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News . Feature Stories . Graphic Design student brewed up success via Starbucks work


September 29, 2016

Graphic Design student brewed up success via Starbucks work

CIA senior turns internship into a job

Andrew Vagner has loved graphic design - and Starbucks - since high school. Photo by Robert Muller/CIA.

In internship terms, CIA senior Andrew Vagner experienced a Cinderella story. The Graphic Design major started the summer of 2016 heading to Seattle for a summer job at Starbucks and wound up with an offer to work there full-time after graduation in 2017.

This doesn’t happen to everyone, but Vagner has been working toward success for a long time.

Born and raised in Cleveland, he attended Trinity High School in Garfield Heights, Ohio, where he participated in a design track. As part of that, he interned in the communications department at Swagelok for three years.

Around that time, CIA Graphic Design department chair Larry O’Neal saw Vagner’s notably advanced design portfolio and told his father, “I want him at CIA.”

Vagner also went to work for Starbucks in high school, progressing over the years to barista trainer, shift supervisor and coffee master. Last December – during his junior year — he served on a leadership committee to plan non-partisan branding logistics for the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

The summer internship in Seattle was “next in line of goals I set out to accomplish when I first heard about the summer positions two years ago, Vagner says. “I am so proud to work for a company that genuinely uses their scale for good and is a leader in what human connection is around the world.”

His internship was in public affairs. “We work with almost every organization within the corporation and are focused on influencing the overall partner experience in every message we communicate and program we initiate,” he says.

One of his main projects was to complete a Partner Style Guide — a 60-page book delineating the Starbucks approach to tone, voice and design.

“My calendar was insanely full this summer,” Vagner says. “At my final presentation, I had a section of the wall dedicated to a gallery-style showing of all the infographics, updates, communications and photography I’ve touched. I have used my emphasis in photography from CIA to help lead photo shoots for the promo magazine we send to stores each period and for Starbucks Newsroom. I’ve been part of the planning for our fall and Holiday promotions. “

Back at CIA, Vagner moves into BFA mode. His thesis will focus on ethical sourcing in global trade. The goal: to create consumer awareness about why it might be worth spending a little extra money to support ethical sourcing, as well as what can be done to support farmers in their efforts to earn a living wage.

He promises that the new job waiting at the end of the school year slow him down at school.

“My work is still very important to me,” he says. “I picked up a video class because I know that our way of communication is going toward more video based. So I’m taking advantage of the opportunity to keep on learning and continue to improve.”

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