In 7 words or less, describe your style.

Fun, cheeky, and clean. Look at that, I did it in three words!

3. If you could take a seminar with one designer or artist, dead or living, who would that be? Why?

This is a toughie… I find that most of my inspiration comes from design firms and those groups of people who consistently create wonderful work. I love Sandstrom Partners in Portland, OR because their packaging design always wows me. They really hit the nail on the head when it comes to bringing the product’s message across and they do it in a very beautiful and simple way. If they ever had a seminar, I would be all over that.

4. What’s your favorite color? Why?

I love red. Always have, always will. It is so vibrant, warm, and playful.

5. What is the biggest mistake you’ve made in your work and what did you learn from it?

When I was still in college my whole grade rested on a final group project. We were making a poster for a Jazz Festival and printed it out around 11pm the night before it was due (that right there is a mistake… never wait until the night before to print a project. ever.). I took the poster home and found that the main word was in the wrong font. It defaulted to Myriad Pro regular rather than Helvetica Bold and it did not fit the rest of the piece whatsoever. I wracked my brain all night trying to figure out how to fix it and ended up waiting outside the printers until they opened and begged them to take pity on me and re-print it. Fortunately, they had no big print jobs that day and they printed it. It got done 5 minutes before my class started. Yikes. The moral of the story: always, ALWAYS check the print before you leave the printers and package all your fonts so you know the printer will have them.

6. What about your biggest achievement? Tell us about the project you are most proud of in your career so far.

There are many projects that are close to my heart and quite a few that have been stepping stones for me. As silly as it sounds, however, I am very proud of my “mr. Poo” infographic right here on Visually. For once I got to design an infographic about something really fun (some of my coworkers disagree with me there) and informative as well. It was great to take on the challenge of making the topic of proper digestion interesting and fun, rather than have it cue the gag reflex. I had a lot of fun and freedom designing it and my coworker Cody did a fantastic job writing the script.

7. Who should we feature in this space next?

Choices, choices… I personally love the work of Column Five Media. It isn’t just one person, since it’s a firm, but I absolutely love their work.

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