Alumni Update: Steve Dariotis ’91

SteveSuccessful Graphic Designer Shares
How to Balance Your Dreams with Real World Demands

by Kristin D’Agostino

Though it’s been twenty years since he graduated, Swampscott-based graphic designer Steve Dariotis recalls how idealistic he was as a young artist. Art students, he says, often have their own set of dreams that have to be adapted to fit the needs of the real world.  For Dariotis this lesson came while he was still in school when a Montserrat professor gave him a job lead that wasn’t quite what the young student had in mind.

“It was to design a hospital brochure,” he recalls. “I could’ve said I didn’t want to design a silly hospital brochure; I had my own interests.” But, luckily, Dariotis took the job because that “silly” hospital brochure was the first step toward a successful career designing websites and graphics for the medical industry.

In the world of graphic design, Dariotis says, medical jobs are some of the most secure.  “While other industries come and go,” he reflects, “the hospital stuff never goes away.”  Specializing in a niche industry is a great way for a new graphic designer to secure his or her career.  In the medical field, one job often leads to another because in the Boston area there are “a million hospitals” that are all connected through the Partners healthcare system.

But, doesn’t specializing in one kind of client get dull after a while? Dariotis says no. He enjoys the variety in his work, everything from company logos and brochures to web sites and three-dimensional exhibits used for trade shows.  And, though he primarily works on the computer, Dariotis keeps his drawing skills fresh by sketching illustrations and maps for healthcare magazines.

As for his days at Montserrat, Dariotis says, though he enjoyed the chance to work on in-class projects, it was an internship that proved the most useful after graduation. Working in the college print shop gave him a strong foundation of skills he has drawn upon throughout his career. “It gave me experience working with a printer and doing other pre press stuff,” he says. “It definitely helped me going into the real world.”