For this edition of Bouvier Kelly Q&A, we’re talking with our Art Director, Evelyn Cook. From design to baked goods, Evelyn can really do it all. Keep reading to learn more about her career and taste in movies and music.
BKI: Where did you grow up?
Evelyn: Well, I was born in upstate New York, and I lived there for about 10 years. Then my dad’s job brought us down to Claremont/Hickory, North Carolina. Then I moved into the Greensboro area to go to UNCG in 1998. And I’ve lived here and Winston, back and forth since I graduated.
BKI: You said you bounced between here and Winston-Salem, so have you worked in both cities?
Evelyn: Yeah, after graduation, I worked for the American Cancer Society and the YMCA doing fundraising and event planning for them. And while I was with the YMCA, I had to work a lot with the design agency on the creative materials for the campaigns. I just really fell in love with the process. I’ve always gravitated more towards the arts, so I decided to go back to GTCC and get my design degree and then jobs after that led me to Greensboro. So back and forth.
BKI: Can you tell me a little more about your family?
Evelyn: I have four older siblings. I’m the youngest. I have two brothers and two sisters.
My parents have been married for over 50 years. My two sisters, they live up north. One in New Jersey, one in Iowa, and they both have a girl and a boy each. So I have nieces and nephews. My brothers, they live around here. One lives in Durham, the other in Hickory, and my parents live in Kannapolis. So at least I have a few close relatives around. But yeah, it was a good upbringing. You know, the antics of children, and being the youngest in the family.
BKI: What did your parents do?
Evelyn: My mom was a nurse, but then transitioned over to being a stay-at-home mom because my dad traveled a lot. Honestly just having a dog, I always tell her now, “I’m not even sure how you managed five kids,” you know?
But my dad worked in the business realm. A lot with fiber optic cable technology and stuff. And he now works for the Bank of America doing their ATM processes. He loves to work. He’s almost 80 and still working. We’re like, “Dad just retire,” but he loves it. That’s his life.
BKI: I know you bake and recently even got into cookie decoration, but tell me about your hobbies.
Evelyn: Baking, I would say, is my main hobby. My mom, being a stay-at-home mom, baked a lot. And so being the youngest and at home with her, I just gravitated towards it. It’s a big stress relief. I find baking is a creative outlet in a different way, you know, like you’re using different kinds of materials, but you’re still creating something artistic in my opinion. I call it edible art. So I love baking. I did have an Etsy shop for a while selling invitations and prints.
BKI: What does that entail?
Evelyn: That’s the kind of design I like. I like pretty design, girly design, I guess you could call it. But it’s a lot of work, and I put it on vacation. It’s not closed or anything. With the pandemic and all the shipping issues and stuff, I just didn’t feel like getting yelled at for a $5 card that didn’t arrive. You know what I’m saying? So it was just a little too much stress, but I still have it. I’ve considered opening it up and maybe doing a mix of tea towels and kitchen stuff to coincide with my baking hobby, as well as some printable kind of things.
Also, my husband and I love to travel. Of course with the pandemic, that’s put a lot of it on hold, so we just try to do quick trips here and there. I’m big into physical activity. I love yoga and I loved running, but I’m suffering from some injuries right now that prevent me from doing that, but that’s a huge part of my life. Just exercise in general, staying healthy.
My husband, Jason, and I have been married. We just celebrated seven years in early October. We have a little doggy named Magda. She’s a shih tzu. She’s super spoiled, we love her to death.
BKI: Where did the name Magda come from?
Evelyn: Her full name is Magdalene. It came from a song by Alex Ebert, who is the lead singer of Edward Sharp. Edward Sharp is how he’s mostly known, but it’s from his solo album, there’s a song on there that says, “Oh, Magdalene, I love you. You think I’m insane,” And so I’m always like, you know, she probably does think I’m a little insane because I’m always like talking to her, telling her I love her and stuff. So that’s how the name came about. Also, I like old people names like for pets. I don’t know. I just think they’re fun. I’m writing down other names, so when we get other dogs, I’ll have a list of potential old people names.
