At age 10, Melissa decided she wanted to be a reporter. Actually, she first she decided she wanted to be a novelist, but then somehow rationalized that it might be pretty difficult to make a name for herself doing that, so writing for newspapers would be the next best thing.
She began by taking a tape recorder and notebook around the neighborhood, interviewing her neighbors about anything she could think of. She interviewed Mrs. Higgins about what it was like playing dual roles as the science teacher at the elementary school and the neighbor of many of her students. She interviewed Mrs. Savory about what age she deemed appropriate to babysit her three children, what she looked for in a babysitter, and how much she paid ($2 an hour. Melissa went on to land a babysitting job a couple of years later.)
Being a reporter was fun.
A form of this continued through high school and college, where Melissa wrote stories for student newspapers and literary anthologies. She received two South Carolina Scholastic Press Association awards, one for layout and design, for her school’s literary magazine in 1995, and she tinkered with layout for her high school and college newspaper, but writing was her first love … so she thought.
In 2000, she took her Bachelor of Arts degree in print journalism (along with a minor in creative writing) and landed a job a few weeks later as a copy editor and page designer at The Herald, a daily newspaper owned by McClatchy Newspapers in Rock Hill, S.C. She took this job only because there were no reporter openings, and she figured she could use her layout knowledge until a position she really wanted became available.
But then – something strange happened. The more she worked on layout and design, the more she fell in love. She began spending all of her free time in the graphic artists’ office, pestering them for Photoshop tips or font recommendations.
About a year later she was promoted to assistant news editor, where she helped to run the copy desk along with the news editor, and by then she knew publication design was truly her niche. Over a few years, she netted five South Carolina Press Association design awards, including Best of the Best for Page One Design for all divisions in 2005.
A couple of years later, she was promoted to Editor in Chief and Creative Director of rejuvenate magazine, a bimonthly women’s magazine created for readers in York County, S.C. She got to lead all things editorial: Creating story ideas and budgets, hiring and editing freelance writers and photographers, and of course, layout and design.
She also had the pleasure of designing two of the company’s weekly newspapers: The Fort Mill Times in Fort Mill, S.C. (her hometown newspaper; imagine how fun that police blotter was) and The Enquirer-Herald in York, S.C.
In 2005, she formed Melissa Oyler Designs, LLC, and ran her business part time along with her magazine roles. She joined MOD full time in 2008. It has been an exciting endeavor, full of varied design projects: books, magazines, wedding albums, logos and advertising, along with the occasional editing.
Melissa is passionate about her next venture as Creative Director of Creative Loafing-Charlotte. She has missed being part of a newsroom, and Creative Loafing is a publication she has always admired. She loves collaborating with journalists and designing a pleasing, contemporary experience for the reader. The artist in her can’t wait to continue with the trendy, edgy vibe Creative Loafing is so talented at portraying. The coffee addict in her can’t wait to try the French Press at Bask.
Other stuff: Melissa lives south of Ballantyne.
She’s a marathon runner, a backpacker, sort of a triathlete, and she likes to torture herself in hot yoga.
She has a soft spot in her heart for animals, especially her two dogs (mutts), and her turtle, Spike (he’s 14 years old!)
She’s a member of the Society of Professional Journalists (Greater Charlotte Chapter). She’s written two first drafts of novels (both will be finished someday.) She likes to travel. And she’ll conclude with her favorite tattoo: the asterisk on her foot. It’s a foot note … get it?