Meet Graphic Designer Karissa Tolliver

Meet Graphic Designer Karissa Tolliver

Tolliver is a force to be reckoned with

Karissa Tolliver is a 22-year old Integrated Marketing Communication major and visual design studies minor attending Winthrop.

A native of Lugoff, SC she has been doing this for six years. She tells me it is her hobby passion and career all in one.

Check out her Q/A below:

Shakora Bamberg: Tell me a little about yourself and about your role at Winthrop including any leadership roles you have held thus far as a student at WU.

Karissa Tolliver: I've always had a passion for creativity. I've learned design skills and software since 10th grade in high school. I realized that I might actually have a gift when I placed 3rd in a national student design competition my 11th-grade year and was awarded $1,000. My work was displayed at a graph expo in Chicago.

I spent 2 years as DSU's graphic designer. I was the layout editor for the RMR. I've displayed my art at a few events on campus like A. Bevy's black history event and Winthrop Black Girls Rock event.

Currently, I am Visible's graphic designer.

SB: Of, all the roles what has shaped you into a better young artist?

KT: DSU shaped me into a better professional, I learned how to work under strict deadlines and collaborate with other people's ideas. I also made lifelong friendships with people that I've met through DSU.

SB: When did you realize you wanted to go into this field of study where did this passion come from?

KT: Being an IMC major, I've learned a lot about advertising and using different strategies to get your product/service out there. I've used skills I've learned in my IMC classes to promote my products on social media, updating my website and also I made a commercial promotional video.

I always knew I had artistic ability since I was little. I always loved to draw since being a little kid and when I was around 7 or 8 my dad taught me how to use Microsoft Paint and it took off from there. I was constantly making digital art from elementary school and on. My parents even kept a book of all of my early Paint drawings but I have no idea where it is now lol. But yeah that's where it all started.

SB: Tell me about the inspiration that comes with creating your graphics what have customers said about your work?

KT: The inspiration for my work comes from the things that I love and are passionate about. I might either feel the need to express my love for a certain public figure or feel the need to make a statement. My customers have said that they love it and they're always ready to see what I'm going to create next.

SB: Social media accounts for potential customers to purchase or view your work?

KT: Website:

Instagram: @ktolliverdesign

I now sell my work on Redbubble.

The direct link to it is on the website under "shop."

SB: Basic prices for your graphics and art?


Logos are $60-$70 depending on what it is

Flyers are $30

Minimalist portraits are $20

Invitations are $30

The prices of the products vary and can be found on my site

SB: Favoritequote?

KT: I have a lot of favorite quotes but I think the one I like the most right now is

"Your value does not decrease based on someone's inability to see your worth." _Unknown

I made a poster with that quote because I loved it so much.

SB: Who has been your biggest influence?

KT: My graphic design teacher in high school has influenced me. He was the one that taught me all of this and he was the one who made me realized that I had a gift. She showed tough love and wasn't afraid to tell you that your work sucked. That meant a lot to me because if he did like something I created, that means he genuinely liked it. He's also the one that entered me in the design competition. influence?

SB: Has this business venture paid off thus far?

KT: This business venture has definitely paid off. I never thought my life would be this way. I've been doing graphic design for years and I've always known I had talent. But just recently I made the decision to capitalize and take full advantage of it. I'm so glad I did.

SB: What is one piece of advice you can give to college students who are interested in starting a business or company:

KT: Keep your studies at the top of your priorities. It’s easy to get lost into working on your business especially when the money starts coming in but remember that school still comes first. Find a good balance.

SB: What advice do you have for women who are entering the same work profession as you?

KT: Some people won’t take you seriously. They'll give you that “oh that’s cute you have a little website” kind of tone. Just be confident in yourself and your abilities. Know yourself and prove them wrong.

SB: What are your long-term career goals?

KT: My long term goal is to own a design firm but to also continue creating products on a larger scale. I definitely want a team of people to be a part of this.

As well as an online apparel and print store paired with it. I want the products in the store to be created by the designers working at my firm.

I would honestly like to develop a team to expand the business. Like another designer, a marketing person, a financial person, something like that. I can only do so much as one person and I think the opportunities would be endless if I could bring other people into it. My goal is to bridge a gap between graphic design and culture.

SB: When do you do your best work as it relates to your business? How do you get better at your craft?

KT: My creative juices always seem to flow better late at night. That’s when I’m most into my work. My best designs are always completed around 3 or 4 a.m. I can’t sleep until it’s perfect. I just look for new techniques and new ways to broaden my talents. If I see a cool design or artwork I try to mimic it or remix it in my own way.

SB: Who is your favorite artist?

KT: I don't really have one, however, my friend Devon Ford who also attends Winthrop is really talented and I am a fan of his work.

Check out his Instagram: builtfordtuff94

SB: What is an interesting thing that you have been able to do?

KT: I've recently founded an organization dedicated to the young people at my church, I started a committee that focuses on community service and spiritual growth for youth. It is just getting started but I'm excited to see how I will be able to impact the lives of young Christians.

SB: What is one thing that you love about Winthrop and why did you choose Winthrop?

KT: I’ve always loved Winthrop’s campus. It’s cozy and beautiful and it just feels like home.

Who runs the world? GIRLS.