BKI: You mentioned you enjoy traveling. Where are some of your favorite places you’ve traveled?
Evelyn: Oh my, this is a hard question. I would say it was a tie between Ireland and Iceland. Both incredible experiences, vastly different in what we did, but both are incredible. Also skiing out west— top-notch. I don’t think I’m one of those bougie people that say stuff like, “once you ski out west, you’ll never want to see east again.” But they’re so right. It’s just a different experience. Like the snow is so soft and fluffy. The trails just are endless, like you could ski on the same trail for an hour. I would say those were probably the top. If I had to pick a location out west—Telluride. Just insanely beautiful out there. The people were cool. The town is like walking into a Western movie.
BKI: In addition to skiing, what are some physical activities you’re into?
Evelyn: Running, although I haven’t been able to run in almost two years. Yoga, hot yoga, especially. I absolutely love hot yoga, although with the pandemic, I haven’t been because I just cannot wear a mask during that. So I do yoga at home. We like to casually bike, like the Greenway, my husband and I. When we go to Hilton Head, we just ride our bikes everywhere.
We have a spin bike at home, so I do spinning. Lift weights, just your basic kind of stuff. I like to swim. I was swimming laps a lot, like a couple of years ago, but I canceled my gym membership just because I was basically just paying for the pool and it’s so expensive. I wish they would just sell a pool pass.
BKI: What did you want to be when you were growing up?
Evelyn: Oh man. Everything from a veterinarian to an actress, which blows my mind now because I’m so introverted and have really bad social anxiety. Like I said, I always loved art. In fact, it’s funny that I am a designer because I took all the art classes I could in high school.
At UNCG, I wanted to go into graphic design, but they were just starting their program when I was going there and they didn’t have it filled out or figured out. And so basically they said I would have to go for an art degree and maybe take a few design classes. And my parents thankfully paid for my education, but I knew going to my dad and saying, “I’m going to major in art,” he would be like, “Sorry, no.”
BKI: So what was your major?
Evelyn: It was public health education because it kind of combined my interest in marketing and design with health, which I was also interested in. That’s kind of what led me to the American Cancer Society because I interned with the American Cancer Society. But I never really got to use that degree because I worked more on their fundraising stuff. So I always liked art, but you know, growing up, I thought maybe nursing too, because I took some medical classes. They had this assistant nursing program in my high school where you could basically get your CNA license after graduation. I’m glad I did that because like my senior year, you actually worked in a facility and that is not me. Bodily fluids and stuff like that are not meant for me. I couldn’t do it. I admire the nurses that are doing it daily.
BKI: What are some of your favorite aspects of your job at Bouvier Kelly?
Evelyn: I’ve had the opportunity as a designer to work both in-house and at an agency, which I think is a wonderful experience for a designer because you get to figure out what you like most. There’s positives and negatives to both. The positive with working with an in-house design is you’re constantly on that one brand. And so, you know the brand standards and the design in and out, but that’s also a negative because you can’t really expand out, you’re stuck in that box.
So I think I like agency life a little bit better because you get a mix of everything, especially here with the different clients that we have and the demands that they have. One day you could be working on print, which sadly is a dying form of communication because that’s my favorite part of design— print design. Then you work on digital. I’ve been able to learn a lot about how web stuff works, which is important to grow.
This agency I really like based on the work-life balance, because I have friends that have worked for agencies where it’s lots of long nights and weekends almost all the time. I think that Bouvier Kelly has found that good balance, where you put in the hours that are needed, but most of the time it’s an 8-5 kind of thing, which is really important for me and I think for everybody. I need that because it helps with my creativity, because if I’m constantly bogged down with stuff, I can’t think, you know?
I also had the opportunity to work with Phillip at another agency. He is by far—and I’m not just saying this because it’s being recorded—by far one of the best creative directors I’ve worked with. He’s very patient and he’s laid back at the same time, and he allows the people that he’s working with to think for themselves. Some creative directors are like, “Do it this way,” but he’s not like that.
