An Interview with Megan Gileza

An Interview with Megan Gileza

The Basics

Where are you from? What brought you to Baltimore?

So my family is from New York, but I grew up in St Louis and moved to Maryland when I was halfway through High School. I did my undergrad at Virginia Tech, grad school at MICA (Woo!), freelanced for a bit after. And I here I am.


What’s your role here at Orange Element?

I’m a Graphic Designer. So my role is to build creative assets for both internal and client use. Essentially all the creative client work is passing through either my hands or our other designer’s, with help from our Creative Director of course.


What pushed you to enter the design field?

When I was in High School, I was really torn between the arts, creative classes and the sciences. I thought architecture would be this happy medium that brought it all together, but after 2.5 years of studying architecture I realized that I didn’t want to be an architect. So I got a degree in creative writing, but I was still feeling like I wanted that element of visual problem solving, which led me to Graphic Design.

Really, I enjoy creating experiences; whether it’s architecture, writing stories or creating visual designs.


The Designer

What’s typically the first thing, good or bad, that sticks out to you when you’re looking at design?

It really depends on the design.

If there’s a great use of color or type, that’s going to jump out. But if there’s a glaring mistake, that’s the first thing you’re going to see. If I’m looking at a billboard or some other type treatment, one thing that stands out to me is poor kerning. But I don’t look at any one particular element- if there’s anything that’s good or bad, that’ll hit me first.


Is there an underrated aspect of design that you’d like to see pushed more in the world?

I don’t know if it’s an “aspect of design” but rather Design Thinking as a process. Something can be beautifully done, but if it’s not considering the users it’s not good design.


In a single sentence, how would you describe your work as a designer?

Form follows function, with a full bleed

Visually, I’m into graphic type that bleeds the page in interesting ways.

And because of my background in architecture, I like to look for a rule or a system. I think of design as creative problem solving. To me, that’s the difference between illustration and design. Art can be beautiful, but design serves a purpose. It can’t just look pretty, it has to serve a purpose.


What made you want to be part of Orange Element?

The small close-knit team atmosphere. I like that you can kinda get your hands on everything and wear multiple hats.


What’s your favorite part about working at Orange Element?

In that same vein, the team is small enough that it’s easy to get support when you need it. And being part of a small team also provides the opportunity to take ownership of projects and use them to explore and grow your own skills. (Plus it doesn’t hurt that we all actually like each other.)


Which project from Orange Element would you put on the front page of your design highlight reel?

I’m actually just now wrapping up a project for our client, Launch Workplaces. What I’m doing now is a collection of print collateral for marketing purposes and they’ve been awesome to work with. It’s been a great opportunity to push their brand in creative ways.


The Personals

If I wanted the ABSOLUTE BEST coffee in Baltimore, where would I go?

I just moved into the city a few weeks ago, so I’ve only explored a little bit. I’m always looking for the greatest cappuccino, since that’s what I go for.

I like the cappuccino at Three Bean in Federal Hill, and Charmington’s in Remington. Ask me again in a few months, I’ll keep you posted.


What kind of talents do you have, outside of being an amazing designer?

None. Just kidding.

I really like to cook and bake, and I like to think that I’m pretty good at it. My family is super Italian on my mom’s side so I grew up cooking traditional Italian food.


If you had to be a crayon, what color would you be?

Scarlet. It’s like red, but a little bit softer. It’s a good color.


You can only eat at one Baltimore restaurant for the rest of your life, what’s for dinner?

I love all different kinds of ethnic foods, so this is a terrible question for me. If I had to answer right now, I’d say Spoons in Federal Hill.


Congrats! You won an all-expenses paid trip to anywhere in the world! Where are you going?

So not a specific place, but rather an activity. I’ve been dying to do one of those REI adventures. They mix a bunch of different activities- hiking, zip lining, kayaking, rafting. It’s all planned for you and you just have to show up. If money was no object, I’d go for either Costa Rica or Switzerland. (Whichever is more expensive- since someone else is paying for it haha!)


What would be the title of your eventual biography?

She Still Hasn’t Figured It Out


This or That?

Summer or Winter?

Summer (But I love every season)

Dogs or Cats?

Dogs, but I also have a cat who I love.

Pancakes or Waffles?

Waffles. Not even a question.

Soup or Salad?


Chocolate or Vanilla?

Vanilla. I think. Depends on the day.

Ravens or Orioles?

Neither! Go Giants!

Netflix or Hulu?


Friends or The Office?

Both! I’m cheating but I don’t care!

Sleep or Eat?