Tolliver is a young rising graphic designer who is just getting started. Stay tuned there's more coming from this budding entrepreneur.

Cover Image Credit: Karissa Tolliver

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How Speed Dating Helped Me In A Class Where I Knew No One

In most classes, the first day (or few days) is mainly for reviewing and studying the syllabus, but clearly my professor had something a little bit more untraditional in mind.

Upon the beginning of a new semester, the start of new classes means there are a lot of new people to meet.

At my university in particular, our community is huge (40,000 undergrad), and we all have had many enormous lecture halls where it is basically impossible to get to know every single person in the room. However, there are certain classes where the amount of students is significantly downsized, and different types of students will have different reactions to this.

When I arrived on my first day of English-15 class (the required English class for every student in attendance at the university), the initial moments were awkward and somewhat nerve-racking. As I sat in my seat surrounded by 22 unknown faces, my professor instructed that we were going to play a game. In most classes, the first day (or few days) is mainly for reviewing and studying the syllabus, but clearly my professor had something a little bit more untraditional in mind.

My professor then said that we were going to be “speed-dating” with others in our class. I had always thought that the term “speed-dating” was to be used in a romantic sense only, and in my eyes, the classroom was not the appropriate place for this. As we were quickly organized to sit face-to-face with complete strangers, I was all of a sudden intrigued.

For twelve rounds, we were given about three minutes to talk to each of our classmates. While about half of the time allotted was filled by obligatory small-talk (i.e. where the other person is from, what they plan to study, how old they are), the other half of each conversation continually turned into something different each time I spoke with someone new.

I talked about many different topics of varying importance and seriousness, but the interesting part was that I created these conversations with people I had never even seen prior to the start of class that day.

Although it was nine o’clock in the morning and I would have usually left class feeling sleepier than when I arrived, this first day of class was far from what I expected and I felt energized by the end of it. Although it was difficult to keep track of what I talked about and with whom I talked about it, speed dating largely improved the dynamic of the classroom and made the situation a lot less awkward than most first-day-experiences I had previously been a part of.

Although talking to strangers has its way of making some people feel initially uncomfortable, it really is the most efficient way to break the ice among students.

As educators of all different levels are actively creating new teaching methods for this generation of students, being a student myself, I feel as though the beginning of academic success begins with comfort inside of the classroom. Although the terms “speed-dating” and “learning” don’t traditionally go together in an academic sense, they helped create a pleasant environment in our classroom that will ultimately motivate me to feel comfortable around my peers and my professor alike.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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I Rented My Textbooks From Chegg And I Saved Hundreds

Say Goodbye to overpriced books, and say hello to cheap ones!

Textbooks have to be one of the worst parts of college. I love to learn, I love my classes, but I hate the textbooks that come with them. It has nothing to do with the content, but the price tag.

In college, you pay a ridiculous amount of money for textbooks because professors either have you buy the newest edition where there isn't a rental or used book to purchase, they make it available only in an E-book format, or they have you buy the textbook that comes with an additional $100 access code just so you can do your homework. It's stressful and ridiculous and I always find myself spending over $200 for textbooks each semester. Yeah, not per year, per SEMESTER.

This semester, I decided to take a little more action when it came to my books. Instead of ordering my books through the school bookstore, I did some research. I tried Amazon, but they were about the same price as the bookstore if not more at times.

So, I scratched that off my list. Then, I turned to buying used books from other students. It worked with a couple books, but a lot of people didn't have the version of the book I was looking for or were also selling it for a ridiculous price. With only two of the six textbooks I needed in hand, I was at a loss for what to do next. Then, I heard about this website called Chegg. I actually stumbled upon it while looking on Pinterest for "Cheap College Textbooks." I had always heard of Chegg, but I always figured it was too complicated and chose to never use it.

Let me tell you, that was stupid. I looked up the three books I needed and the total price for the three of them had my jaw dropping. My total came out to $85, which was the price of just one of my books at the bookstore.

Below my total, Chegg told me I was saving over $200. Can you believe that?! On top of that? They also offered me free shipping and it would be in my hands in 2-3 days. Also, instead of having to return my books the last week of school, I had a whole extra month to do it. I mean, I probably won't need that long, but hey, life happens sometimes and you forget!

They also send you a label to print off and you just have to pack the books up and ship them off! No return lines, no waiting, just returning your books on your own time.

There are also many other features to Chegg that include free E-books of the textbook you just rented, study tips, and lessons that go along with the books you rented. It really helps when it comes time for homework and tests!

There is a Chegg App that you can download to keep track of your orders and you can also use it for some of these features and to sell some of your own books that you might have!

One last thing that made me just fall in love with Chegg is that when I opened my box, it had a bunch of free goodies inside! There was a sample bag of tide pods, a coupon for MORE tide pods (I can never get enough of those honestly), gum, some coupons and even some gift cards that could be used for cute things for my room and also for some meals! It was just a really nice thing to find because it made me feel like more than just a college student trying to get cheap books.

It actually made me feel like a real person. That may sound odd, but it's true! By them just putting in something extra in my box, it helped eased my stress and mind about all the book troubles I had and it showed me that the people who work at Chegg actually care. They could have just sent my rental books, but they took the extra mile, and I think that's what every textbook rental place should be doing. I ordered my textbooks from Chegg and I'm telling you, I'm never using any other rental place.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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