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Student Highlights

Dustin Elston, Graphic Designer
10 Feb 2020
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Written By
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Military REACH Project Manager
Dustin Elston is a senior in the Environmental Design program at Auburn, and has been a member of the Military REACH Graphic Design team since November 2018. While working with REACH, he has been instrumental in making our research accessible because of his ability to quickly and accurately format text-heavy Research Reports and Research Summaries, available for viewing here.
Dustin’s ability to interpret our team’s complex, and oftentimes broad, visions and turn them into high-quality products is what has made him excel in his role; you can learn more about his time with REACH below. Additionally, Dustin has creatively contributed to numerous projects, such as revamping the monthly newsletter, creating flyers, designing t-shirts, and developing icons used for Research Reports and Military REACH branding. Dustin has been a steady contributor to the visual evolution of Military REACH, and our products are better because of his talent and commitment. We are grateful for the work that Dustin has done to mobilize research and promote family readiness through graphic design.

1. What drew you to the Military REACH project?

In short, graphic design. I didn’t know much about the project when I first started. That being said, it’s been awesome working with a team where we’re all focused on a common goal of educating military families. During my first full introduction to the entire REACH team, at our annual holiday party, it was obvious that everyone was there to lift each other up and to encourage each other to excel in every way, not just with work.

2. You are working towards your Master’s Degree in Landscape Architecture; at the surface, landscape architecture and graphic design seem disconnected. How do you think the worlds collide, and are you able to use any of your Military REACH graphic design skills in the world of landscape architecture?

They are very different, but at their very core, they’re both design fields. I use a lot of the same tools that I’ve learned in classes when working with Military REACH, so I have gotten to sharpen my design skills by working with REACH. I think the biggest impact REACH has had on me is my understanding of military families and the issues that affect them. I hope to be able to incorporate these new perspectives into my work in the future.

3. What REACH design task(s) have you enjoyed most? Are there any projects that you’re most proud of?

I think my favorite design tasks have been the ones where I’ve collaborated with someone else to help out with a project they’re working on. The dictionary project of Allison Tidwell, a REACH Undergraduate Researcher, showcases awesome collaboration among the full team, including myself. I’ve recently been working on designing images for dictionary terms that will further clarify the definitions for our readers.

An assignment I’m most proud of is the REACH flyers we pass out at different conferences and events. They’ve turned out really well, and the first time I saw how they looked when printed was exciting!

4. Do you have any advice for up-and-coming graphic designers?

There are a ton of resources (like forum posts, YouTube videos, and social media pages) out there to learn most programs. You can only get better by practicing, and the best way to learn to do something is by trying to do it. There are a lot of niches in the design industry, so it’s important to position yourself well and develop the right skills for you to be successful.

Students are an integral part of Military REACH because they provide our team with a new perspective, high-quality products, and invaluable assistance. Continue to look out for our Student Highlights, where we will feature students from our team and will highlight the contributions they have made not only to our team, but to the larger military community.

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