Article By: Piper Hale
Published: Oct 21, 2011
Katie Putnam, from Brentwood, Tennessee, is working toward a B.F.A. in advertising at SCAD Savannah.
Growing up, Katie Putnam was surrounded by art; her brother, now the bassist for rock band Moon Taxi, discovered music at an early age and would spend hours practicing guitar, while Katie's mother, an architect, drew sketches. In high school, Katie's own involvement in art grew as she simultaneously discovered an interest in business. When researching colleges, she gravitated toward advertising programs, seeing the field as a desirable junction between Wall Street and the art world.
An avid soccer player, Katie first became interested in SCAD's advertising program
when she heard that SCAD had sports teams
. "As student-artist-athletes, we're kind of a rare breed," she says. "Not many other art schools offer sports. I was so excited that I could actually have sports and art at the same place." When SCAD awarded her a soccer scholarship, she made her decision.
Since beginning the advertising program, Katie has gained a solid footing in every aspect of the discipline. "Whether you are an art director or a copywriter, the professors make sure you're well rounded in both sets of skills," she says. Now that she has a broad foundation in these skill sets, Katie is focusing her studies on account planning, the field that bridges the accounting and creative spheres of design firms.
She recently put both her creative and business talents to the test as a member of SCAD's team for the 2011 National Student Advertising Competition. Katie and 12 other advertising students, assisted by students from the fashion program, designed an advertising campaign for JCPenney, this year's competition sponsor. The SCAD student campaign won the regional competition, and Katie and the other members of her team traveled to San Diego for the awards in the spring. "We were all so excited!" says Katie.
These kinds of collaborative projects have provided Katie with some of her favorite experiences at SCAD. She says the opportunities to work not only with other advertising students, but also with students from all over the university, has boosted her own potential. "If I went to another school, there are so many ideas I couldn't execute," she says, "but here I can. For instance, if I wanted to create an ad made completely out of textures, I could contact a fibers student who would help me weave whatever I needed to create the look I wanted. Being in a place like SCAD just breeds creativity."
Many of Katie's collaborative partners have been members of her soccer team. Being a member of a sports team provided her with her first group of friends when she arrived at SCAD, and now offers her a secondary network outside her major that she can always work with on interdisciplinary projects. "We all come from different majors," Katie explains.
Katie's involvement with soccer has become a huge component of her life at SCAD. She spends many weekends at away games and much of her spare time is spent at practice or hanging out with teammates. "Doing sports feels like it almost makes us get our work done faster," says Katie. "It forces us to balance our time. You can't procrastinate on an assignment due Monday if you're leaving town this weekend. And being an athlete makes me feel like I represent SCAD. It pushes me to want to excel and to show that I am an athlete, but I also am an art student."
This summer, Katie took a break from soccer to complete an internship in New York with advertising agency Arnold NYC. "I feel like I got really, really lucky," Katie says. At the SCAD career fair, Katie spoke with a representative of a different advertising agency, but made such an impact that he passed Katie's portfolio on to his wife, who works at Arnold. Katie's cleverly branded leave-behind-a resume, business card and portfolio designed with a red color scheme reminiscent of her distinctive long red hair-may have helped reinforce her first impression.
After her internship, Katie returned to SCAD for her senior year. When she graduates, she plans to move to a large city like New York or Chicago. "I'm going to like living the fast-paced life," she says, "which is good, because that comes with the territory of advertising."