The prestigious design journal HOW has showcased Graphic Design graduate Stephanie Penland’s “New Life Thesis/A Woman-Centered Birth” in its September 2014 issue. Produced for her MFA while still a student, the project was conceived as a way to convey trustworthy information about pregnancy and childbirth to expectant mothers.

Penland, an online student who received her graduate degree in 2013, runs her own site and firm, Penland Design, with her husband. The site includes her design business, coffee, chocolate, screen printing and “a number of other fun projects we dabble in.”

The New Life project is a comprehensive source for what new mothers can expect from pregnancy to birth.

As a busy new mom herself, Penland appreciates the preparation her Academy education provided for her entry into the role of a professional designer. “My goal was to work from home so I could be a stay-at-home mom with a career,” she says. “This of course was not my initial goal, but having a baby in the middle of mid-point changed things.”

In her course and project work at the Academy, even falling short of perfection was valuable. “I learned that failure is only the next step in the learning process. Many times I had to ask myself ‘Why did I fail? What could I have done differently?’”

As a result, Penland notes, she developed a creative process that allows her to be “free and unafraid."

“I am exceedingly grateful for paying attention to the details and learning the specifics,” says Penland. “This sets me apart from ‘the designer next door’ and allows me to charge what I am worth…and back it up with what I produce.”

Tags: Graphic Design,  Alumni