Daniela Balducci ’22 transferred to Moore from Temple University at the start of her sophomore year, in 2019. She came to Moore after a mentor of hers thought the school would be a better fit for her goals.
As a Graphic Design major and Business minor, Balducci struggled at first to find an internship that suited her. She went through a couple of experiences that didn’t quite add up to what she was seeking, in terms of her interests and goals. Then, one of her professors [Heather Knopf] matched her with a project happening right here at Moore.
That project was the upcoming campus wayfinding redesign, spearheaded by Entro, a graphic design firm out of New York. After interviewing with the agency, it turned out Balducci was exactly the candidate they were looking for. Bringing on a Moore student for this project was essential to their work, and Balducci’s specific career goals made her the perfect fit for the role.
At that point, the project was still being kept under wraps to the majority of the Moore community; it was still in its earliest stages. Even Balducci didn’t know exactly what the project would entail going into the internship.
“I knew that there was a rebrand happening and once [Moore] came out with the new website, everyone knew that there was something going on, but nobody knew the scale of it, how much was actually changing,” she reflects. “[Once] I got into the internship I was like, ‘oh my god, we’re re-doing all the floors, we’re re-doing everything.’”
Balducci describes her involvement as the “boots-on-the-ground” person throughout the project. “I did a lot of preliminary annotation [with] floor plans [to show] exactly what’s there already, so you know what has to be changed and what has to be kept,” she explains. “I had to understand how, as a student, I would move through the space, and then translate that into the design.”
The internship experience was right in the middle of a transitional point in the project, so Balducci was able to support and bring ideas to life, in an advisory role.
Image courtesy of Entro.
“When I came in, [the project was] kind of in this limbo state where they were finishing up the exterior of the building, because that will be going up first, but they were only just starting to work on the interiors. They would show me some design ideas and take my feedback from the perspective of a student walking through the building,” she says. “How do you get from Sarah Peter to Continuing Ed in Wilson? How would you, as a student, take that path? What are things along the way that you would note?” Experiential design versus environmental graphics was an important distinction Balducci learned during her time with Entro. “You’re designing for an experience. It’s not just something that goes on a wall to look at,” she says. “We want people to experience it and understand what we’re showing them and what’s going on in the space around them, and have it evoke some sort of feeling.”
Balducci’s initial career goals were along the lines of branding and packaging. Balducci didn’t even know that this kind of design was possible for her as a graphic designer until working with Entro. The opportunity opened her up to a clearer career path within the graphic design field that aligns with her strengths and interests.
“I am a very logical person but I am awful at simple math, so a combination of logistics and design was really important to me, which is why I was interested initially in packaging,” she explains. “But once I got into Entro and started understanding what they do there and what that subsection of graphic design looks like, I was hooked. I always thought this was work that only interior designers did. I knew that there was an aspect of design that involved user experience, but I never realized the scale of it could go this big. Quite frankly, Entro changed the course of my future. Environmental graphic design is what I am looking to as a career now because I just love it so much.”
Balducci’s understanding of the possibilities within the field of graphic design, as well as her own personal career trajectory, has changed so much during her time at Moore. As a part of her internship, Entro gifted Balducci a membership to the Society for Environmental Graphic Design, which will allow her even further networking opportunities as she moves forward in her career.
“My biggest advice [for fellow Moore students], having gone through so many changes during my college career, is to just go with the flow and be open to learn,” Balducci says. “If I had not opened myself to a possibility outside of branding and packaging, I would not have seen Entro. Something to take away when you leave school is that you don’t know what you don’t know yet. I genuinely never thought I would be in the position I am today.”