Symone Fogg (C’16) recently spent a semester studying graphic design at the Danish Institute for Study Abroad, where she received an award for her work. Photo by Melissa Nyman.
September 15, 2015—Growing up in North Carolina, Symone Fogg (C’16) was always drawn to the arts.
“I took a ton of art classes, but I had to sneak into them,” she explained. “I wanted to take classes for 14 and up . . . and I was a very tall 12 year old. So I just acted really cool and they let me in.”
Fogg’s creative pursuits went beyond drawing; she also made dolls and collages, and even considered starting a business around the latter when she was in middle school. By the time she got to high school, Fogg had also developed an interest in graphic design, but it wasn’t until she arrived at Georgetown that she realized pursuing the arts could become a career.
Originally a math major, Fogg had an epiphany during her sophomore year: her passion for design far exceeded that for her chosen path of study. After some soul-searching, Fogg was ready to make a change. She considered transferring to a design-centric school but ultimately decided that life on the Hilltop and in Washington, DC, would afford her unique opportunities.
Now a double major in art and English, Fogg hasn’t looked back since making the switch. In spring 2015, she was able to hone her skills by spending a semester in Denmark at the Danish Institute for Study Abroad’s (DIS) graphic-design studio. Surrounded by peers and professors who challenged her to improve, Fogg calls the program one of her most competitive experiences to date.
“Everyone was really trying their best, and I so appreciated being in the arena with those types of people. There was a lot of collaboration and learning from each other’s mistakes,” she said.
Each semester, DIS recognizes one student in each discipline (architecture, interior architecture, urban design, and graphic design) with a Design Excellence Award. Awardees distinguish themselves “through diligence, commitment, academic performance, and ideally, by contribut[ing] to a positive, collaborative learning environment in class.”
Citing her intuition for asking the right questions and her spirit for collaboration, Fogg’s professors named her the recipient of the 2015 Design Excellence Award for graphic design.
“I was so surprised when they called my name because I knew that [my peers] had been majoring in design and I had not,” she said. “When the professor talked about the award and the qualifications of those who receive it, I thought ‘you mean this is for someone who really loves design.’ And I do love it.”
Upon arriving back in the United States, Fogg put that love and dedication to work at an internship with Memunatu, a DC-based classroom magazine that promotes literacy, leadership, and empowerment for teenage girls in West Africa. She spent the summer helping the organization build its website and designed several mock-ups for magazine covers.
This semester, Fogg will continue to support entrepreneurs through an internship with Haulwire, an app that allows users to ship packages, with same-day delivery, from their homes.
Supporting start-up organizations is a deliberate move for Fogg, who hopes to work with nonprofit organizations when she graduates.
“To me, design work is really about making sure the right people get the right information,” she explained. “There are some startups and nonprofits who are doing amazing things, and there are people with real passion—all they need is visibility. And if I can build a website that helps you fundraise five extra dollars that you need, then that’s what I want to do.”
Down the road, Fogg hopes to specialize in brand strategy, so she can help tell a story through design.
“We’re moving into a phase where everything is personalized just for you, and I think that’s so cool. Brand storytelling is popping up everywhere because people need a story instead of just a product. And I love that,” she said.
In the meantime, Fogg is looking forward to making the most of her last year at Georgetown as she continues to pursue her creative passions. Looking back on her choice to switch majors, Fogg says she has no regrets—and she has some advice for those contemplating a similar choice:
“Be introspective. A lot of people know what they don’t like, and that’s good, but you also need to know what you do like. What keeps you up at night? That takes introspection, and a lot of it. You may find things you don’t like about yourself, and that’s fine! But you also need to see the things you do like about yourself and accept those things. You owe it to yourself to figure out who you are and how you operate.”
To see a collection of Symone Fogg’s work, visit her portfolio on Behance.