Alumna Highlight: Leanna White, Graphic Design

Leanna White, SUNY Ulster Alumni

Leanna White is a SUNY Ulster Alum, Class of 2012 with an A.S. degree in Advertising Design and Graphic Technology. Her career since graduation has been the very definition of “Start Here. Go Far.” Leanna has taken her classroom knowledge into the real world to excel in her chosen career as a professional Graphic Designer.

The SUNY Ulster Graphic Design program is not only instructional, it also prepares students to work with clients. While in the program, students work on professional projects to prepare them for a career in graphic design immediately after graduation.

Among other projects, Leanna worked on the design of the Ulster County Sheriff Patrol cars.

K9_Front-Back K9-Car

Recently, we sat down with Leanna to discuss her accomplishments since graduating from SUNY Ulster.

What have you accomplished since graduating from SUNY Ulster?

Since graduating in 2012, I have had nothing short of a colorful career. Shortly after graduating, I was offered a job at Pictoura (start-up travel company) where I retouched over 30,000 beautiful images from locations around the world.

YTWT_Jan-2015-CatalogLater that year, I was offered an in-house position as a graphic designer for Naturtint, an international leader in natural hair dye. The advertisements I designed could be found around the U.S. and Canada in top publications like Women’s Health, Dr. Oz and The Good Life.


After parting ways with Pictoura in 2013, and Naturtint in 2014, I was offered a position as creative director for We Are Triumphant (Records) in Fall 2014. My job was to manage all of the company’s creative material including artwork for individual artists and bands on the label.  Plus I had the great opportunity to work directly with Victory Records to have my work produced for their online store.

While I still work on-and-off with We Are Triumphant, most of my time is currently occupied with design work for Yankee Trails World Travel. Some of my many tasks include designing travel catalogs, printed advertisements, e-mail campaigns and more. All the while, I have maintained a bustling freelance career where I work with awesome people from around the world.

You can see Leanna’s portfolio online at:

How has the SUNY Ulster graphic design program assisted you in your career? 

Even though I did some design work before attending SUNY Ulster, The ‘Real World Classroom’ with its controlled setting really helped prepare me for what to expect in the design world. The field is extremely competitive and this gave me a head start.  With the help of the program’s real-world projects and competitive student atmosphere, I quickly adopted a work ethic that has helped me produce some of my best work yet.

Do you have any advice for current Design students?

  • Always have a contract.

One thing that I think needs some serious mentioning is design contracts. If you are a freelance designer dealing with money of any kind, you must ALWAYS have a written agreement between both parties. I cannot stress this enough. More often than not, people will try to take advantage of  you if a contract is not set in place. If you cannot afford a lawyer to write a contract for you, do your research and alter an existing contract to suit your needs.

  • Be competitive.

To survive in the design world, you absolutely have to be driven and committed. Never stop learning, never stop improving. Keep up to date with current design trends and constantly perfect your skill and technique. Most clients are looking for a one-stop-shop, which means you need to be a multi-disciplined and multi-faceted individual with a lot to offer. If you’re not giving it your all, expect that someone else will. This career is not for the light of heart.

  • Take a break.

As with most creative professions, your brain needs a break from creative thinking. Working long hours on a project will leave you feeling blind and without direction.  That is never a good feeling, especially when someone is relying on you to make something great. Know when to close down Adobe for the night and try not to stress about your creative block – tomorrow’s fresh eyes are exactly what your design needs.

Interested in more information about the SUNY Ulster, Graphic Design Program?

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