November 9, 2018
I fell in love with graphic design in a high school art class. After visiting App State, I knew this was the graphic design program I was meant to pursue. After graduating in 2010, I set out to find the perfect job. After a two year stint at an entry-level job in Charlotte, I felt the urge to travel and experience more of this beautiful world. I left my web design job in Charlotte in 2012, spent 4 months living in Copenhagen, Denmark while traveling through Europe, and then landed in San Francisco, the design capital of the United States.
Once there, I quickly landed a job as the lead designer and webmaster at a nonprofit Shakespeare theater in Berkeley. This was a wonderfully creative role in which I got to use my design knowledge and creativity to create show posters for the different plays each season. It was in this role that I met my current business partner and also had my work published for the first time. The poster I designed for A Winter’s Tale was selected and published in a book titled Presenting Shakespeare: 1,100 Posters From Around The World.
Even though this job was exciting and fulfilling, I still felt this gnawing desire to become a full-time freelancer and someday run my own business. After a little over three years living in the Bay area, the opportunity arose to move to Atlanta, Georgia. With the cost of living being so much cheaper in Georgia than San Francisco, I knew it was the right time to start my own business. My husband and I packed up our 600 sq. foot apartment, bought a van, and started driving back to the East Coast, making many, many stops along the way.
Once I was settled in Atlanta, I started building my business. It’s been four years ago now and I currently run two successful graphic design and branding businesses. I own my personal design business, Callie Cullum Design, as well as my other branding business, The Look & The Feel, with my business partner, friend from the theater, business coach, and writer, Shelly Jackson Buffington. Together we provide small businesses and entrepreneurs with full-service branding and website design.
I love working in collaboration with like-minded creatives and entrepreneurs, and being able to give them the visual identity to set them up for success is what drives my ambition. I work mainly with health and wellness industries as well as outdoor and adventure brands. I believe that this niche was discovered during my time living in such a beautiful place as Boone and spending time outdoors. Word is spreading quickly and this past year I’ve been featured on Neil Howe’s Radio Show, Expert Profiles and published in VoyageATL.
As we begin to close out 2018, I’m preparing to hire my first employee, and I’m so excited for what the future holds for my design career. I feel so blessed that I was able to make my dreams into my reality and I have my design education at Appalachian to thank for that.
Callie Cullum, Class of 2010