Growing up, many of us can’t wait to differentiate ourselves from our brothers and sisters.
But the Huston siblings not only share an interest, all three have chosen to pursue graphic design degrees at the NC State College of Design.
Rachael (BGD 2009), a Parks Scholar as an undergraduate, is now a master’s candidate; Riley, a Caldwell Fellow, is a senior; and Stephanie began this Fall as a first-year graphic design student.
Who knew that three children would all hone in on a singular discipline?
For the Hustons, it’s not so strange. Their family nurtured their early love of art, collecting excess lengths of blank newsprint from the local newspaper for their incessant drawing marathons. “I’d stand on the table and everyone else would take turns doing gesture drawings,” Rachael recalls.
Experimentation was encouraged.
“No one ever said, ‘Why would you draw a walking egg?’ They would just think it was innovative and funny,” Stephanie explains.
Outside their immediate family, all three credit art teacher Brenda Bostian at Kendall Davis High School in Gastonia, NC, for helping them develop their talents.
And if it seems highly unusual that their art talents were born from a mother and father who are a banker and engineer respectively, their children are quick to point out that their interests in design borrow from the proverbial left brain as well as the right:
- Rachael is interested in design and cognition studies and has always preferred the problem solving aspect of her design education best of all.
- Riley is delving into technology and interactivity. Last year he developed a plan for an iPhone application that helps students learn biology.
- Stephanie, though new in her journey, thinks she’ll be looking to design as a way to develop educational tools as well.
During the 2008-2009 academic year when Rachael was earning her bachelor’s degree in graphic design, she and Riley would visit each other at their studio desks. “We’d swap ideas all the time, seeing what the other person was up to,” says Riley.
Stephanie does find it intimidating that her siblings have accomplished so much ahead of her, “but it’s great for me because they are really inspiring and can show me different directions, so I can choose what’s best for me.”
Design critique—so important for designers to learn and improve—is easier to bear when it comes from your own flesh and blood, says Rachael.
“We’re especially close for siblings and especially honest with each other. There is a trust level. When you know the bottom line is you love each other and will do anything for each other, critiques on projects are a non-issue.”
Housemates again, Rachael and Riley plan to collaborate more closely than ever. “It’s a conversation starter, but it doesn’t seem unique to me,” says Rachael. “We’ve always been making things together and living together.”
Riley imagines a time when all three of them can collaborate as design professionals. “I think it would be really cool to work on some really big project together.”
All three say they are excited that what they are studying can make a difference in others’ lives.
It just happens to be an enthusiasm they can share during family holidays, too.
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