You might not expect a graphic designer working as part of a program support center housed within theU.S. Department of Health and Human Services to say, “The majority of work I do gives me creative freedom,” but that’s exactly what Chris Spangler, who is represented by Aquent’s Baltimore office, told me when I spoke with him last week.
I gave Chris a call because a poster he had designed on assignment won first prize in the Combined Federal Campaign of the National Capital Area (CFCNCA) Communications Contest. As it turns out, designing posters, which he has done for everything from promoting IT security within the agency to celebrating Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month, is just part of his job at HHS (or, more accurately, SAMHSA/PSC). He has also designed and illustrated annual reports, brochures, and info-packs, he’s designed logos and updated brand identities for various governmental programs, and he’s even had the chance to serve as photographer at meetings with ambassadors and other functions.
“Working for the government is great job security,” Chris says, but what really appeals to him is “… feeling like your making a difference by helping people with the stuff you’re creating. I’ve designed a book on preventing bullying, I worked for a year and half on materials related to 9/11, and I put together a publication on responding to bio-terrorism attacks. You’ve got to look for different ways to find satisfaction in your work and these types of projects help do that for me.”
With a background in graphic design, photography, and comic book illustration, Chris worked for several small ad agencies in the Baltimore area before Aquent contacted him about working at HHS. There, his range of abilities has made him a widely sought-after part of the team. He finds a lesson in this for those just starting out in their design careers. “Make yourself as indispensable as possible. To do that, you need to learn as much as possible and develop a diverse set of skills.”
On behalf of Aquent, I’d like to congratulate Chris on his award-winning work. To get in touch with Chris, please contact our Baltimore office.