March Designer Spotlight: Cristin Yoder

Cristin is the Creative Director for AIGA Pittsburgh as well as a Graphic Designer with Eat’n Park Hospitality Group and a Freelance Animator/Designer. Cristin’s love of art started before her love of virtually anything else. Stories, music, cooking, design … she knew early on that somewhere in the creative field is where she would find her home. While her childhood consisted of paintings and marker drawings (with the plastic art kits that any creative child of the late 90s/early 2000s still has nightmares about), she was blessed to have a family who encouraged her to take art classes to refine her fine art skills from elementary school onward. Eventually, she was selected for her high school’s studio art program which fed perfectly into her plan to spend as many of her high school class periods doing art instead of doing anything else.

While it felt like an organic next step to pursue art in college, it was quite a difficult decision. As a first generation college student, using this opportunity to pursue art felt like a risky, borderline irresponsible choice. The stigma, which to a certain extent still exists today, towards working artists and art careers was an intimidating factor to try to justify. After applying to 3 colleges & committing to 1 for Psychology, she had a last minute (2-week-before-college) change of heart to major in Animation.

Up to this point Cristin had mastered pen & paper. She had never owned a laptop or an iPad, and the “family computer” was a 2003 Dell dialup desktop. Her first day of college when the professor asked everyone to open Photoshop she was seriously considering if it was too late to switch back to Psychology. But this new space was exciting, eye opening, inspiring… the mentors she met during this period helped shape a new confidence in herself and her skills. Through college she had the opportunity to be on film sets, direct commercials, hang out with animators in LA, hang out with artists in PGH, see all sorts of different studios and careers, have lots of failures and lots of wins. This phase drew a clear line between where she was and where she wanted to be, and how that line could constantly recalibrate or be totally erased and redrawn. There was space for everybody and everybody had space to explore.

From college, Cristin interned at Animal Inc, began freelancing as a music video animator and eventually got her first full time job as an Apparel Designer in South Carolina. After moving back home to Pittsburgh at the end of 2021, Cristin quickly recalibrated again & jumped into her next role as Graphic Designer for Eat’n Park Hospitality Group which ultimately found her at AIGA in 2023. Her advice to anyone entering the creative field is: It’s a blessing to get to work in this world and exciting to see how many ways there are still ahead to grow. Have the confidence to navigate this space with your head held high. Don’t take yourself too seriously – lucky for us we’re not brain surgeons, we’re artists. Take something from each moment, enjoy the ride, and have fun. ~