BKI: What are some of your favorite projects that you’ve worked on here?
Evelyn: The Rockingham County logo and brochure. By far my favorite thing I’ve done. The committee at Rockingham was very open to ideas, which is rare, especially with government-related projects. What they have to offer really helped with the whole design process, you know, the whole outdoor kind of stuff. So the logo came together really nicely. It shows all aspects of what that county has in a small, little piece of art. And then the brochure, it was just a lot of creative thinking because it was a mix of professional photography along with lesser quality images. So to figure out a way to utilize both in a creative way really allowed me to think outside of the box with a collage type of thing, and collage is just so artistic and fun, you know, piecing different elements together. And they were really open to it, which is awesome.
So that was a good one. I really enjoyed working with the Burlington downtown project, cause it was a fun, hip, cool design. Then the UNCG magazine. That was good. One, it was my Alma Mater. Two, I haven’t worked a lot with heavy brand standards. Most of our clients do have brand standards, but with UNCG, you had to use their fonts, their colors, and certain ways that it should be laid out. And that’s a challenge to design something creative with a box. So it was a good learning experience.
BKI: How has your position changed over the years? You mentioned print has faded out, but what are some other developments or trends you’ve noticed?
Evelyn: I guess the biggest change was just going from working five years in the in-house creative— mainly focused on print because they did a lot of catalogs—and then shifting over here and having such a variety of clients and different needs. And like you said, just the digital aspect. I’ve worked on a lot more digital here at Bouvier Kelly, because at Market America, I was on solely the print team. It was called print publication and then they had a separate digital team. So I wasn’t exposed to digital. So here just doing web banners, learning a little bit of web design from Matt [Smith] and stuff.
I don’t know. It hasn’t been like a dramatic shift in any way. I think it’s just like the demands of the work have been different in the past 10 years.
BKI: Moving away from the professional questions, what are some of your favorite movies or TV shows?
Evelyn: I’m more of a TV person. You know, the reason I’m more of a TV person is because sadly, I can’t sit still. I have to get up every now and then. So committing to a two-hour movie is hard for me. But it’s funny that I say that, because then if I start a TV show, I can binge it for like four hours, you know? It makes no sense. But that’s a hard one because there’s so much TV out there.
I can tell you what I’m watching right now. I just started the second season of The Morning Show, I liked that. Succession—I love that show. Chicago Med, I just binged all of Chicago Med. I don’t really like network TV, but for some reason I got sucked into it. Also your classics like Dexter, Breaking Bad, etc.
Great British Baking Show, it’s just a delight to watch. The Vampire Diaries, I’m a huge fan of Vampire Diaries. I watched the whole season when it was out, and then during the pandemic rewatched all ten seasons, it’s crazy.
BKI: What are some of your favorite movies?
Evelyn: Movie-wise, I like scary movies. My husband does not, so I have my go-to scary movie watching friends and I go to their house and I watch scary movies with them. My all-time favorite one is The Strangers with Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman. Oh my God. It still bothers me.
BKI: Who are some of your favorite musical artists? What kind of genres do you listen to mainly?
Evelyn: I don’t like to box myself in with music because there’s so much good stuff, you know? But if I had to pick a certain type of music, I would say probably indie. A lot of Del Ray—love her. I like My Morning Jacket, they just came out with a new album, which is really, really good. What are some other bands I like? Of monsters and men. The Fruit Bats.
My husband likes bluegrass, so I have landed into bluegrass more and more over the years and I’m really liking Billy strings lately. Then I like my pop, when I work out and stuff, like Brittany. (Hashtag Free Brittany). I like her and then just your general indie pop.
BKI: If you could eat dinner with anyone—dead or alive—who would it be?
Evelyn: I think it would be a tie between Dolly Parton and Mindy Kaling. I love Dolly Parton. She is just so generous and fun, so full of life and experience, you know? And then, then Mindy Kaling, and I just love her. God, she’s amazing.