Meet Jen Pepper—MFA student

Hello my Name is… Jen Pepper!
I am a graphic designer and wedding stationer living on the coast of New England with my husband and our corgi. I’ve spent my design career branding small businesses, designing catalogs, creating a line of home goods, and illustrating crazy-cool wedding invitations.

Why I decided to go back to grad school…

I decided to pursue my MFA in design so that I can pass on my skills and knowledge by becoming a college professor in graphic design.

Tell us about/describe your KUCD MFA journey thus far…

I am thrilled to be on the MFA journey, and it already has made me look at life a little differently. There are only so many hours in a given week, so what I choose to take on has to be worth it. Finding a work-life balance has always been a little tricky. Add school into the mix, and it has forced me to think more about what I can fit on my plate, and what I can feel good about declining.

Journey week is the first week of the semester, and it’s a little bit of a mystery coming into the program. Will I be the oldest person there? (our group is well balanced with those who are starting their design careers and those who have been in the business for a while) Will I be intimidated by other people’s design skills? (everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, don’t compare yourself to other people. Stretch your abilities and yourself!) Will I survive this? (Yes. You may be exhausted, but you will love it!) Think of it as a process that will guide you to what you will ultimately be working on for the rest of the semester.

Throw caution to the wind, let your guard down and get to know the people who make up your crazy little pack of grad students. You’ll laugh, you might cry (totally cool if you do!), and you might end up telling these people way more about yourself that you ever thought you would! It’s kind of like starting a secret club with a random group of strangers who end up having way more in common than you thought possible. There will be late nights, there may be early mornings, but most of all, it will be a process that you need to trust.

What has been your favorite project to date? Please tell me why.

During journey week, one of the concepts I ended up exploring was the overwhelming popularity of making products pink to appeal to women. I don’t like the color pink and it got me asking, why does this happen so often? The history behind the color pink being for girls and blue being for boys is a contrived one. At one point it was dependent upon which department store you shopped in. This semester I’ve been writing an article that showcases a few additional ways women are often marketed to, why they don’t work, and what could be done to correct this behavior. I’ll also be examining the packaging of body products that are sold to men and women with different packaging. I hope to determine that gender-neutral packaging would attract more consumers.

Fun fact about you.

When I’m not stuck at my desk working, you might find me at a local bar hosting pub quiz or playing Ms. Pacman. I wear flip flops until it snows. I am also mildly obsessed with…Polar Seltzer (Yes, to Cherry lime-ade, and a hard pass on plain lemon). Walt Disney World (if you ever need an unofficial tour guide, I’m all yours). Those cheese and meat gift trays that appear during the holidays (who designs those geometric arrangements, and can I please shadow you for a week?) And binge watching repeats of Parks and Recreation.