School of the Arts Graduate Now Works ‘Where Dreams Come True’
Behind all of the Disney magic is an army of creative individuals not just working hard but also working smart.
Caroline Hopper, an Art and Design graduate of the South Carolina School of the Arts at Anderson University, is a graphic designer for Marketing Partnerships & Promotions at The Walt Disney Company.
Disney World bills itself as the place “where dreams come true,” and working for Disney is truly a dream job for Hopper.
“I was always drawn to The Disney Company as a child, and as I grew older came to appreciate the artistry that goes into making a Disney film or theming of a Disney Park area or attraction,” said Hopper, adding that the “magic” is created by people who are dedicated to coming up with ideas to constantly amaze target audiences.
Hopper works with a creative team in Orlando, Florida, composed of talented artists and strategists who create and manage integrated partnerships with brands from all over the world.
“My role is to inspire the client with graphic visuals, mockups and videos. Since we work with so many different and great brands, my day-to-day responsibilities are always different,” Hopper said. “Some tasks you can find me clicking away at my computer include packaging mockups, environmental mockups, video editing, music mixing, sizzle video creation, marketing branding, logo design, promotional ads, brainstorm sessions and more. Once our team comes up with an idea for an integrated partnership and we provide the visual inspiration, we then pass the torch to Walt Disney Imagineering to bring these designs and ideas to life.”
Hopper noted that despite her team’s best efforts, some ideas don’t come to fruition. But she truly is gratified when a plan comes together. For example, she worked on a virtual trick-or-treating app for major candy company Mars and integrated that company’s app into Disney’s Haunted Mansion as a virtual treat shop, something for which she and a colleague designed the artwork.
“Seeing it printed on advertisement boards and interacting with my designs on the app made all the tough work worth it,” said Hopper, adding that she also enjoys “sneak peeks” of movies and other perks.
When she was in high school, Hopper felt drawn into art.
“Once I knew I was interested in art and had some talent in it, I took a class on every form of art I could get my hands on,” Hopper said. “I fell in love with graphic design in a 10th-grade digital art class and I have not looked back ever since.”
One of Hopper’s friends from church visited Anderson and told her about a campus tour she took. She decided to see for herself what her friend liked about AU, toured the campus and fell in love. When she enrolled, Hopper discovered in Anderson University an amazing art and design program that both pushed her and inspired her to be her best.
“Professors Dorn, Speaker, Dash and Gainey changed the way I viewed graphic design; they all taught me to work smarter, not harder, and to always be willing to expand my mind and skillset,” Hopper said. “The world of design moves fast and we have to move with it. Those challenging classes helped teach me that and prepared me for the fast-paced business world I work in now.”
Hopper also appreciates how Anderson University helped her in her faith journey.
“AU overall taught me how to be a kind and loving Christian. People definitely notice and can tell a difference in your character. You have no idea what one kind comment could mean to a person,” Hopper said. She also fondly remembers friendships forged as a student and learning to put self aside to support a friend or classmate.
While at Anderson University, Hopper applied for an internship at Disney and feels she landed in the right department.
“What was supposed to last six months turned into 10 months, which then turned into a full-time salaried offer in that same department. I’ve been at Disney for almost four years now and am so thankful and blessed by the experience I’ve had so far,” Hopper said.
Her advice to anyone considering a design or marketing career in the entertainment industry is to get to know the target audience, be immersed in the digital tools of the trade and be attentive to what’s happening within the company with an eye towards taking things to the next level. She recommends that individuals seek job opportunities at a company that aligns with their personal and creative passions.
“God placed art on my heart very early in life, and studying at AU only amplified my love for art and design in all forms,” Hopper said.