Zane Miller ’19 is picking up right where he left off at Hillsdale College in his new role as graphic design fellow for External Affairs.
The former art major who worked as a student designer for External Affairs will work remotely from Nashville, Tennessee.
When on campus, Miller designed the Winona yearbook and Tower Light covers and worked on freelance projects. At least a few hours a week, he helped the External Affairs office with its design needs.
“Zane started working as a student designer in External Affairs shortly after I arrived in January of 2017,” Senior Art Director Shanna Cote said. “In his first week, I gave him a project to work on and he knocked it out of the park.”
Miller continued to work as a student designer, and then as lead student designer, for two and a half years. He helped design the Hillsdale Magazine, the President’s Report, CCA invitations, campus posters, athletics newsletters and schedules, and more.
Graphic design has been his passion for most of his life, Miller said. He did freelance work throughout high school and college, and moved to Nashville after graduation to pursue more freelance work.
“It was a little scary but I just had to kind of make a choice as to how I wanted my life to look,” Miller said.
Though Nashville is full of design opportunities, Miller said the freelance lifestyle was hard because he never knew what would come next.
“My biggest takeaway from freelance work is that my Hillsdale education really helped,” Miller said. “I had to exercise so much time management and so much self governance because I was not responsible to anyone but myself and my clients.”
While working multiple freelance projects, Miller also worked a part-time internship for the Tennessee Board of Regents, a system of public universities in Tennessee. He worked 20 hours a week for nine months.
“That internship provided even more graphic design experience, and they kept me in higher education, which I liked,” Miller said. “I’ve always really enjoyed working in higher education.”
As the popularity of Hillsdale’s online courses has increased, the design needs for online courses and other publications and events in External Affairs has grown.
“Part-time student workers helped a bit, but the need to hire a full-time designer became a necessity,” Cote said. “My natural first thought was Zane. He is incredibly talented and is already trained and familiar with all the work we do. Now that he’s hired, I’m excited to have our ‘team’ back together.”
Miller’s familiarity with the department and built-up portfolio of design experience is a perfect combination for coming back to Hillsdale, Cote said.
“His graphic design work always impressed the faculty, it was very professional and clean,” said Barbara Bushey, professor of art and Miller’s former academic advisor. “I know he is very excited to be working for the college again.”
Miller said he was ready to be working with Hillsdale College and Cote again.
“It’s my job to make sure that everything runs smoothly and all the deadlines are met,” Miller said. “Part of the reason I was brought on is because Shanna was slammed with so much work all the time. It was really good for me to be able to come in and help take some of the weight off.”
Though Miller will still be living in Nashville, Cote said they have each individually worked remotely before and that she expects his work to remain phenomenal even from seven-and-a-half hours away.
“I’m really honored that not only Shanna but the rest of the department was impressed enough by my work as a student that they would call me,” Miller said. “I really am grateful for the opportunity to be able to come back and support a great school.”