Meet-A-Member: Meg Wagler

August 11, 2017 | Jessica Spencer

 

This month, we introduce you to one of our founding members, Meg Wagler. Meg is a designer & illustrator who relishes the ugly as well as the beautiful. She also loves the creative community in Springfield, craft beer and melted cheese. So obviously, we met at Druff’s for the happiest of melted cheese sandwiches and had a nice chat about her professional journey. —Sandy Nance


Letterpress coasters made in collaboration with illustrator (and hubby) Justin Wagler. Created on the couple’s own Excelsior table-top letterpress.


Meg’s design is fresh with a strong sense of color. Her characters are often whimsical, clever and occasionally weird, when weird is what the client orders. Meg enjoys finding the middle ground between ugly and beautiful, and exploring the realm of weird and unusual when she can. Her style, like her, is both genuine and smart. She calls graphic design, “functional art” as it meshes beauty with psychology and theory. On staying sharp: “I’m constantly making notes, taking mental snapshots (or real ones), and always scouring the internet for weird stuff. I wouldn’t say I’m looking for inspiration as much as reference. There’s beauty and weirdness to everything if you know how to see it.” Some examples she gave: conversations with friends, cutting vegetables from her garden (so many color combos!), or simply looking up. “Architecture is awesome. If you want ideas on how to distort line work, look up. Your perspective on buildings from the ground is a cool thing.” 

Meg was always drawing as a child, but it was the “digital art communications” class in high school that resonated with her and pointed her in the right direction. A shadowing experience at Moosylvania, a reputable marketing firm in St. Louis, sealed the deal.  Meg was impressed by Art Director Sarah Gaffney, a smart, quick, professional female, clearly respected, and working in a free environment: exposed brick, tin ceilings, great clients, and an office dog. Meg thought, “This is where I need to be!”

Meg moved to Springfield to attend Missouri State and can’t say enough about the quality of their design program. She credits her instructors as being internationally recognized and is appreciative of the strong foundation she received there. She went on to work at MSU as an instructor, (her favorite job!)


Meg likes to combine things that don’t make sense to keep things interesting in her illustrations.


She also worked for 417 Magazine (where we found this gem from 2012), and then as Art Director at BKD. She worked at BKD for just shy of five years, which she described as a very “square peg, round hole” situation, but she appreciates the lessons taken from working out of her comfort zone.

“Professional endurance is a thing I didn’t know I didn’t have. Experiencing culture shock – from a creative standpoint – almost sent me running in early days at BKD, but finding a way to make my own mold there is something I wouldn’t trade for the world. I think that’s something a lot of us Millenials lack: the endurance to figure out what is making us uncomfortable, and then working to find solutions. If you dig, you can find the best ways to make progress and mold something you didn’t think you could.”

Meg was influential in advocating for a more progressive and collaborative internal culture for the marketing department. Pushing to move marketing out of the cubicles and the silent workspace of the past, into a new space including bench seating, they experience greater job satisfaction, gained camaraderie, and eventually convinced the company to rebrand internally and externally.

Meg left BKD to close out 2016 and has been enjoying the freedom of working as a freelance graphic designer and illustrator. That is, until recently, when long-term freelance client Departika swooped in and finally tied the knot. Meg hopped on board as their newest art director and has been loving it. “I really feel at home here.” Meg says of Departika.


Farmers Park hosts a weekly bash, Parties at the Park. Meg was commissioned to do custom illustrations for the event promo. “I loved this job. They really let me have some fun.”


Meg isn’t the only one benefitting from her recent change in direction. Now that she’s been working for a diverse group of clients, her fresh and interesting designs are showing up all over town, including some of our Springfield Creatives collateral, since Meg serves as a member of the Meetings Committee. (Thank her the next time you see her!)


Meg’s artwork for Springfield Creatives’ 2017 Summer Slam in Mother’s Back Yard.


She applauds other’s journeys wherever they lead, but one reason she’s appreciative of Springfield’s creative climate is the opportunity to be a part of something she can help mold rather than step into something already existing somewhere else.

“When you head to a New York or an LA, you’re in a whirlpool that’s already been turned on. You’ve gotta dive in and keep pace or you’ll drown. Here, you’ve got all that same talent pool, but we make our own pace. We’ve got the spirit of camaraderie here, not necessarily competition. Creatives in Springfield are about finding strides in making a great community, and how to build on each other’s strengths. I don’t know that I’ve seen anything like it anywhere else.” 

Here’s to all that Meg has to offer the Springfield creative community. We can’t wait to see what she’ll come up with next.

To view more of Meg’s work, visit megwagler.com.

—Sandy Nance

Silver and Gold Level Sponsors

We owe tons of thanks to our wonderful sponsors! Their generous support enables our community to keep growing and Springfield Creatives to do what we do.

View All Sponsors

Become A Sponsor