By Amanda Eggert EBS Staff Writer
Outlaw Partners added graphic designer Carie Birkmeier to its creative team in March, and she’s working on logo and advertising design, and layouts for Outlaw’s publications: Explore Big Sky newspaper, as well as Mountain Outlaw and Explore Yellowstone magazines.
Birkmeier, 24, said she’s always been artistically inclined. Her focus shifted from ink drawing and watercolor painting in high school to digital representations in college. She majored in graphic communications at Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Mich., where she learned “big picture” elements of visual communication, like collaborating with clients to tell the story of their brand.
“[I enjoy] getting to know a business to the point where you can perfectly represent them in a design,” Birkmeier said.
She appreciates design on a finer scale, too – Birkmeier says she often finds herself critiquing the visual elements of her everyday life. “I’ll call out a font if I recognize it. It’s kind of nerdy of me, but it happens.”
After graduation from NMU, Birkmeier devoted a year to another passion: cooking. She was in the first graduating class of The Les Cheneaux Culinary School, a program named after its home on an archipelago of islands in Michigan’s eastern Upper Peninsula.
“[Cooking] is another creative outlet for me,” she said. “I like being creative with flavors … and moving around [the kitchen], releasing energy in that way.”
Shortly after finishing Les Cheneaux’s small program – there were eight students in her class – Birkmeier moved to Big Sky with her college roommate and Ernie, her 2-year-old standard poodle/golden retriever mix.
She lined a job as a chef at Big Sky’s Rainbow Ranch while she was still in culinary school. After several months of cooking on the line at an often-hectic clip, she decided she wanted a change of pace and was excited to find a design job in Big Sky.
Since joining Outlaw, Birkmeier has worked on a logo for Big Sky Community Organization (formerly BSCC), layouts and ad design for Explore Yellowstone, and an infographic on climate change (see page TK). She also called upon her culinary expertise to write the review of Michaelangelo’s Ristorante Italiano appearing on page TK.
“All of the projects that have been thrown at me have been super diverse,” she said of her time at Outlaw to date.
For inspiration, Birkmeier regularly surfs Dribbble, a website billed as “show and tell for designers.”
She said she’s enjoyed hitting Big Sky Resort’s slopes and is looking forward to exploring new aquatic pursuits in nearby rivers and lakes.
Her family has a cottage on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, 40 minutes from the Canadian border. She learned to sail on Lake Huron and started racing competitively when she was 14.
This will be the first summer Birkmeier, who was born and raised in Delphos, Ohio, won’t spend at the family cottage.
In lieu of sailing, Birkmeier already has her eye on a substitute water activity: fly fishing.