Meet the judge: Reagan Branham

Bio: Reagan Branham has worked at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for the past seven years as a features and sports designer. Her work has been recognized in state-wide and international design competitions, including a Silver Medal from SND. She has been a facilitator for several years for SND, and was a news judge for the 2008 competition. Before moving to St. Louis, Reagan was a news designer for the Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

She caught up with us for a few questions before the contest started this morning.

COLLEGE: Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Ill.
WHAT SHE DID: “I worked for the student paper. I went in there on day one freshman year and started reporting and worked until the day I graduated. I did a little bit of everything in a small journalism program. Reporter, copy editor, columnist, and I eventually became managing editor and then editor.”
WHY SHE’S NOT A REPORTER: “This is how I knew I did not want to be a reporter: I think it was maybe my junior year, I was one of the top editors… and we had a cop in town get shot and so I went out to the hospital to get a quote from the family to call in to the paper… and I totally chickened out, I did not talk to the family. So I called in and I lied and said nobody would speak to me.”
COLLEGE DESIGN: “We used Quark. I’ve never done non-computerized design. I think the creative parts really appealed to me, coming up with solutions and getting all the pieces at the last minute and making those work.”
HER ADVICE: “One of my biggest regrets in college is not taking art classes. Working with non-journalism design students is a good thing. Take ad design or art classes,… it’s really good to expose yourself to that in college. I was working at the paper, so we all thought about newspaper design and that was design to us.”
WHY SHE LOVES FEATURES DESIGN: “It’s super creative, I love brainstorming stories that don’t just have a photo to design with, I love when I get to help art direct photos and be in the studio.” She likes “getting to do an illustration, drawing something. I’ve never had that kind of freedom before because I used to do sports and that’s deadline, much more straightforward.
TODAY: Regan said she’s nervous about judging with people watching- especially student designers whose work is out there. (We promised to be quiet!) “I’m happy to explain why I voted for something or not voted for something.”
FAVORITE FONT: “I’m not a font nerd. Boo to novelty fonts, though.”
ABOUT THE POST’S ACCENT COLOR, RED: “Any time I can change it, I’m gonna do it. But sometimes that’s the only color I know what it’s gonna look like- we have old presses, too.”


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