Alumni Throwback: Nikki Darling

Nikki Darling,

Copywriter/Social Media Coordinator/Marketing Assistant 2012-2015

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If you could sum up your experience in Design Works in one-two words, what would it be?

Beautiful hot-mess.

What was your first memory of working at Design Works? 

Going on golf-cart rides around campus and having deep life conversations with my coworkers.

What have you done since leaving Design Works and graduating from UNT? / What do you do now?

After graduating, I became a Junior Account Executive at a PR agency. I was there for a year and a half until I was offered a job at the Dallas Market Center. I have been there since as a Marketing Content Coordinator. I manage things like copy, PR, social media, and traditional and digital marketing tactics. This is definitely what I want to be doing.

How did your time at Design Works prepare you for the future?

Two things are really important when finding a job: teamwork and versatility. Since Design Works is a small community, we would strategize, conceptualize, and work together through many projects. Before that, I liked solo work. Design Works really taught me the value of working in a team because any marketing job requires that. Also, versatility is really important. Design Works allowed me to learn about the different parts of marketing. Having a broader understanding of how marketing works is so beneficial for me in the real world. I work with designers and a video team all the time now, so being able to have that experience at Design Works helped.

What about Design Works had the greatest impact on you?

Being surrounded by extremely creative people. It really pushed me out of my comfort zone. Sometimes, I would be too realistic and not think out of the box enough. Working with so many creatives stretched my thinking. I think that challenged me to go further and has made me a better creative.

What was your favorite moment at Design Works?

Any time we were working on a video. Filming was so much fun because we were so excited and sometimes tired. We got so silly and collaborated very well together. And, also, the times we pranked our boss.

What was the most important lesson you learned during your time at Design Works?

To keep my ego in check. I think I know what I’m doing and that I’m always right, but I was surrounded by people who thought differently than me. They would often challenge me to think differently or see something from another perspective. It taught me that I’m not always right and the input of my teammates is important.

Favorite project you worked on?

It was really stressful, but I liked working on the Christmas Carol spoof. Making the cutouts was fun because it was challenging and new.

What do you wish other people knew about Design Works?

People don’t understand how much work we put into what we do. Nothing was done casually. We went big. And people don’t realize how big these projects were to us. And that it’s a fun place to work! It’s a great community with amazing, creative, caring people.

Thing you miss about UNT?

Everything! Being in college is so much easier than being an adult. The sense of community that’s on campus is also something you don’t really find anywhere else. There’s a sense of belonging on campus and everyone is so friendly. After you graduate, the world becomes a “every man for himself” kind of place.

If you had a super power, what would it be?

Invisibility.

What is your brain food?

I drink a lot of Moroccan Mint tea.

What’s on your playlist?

Metal and death core. Or super indie acoustic stuff. So, complete opposites.

What’s in your bag?

I always have 5 pens, a notebook, Band-Aids, Ibuprofen, lip gloss, cell phone, earbuds, and little bottles of coffee or energy drinks.

What’s your favorite color?

Black.

What is your favorite thing about your job now?

I have a  really awesome team and they’re all creative and intelligent. They inspire me.

Advice for current students?

I could write a book on this. Put 110% of yourself into everything you do. If you fail, at least you know that you gave it your best. Opportunities will come to you when you work hard. Don’t be afraid to say yes to those opportunities. Fear can hold you back, but go for it. Take advantage of your youth and freedom.