Meet Team W&D: Designer Extraordinaire, Raquel Benedict

Career Development

Over the years, Wit & Delight has grown from a one-woman ship to a team of six (plus a host of incredible contributors we’re so grateful to have on board!). We’re here to cheer each other on, share quips and intriguing articles du jour via our slack channels, and put our hearts and minds into the work we do every day.

As the business has grown, so have our roles. The small but mighty team that makes up Wit & Delight are on hand to wear the many hats that need filling. And we thought it was about time we share the faces behind W&D—those who bring you the words, the graphics, the planners, the studio space (the list goes on) we all know and love.

First on deck? W&D’s Graphic Designer, Illustrator, and Art Director (I told you about the many hats thing, right?), Raquel Benedict. Raquel is one of the talented eyes behind what makes the W&D aesthetic cohesive, beautiful, and, well, delightful. And I for one am not ashamed to admit that on one particular occasion, I waltzed on over to Raquel’s desk to peek at some logos she was designing for an upcoming initiative, and folks (folks!), I started tearing up over how beautiful they were. She’s a thoughtful, compassionate, uberskilled designer and it shows in everything she does.

Without further ado, I’ll let Raquel tell you a bit more about herself—her background, role at W&D, and what she’s up to when she’s not bringing beautiful ideas to life.

Name: Raquel Benedict
Title: Graphic Designer, Illustrator, and Art Director
Astrological Sign: Aquarius ♒︎
Meyers Briggs + Enneagram: ENFP (The Campaigner). I’ve never taken an official Enneagram test! Adding to my list.

1. You recently graduated from college. Congratulations! What did you study in school?

Thanks so much! It feels so good. I studied Graphic Design, Product Design, and a crash course in Living in a House with 6 Roommates.

2. What’s the most valuable lesson you took away from your college experience?

It’s tough to boil it down to one answer but the power of collaboration and sharing experiences comes to mind. The most important thing that my experience at the U gave me was meeting and working with so many people and perspectives that were different from mine. My favorite projects and classes happened when I was put into a group with people I didn’t know and who were not studying the same thing as me. I guess the lesson here is to listen to and observe anyone and everything in your life because there is so much to learn from their unique experiences and it can, I think, give you a better sense of your own self.

3. How did you get started working for W&D?

I got started here after a recommendation from my friend, classmate, and now roommate Francine! She was the Designer at Wit & Delight before me and told me about the open role when she left.  The opportunity at Wit & Delight came into my life at a really perfect time, actually. I had recently come back from a semester abroad and was really excited to jump headfirst into the Minneapolis design scene. 

4. You’re Wit & Delight’s Graphic Designer, Illustrator, and Art Director. What does your role with Wit & Delight entail?

I feel very lucky that my role here is constantly changing and adapting based on the projects that are happening, both internal and external. There is no one typical daily schedule for me! I touch most of the visual parts of our brand and platform—like choosing imagery on the blog, helping style photoshoots, creating editorial illustrations, designing campaign graphics, and doing a lot of marketing for Shop Wit & Delight.

5. We talk a lot at W&D about improving our habits and prioritizing the goals that matter most to us. What is one of your tried and true methods for managing your time and getting sh*t done?

I’ll admit that I’m still trying to figure a lot of this out, but planning out my day the night before—hour by hour and place by place has helped a lot. I do a lot of freelance and contract work outside of Wit & Delight and that has been really instrumental in trying to keep it all straight. I use this strategy mostly for work but will also use it to schedule workouts, grocery store trips, and time for myself when things get really hectic.

6. What does a typical workday look like for you (if typical even exists…)?

Typical definitely doesn’t exist but I have tried to implement some set times to get targeted tasks done to keep some order in place. On Monday mornings, I clean out my inbox and scroll through Pinterest, VSCO, and Instagram in search of imagery and inspo that I like. It doesn’t always get used but I stick the stuff I like into a folder for future reference—and it’s a nice and light transition into the week! Tuesdays and Wednesdays we have internal meetings so I usually dive headfirst into our top priority projects. This being said, any of those things can switch around when there are big shoots or launches happening. I’m always on my toes!

7. Tell us about an article on W&D that’s resonated most with you.

The first one that comes to mind is by Megan McCarty called A Complete Guide to Combating the Sunday Sads. We republished this post a couple of months ago right after the excitement and bliss that came with graduation wore off. I remember being confused about why it resonated with me so much and finding myself thinking, I love my job, why do I feel so anxious on Sundays..? But while reading it, I realized that it didn’t have anything to do with my actual job and was much more about how much pressure I was putting on myself as a fresh post-grad. I had a lot of fear and anxiety about not measuring up to expectations and letting people down and it all showed itself on Sundays. It was nice to read about how other people deal with some similar feelings. The journey is still a work in progress but this article was really influential in it. Also, Megan’s writing is always so delightful to read!

8. When you have free time on your hands, how do you spend it?

I really try and get outside whenever I can. I recently moved near the lakes in Minneapolis and have been loving biking over there to sit down with a book. This summer I loved using my new stand-up paddleboard, going brewery hopping, going thrift or vintage shopping, and spending nights sitting around campfires. When the cold months roll around I love to stay in and experiment in the kitchen, go out to see live music, and travel.

9. What advice would you give someone looking to pursue a career in graphic design?

It’s funny being asked this question as a person who is in search of an answer herself!! But some advice I would give upperclassmen in design is to find balance between brief-driven and play-driven design in school. School was a great time to experiment with self-directed projects and all the different paths that this field can take you on—editorial design, art direction, illustration, photography, branding, and marketing…I mean, the list goes on. But at the same time I think I could have been more prepared for the actual process that takes place when working with “real life” businesses. Good design solves problems and good designers wear many hats. The earlier students and young designers practice designing based on specific problems and motives, the better prepared they will be to work on a full team with clients, strategists, writers, producers, and other creatives. 

Be nice to yourself. We all make things we don’t like. Show people anyway. Talk about it, ask questions, and when things go wrong, give yourself mercy and move on. 

All of this, and also be nice to yourself. We all make things we don’t like. Show people anyway. Talk about it, ask questions, and when things go wrong, give yourself mercy and move on. 

10. Do you have a favorite self-care ritual you’d recommend?

As a self-proclaimed extroverted introvert (yes, I had to fact check that this is a real thing and yes, I relate to every single item on this list), I tend to recharge one of two ways: 1) by spending time with my people. I’m so lucky to have a few constants in my life—people who I can reach out to about everything or nothing and they would still be down to chat. Or 2) dropping everything to escape, alone, to somewhere with my version of perfect ambiance. When I feel off, I’ll grab some tea and read a book at a favorite coffee shop, or take a walk or a bike ride and listen to the birds right before sunset. 

11. What is something you are looking forward to?

I just booked a trip to Copenhagen for the end of the month! (Hot tip, you’re still considered a discounted youth flyer on SAS airlines until you’re 25!!!!) It’s been two years since I studied abroad there and I’m so excited to rediscover everything as an ~adult~ with a ~travel budget~. Things on the top of my list are reconnecting with my host family in the lovely neighborhood of Christianshavn, revisiting the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, shopping for all the mega-chic Danish fall fashion, and eating the best damn almond croissant I’ve ever had at Mirabelle Cafe in Nørrebro. Bon voyage!!

BY Jackie Saffert - October 15, 2019


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