TEXAS TECH GRADUATE SPOTLIGHT: ELIZABETH CUSTY
by Sara Krueger, photos by Riannon Rowley • October 2012
Nearly four years ago, Elizabeth Custy was figuring out a new course of study after she did not get into Texas Tech University’s School of Art’s communication design program. Today, she credits the College of Media & Communication with paving her path to success.
Custy is a Fall 2011 advertising graduate from Lubbock. Upon graduation she moved to Austin, Texas, and joined Ted Cruz’s race for United States Senate as a graphic designer. Custy said working in politics is different from other communications careers.
“Turnaround time is so much faster in politics,” Custy said. “You have to be really mindful of accuracy.”
Custy is familiar with most of what is thrown at her in the communications industry because she took advantage of many opportunities during her time at Texas Tech. She worked for the university’s newspaper, the yearbook, and internal communications. She also ran a winning student government campaign. Custy said her News Writing class was the most valuable class she took at Texas Tech.
“News Writing was my most valuable class because writing is fundamental in all communications,” Custy said. “Even when making graphics, I have to be able to cut a body of text using AP style.”
Custy’s graphic designs have earned her candidate, Ted Cruz, nationwide recognition. She said she created a Dos Equis-themed meme about the opposing candidate’s tendency to exaggerate. A meme is an online image that is accompanied by a creative phrase. Memes frequently appear on social media sites, and the images are often intended for humor. Well-known conservative news outlets and party members picked up the meme and featured it on their own sites. Custy said the meme was done for fun in her spare time.
“It’s fun to see how fast something can get picked up,” Custy said. “I think this was a perfect example of how we got organic media with something that was done for fun.”
The meme has not been the only graphic to gain recognition for Cruz’s campaign. Custy said one of her favorite assignments was creating graphics announcing Sarah Palin’s endorsement of Cruz. She said the assignment was top secret. Her boss, the campaign manager and Custy were the only team members who knew about the endorsement.
“I stayed up until 5 a.m. making graphics for the announcement,” Custy said. “When I got to work, all of the staff members were excited about the endorsement, and I had known about it. It was extremely rewarding.”
Although memes and graphics are largely associated with social media, Custy said social media is used differently in politics. She said if someone is interested in a politician’s social media page, the reason is because they agree with their views.
“The political world uses it as another news outlet,” Custy said. “They don’t really engage as opposed to brands who use it to engage and build a community. If someone ‘liked’ Ted Cruz on Facebook, it’s because they share similar views.”
After the election, Custy would like to return to the advertising world and learn about application development and engagement. She hopes to join a presidential campaign after her time in advertising.
Custy’s advice to college seniors is to be patient during the job search. She also recommends taking advantage of any freelance work that will help students build a portfolio.
View the article on Texas Tech by clicking HERE.