Justene Merriman

She/They, Multimedia Designer

About

What I'm doing here

I produce creative content for our college and department communications such as: graphics, audio, video, photography, websites, writing (multilingual), and other creative projects. My mission is to ensure the achievements of our faculty, staff and students are represented in a high quality, consistent, and inclusive way. You'll see my work on this website and wherever our marketing reaches.

Hablo Español a un nivel básico - sigo aprendiendo, y me gusta practicar para entender mejor a mi familia!

How I ended up here

Collegial Credits

AAS degree in Graphic Design from Whatcom Community College

2 years in the Design program at Western Washington University

BS in Information Technology/Multimedia & Visual Communications from University of Phoenix online

WWU certificate in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Where I came from

I'm a Bellingham native from a diverse blended family - including LGBTQIA+ and originating from Canada, Mexico, and all over the US from Alaska to Puerto Rico. I simultaneously grew up on a floral farm in the county and an in-home Graphic Design studio near downtown.

On the farm I tended and cleaned up after neighbors' horses, climbed barn rafters to peek at owl and bat nests, gardened, harvested and dried plants, made forts out of tall grass and corn stalks, ...and drew on the walls (and cleaned it off, and drew on them again...and repeat). Now I paint murals on the walls, and nobody asks me to clean them off.

In the studio I evolved from doodling on paper found in the recycling bin (and drawing on the walls here too), to creating mailers with professional design equipment. I cozied up to a Stat camera in the darkroom on hot summer nights, and developed a hobby of digital illustration whenever an office computer was idle.

The path I took

After about 5 years as a light-duty after-school Janitor and Office Assistant, I spent 15 years in commercial printing at the largest printing facility in Bellingham. I started with cutting and taping printed documents into layouts for giant cameras, making polyester and metal plates for the presses, then moved on to fixing customer files in design software. I enthusiastically got into workflow automation, making marketing materials, and managing the company website. Eventually I ended up managing Prepress, and visiting K-12 schools throughout Whatcom County to teach design and printing to yearbook classes, teachers, and parent helpers. During the same time I had a freelance business doing graphic design, fine arts, writing, and event coordination. I also dabbled in photography for fun, and some of my poetry got published.

I joined the WWU College of Fine and Performing Arts in 2013. Here I have taken our websites through multiple overhauls, generated a ton of posters, displays, mailers and other print marketing, produced and regularly update digital signage, performed photo shoots, created and edited videos, advised university branding, made improvements to university communications and workflows, increased the welcoming nature of our marketing, and advocated for more inclusive usability for all.

What I'm doing elsewhere

I am constantly in the midst of DIY projects and learning: arts of all kinds, woodworking, home/car/bike repair/improvement, journaling, working on my Spanish, and other projects that strike needs or fancy. I also do daily nature photography while on leashed adventures with my cat (adopted from Creatures' Comfort), who miraculously makes me happy to get outside around dawn. I volunteer as a member of the board and committees at Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth (BAAY). You might see me with my cat at parks and trails, at some of BAAY's events, or at the myriad of inspiring activities in the WWU College of Fine and Performing Arts.