Q and A with the Pros: Kelly Renkemeyer


As a child Kelly Renkemeyer watched her father create paintings at home. Through grade school and especially into high school her interest in art increased. Her experiences with her high school art teacher, Karen Dawson, inspired Kelly. She took as many art classes as possible and decided to major in art.

Renkemeyer landed her first job in the marketing department for an engineering company. Renkemeyer says her supervisor was a great teacher as well and helped her continue to learn graphic design.

She eventually relocated back to her hometown of Washington, Mo. As a current Art Department Manager for Magnet, LLC she has expanded her work by working on processes for art and helping others in the art field. Magnet, LLC is the world’s largest supplier and manufacturer of promotional magnets.

Renkemeyer recently sat down for an interview for SchoolJournalism.org to share her story of how she became a graphic designer.

SJ: What did you do to prepare for your career in Graphic Design?

Renkemeyer: “I took art classes at Washington High School and then I went to college and received a degree from Columbia College in Columbia, Mo.”

SJ: When did you land your first Graphic Design job and how?

Renkemeyer: “After college I applied for a graphic design position for an engineering company through the ‘St Louis Post Dispatch’ help wanted ads. I sent a resume, had an interview, and an on-the-spot “test.” Meaning, I had to do some functions in the computer. Then, I got the job. ”

SJ: What type of work do you currently do for Magnet? 

Renkemeyer: “Currently, I am an Art Department Manager. We do graphic art and production art for the promotion business.”

SJ: Looking back on your career, what do you think was your best work?

Renkemeyer: “My most creative work was at my first job in marketing for the engineer company. We did displays, laid out proposals, flyers, and more.”

SJ: What should high school student to help prepare for a career in the graphic design field?

Renkemeyer: “They definitely need to learn all the ins and outs of the graphics programs. They need to take design classes and learn all about the different print methods: digital, direct, transfer, etc. They should also take color classes to learn how it all relates to design.

“An added benefit would also be to learn photography. It would depend on your job, but for me it would be a benefit. You can intermingle photography with your graphics.

“Another tip is to take communication classes. This would be a benefit in your interaction with coworkers, clients, and business as a whole. It would also help with effective communication in your design work.”