Jon Meilike, BADAS 2004, is a Senior Visual Designer at Epic Games. He has worked as a web, interface, and game designer since 2000. His specialties include UI/UX design, motion graphics, graphic design, coordinating, scripting, tools design, branding, and marketing.
In what ways did your Digital Arts and Sciences experience prepare you for your career?
It was a nice blend of art fundamentals and computer science, but I think it kicked in that we also learned from each other, our fellow students. I learned scripting, motion, I focused on a lot. That served me well — the blend of technology and art together has helped me in my career as a user interface artist, and now I’m in marketing and branding. Overall, the dedication and amount of work it takes to execute a project creatively and learn how to help each other.
What do you like about your current career?
Right now, I work at Epic Games, where we’re leading with a lot of new technologies and working with some super talented people. So working collaboratively with talented people, some pretty big brands and games, is awesome. I’ve been doing this for 16 years and worked at three studios, and I still love putting out new games and experiences for people to enjoy. But now, it’s more about contributing to new technologies and trying to move the needle on what’s possible in games or creatively as a whole. I enjoy making tools for others to help make their lives easier while working as artists to make them as creative as possible. The game industry and Epic have allowed me to do that.
What are some of your favorite memories from when you were in the program?
Making crazy videos. We made a lot of group videos that were just awesome, and it taught us [students] a lot about what it means to make them, about the software, process, and creative freedom of student work. Like, you have carte blanche of doing whatever, whenever you want. But then you also realize you still have to make something awesome at the end of the day.
What advice would you give to current students?
Find and promote the work-school-art creative culture you want to be a part of. Every studio, every career shift has had a distinctly different culture, and it was a large part of why I made the shift. Find the best parts of each and promote it as much as possible — a healthy environment where you can be heard and seen as a creative artist is key. On top of that, I would say to never stop learning, because things are always changing. The fundamentals are timeless, but continuing to learn soft skills, like how to better communicate creative visions and execute them as a team.