Jennifer Bethel has always dreamed of owning a design firm. Like many, Jennifer has worked hard to bring life to her dream; however, Jennifer’s journey has been quite unique as she was born with a rare visual disability called ocular albinism.
Jennifer’s visual disability was so severe that she was declared legally blind at the age of one. Rather than shying away from activities that required a greater intensity on her eyes, Jennifer flocked to all types of creative endeavors; from painting, drawing and working with clay, to ballet and tap. It was clear that Jennifer would grow to be an artist.
An artist she certainly become. Jennifer attended Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) where she graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelors of Fine Art (BFA) in graphic design. Upon graduating, Jennifer was hired as a graphic designer where her most significant roles included the design and development of marketing collateral, branding, and all aspects involved with event design.
During her time at this firm, Jennifer was nominated for the prestigious Woman of the Year award by WJLA ABC 7, and won the following awards: the Communicator Award by the International Academy of Visual Arts (IAVA), Who’s Who of Virginia, the Design for the Environment Contest by Neenah Papers, and the Summit Competition for Technical Communication by the Society of Technical Communications.
Most recently, Jennifer served as Senior Art Director for a well-known advertising advocacy firm where she was able to work with major corporations, non-profit organizations, political think tanks, and political leaders. As the Senior Art Director, Jennifer served in a variety of capacities while working for this firm, but at the most basic level, she designed, developed, produced and managed a variety of campaigns within the print, television and digital spaces.
Some of the most recent awards Jennifer has won include: the Rising Star Award by Politics magazine (Jennifer is the first Art Director to win this award), numerous Pollie Awards by the American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC), the Summit Creative Award (SCA) by the Summit International Awards (SIA) organization, and Roll Call Newspaper’s Top Three Award. In addition to these accolades, some of Jennifer’s work has received national media attention. PBS produced a special that focused on a campaign that Jennifer designed, developed, and launched for Vanderbilt Community Alliance. Even Jon Stewart and Howard Stern have recognized campaigns to which Jennifer has contributed.
After working so closely with the AAPC for the last several years, Jennifer was recently nominated to join its Board of Directors for the Mid-Atlantic Chapter and Jennifer happily accepted.
If you ask Jennifer if there is a specific book or piece of literature which provides her with the greatest source of inspiration, she will quickly explain why Communication Arts magazine serves as her design bible and is always on her coffee table. Jennifer also relies heavily on fashion for inspiration. Colors, materials, textures, and angles all provide Jennifer with new and unique ideas.
Jennifer also realizes the profound influence of the many people who’ve helped to nurture her artistic talents at a young age and therefore, she is spending time volunteering with local youth to help them discover and develop their own artistic abilities. Jennifer has found one youth in particular who is showing promising signs of becoming a future artist – her little boy Connor, who was born in September 2010.