Eric Semelroth Illustrates ECC's Story

  • Tags: Newsletter | Staff Profile
Published 05/24/2021
Eric Semelroth, graphic designer at ECC

Eric Semelroth, graphic designer at ECC


Eric Semelroth, a graphic designer in the marketing and communications department, is a visual storyteller. From infographics to brochures, banners, to social media graphics, he transforms words into visual form, helping to make ECC’s many messages and stories more interesting and stand out from the crowd.

“My goal is to make clients happy,” he said. “I combine words and images in a clear, appealing way for visual media including print and social media.”

Get to know more about Semelroth below: 

What is your greatest accomplishment since you’ve been at ECC?

Fitting into the ECC culture, hitting the ground running, and producing high-quality work. Specifically, I’m proud of the work I’ve done with Impact magazine. I believe my ongoing contribution is evident. 

Name a job or role at ECC that you would like to try for one day and explain why.

I would enjoy teaching a Communication Design — Graphic Design, Painting, Drawing, or 2-D Design class. I’ve had plenty of experience doing that.

If you could instantly be an expert in one thing, what would you choose?

I would like to instantly play bass guitar like Les Claypool (of Primus).

What do you enjoy doing outside of work (i.e., hobbies/interests)?

I’m drawn to aesthetic activities. I go to art exhibits, I make art, I read books, I listen to music, I go to shows, I take walks in forest preserves, I garden, and I run. I also love baseball. Those activities bring me enjoyment. 

If you could live in a TV show, which show would it be and why?

Probably something on PBS. Maybe “Death in Paradise.” The Caribbean island setting looks beautiful.

Where is the best place you’ve traveled to? Or where would you like to visit?

I’ve been to Paris, London, Dublin, Rome, Florence, and Amsterdam. They’re all great. In the future, I would like to visit Jamaica.

You have to wear a t-shirt with just one word on it for an entire year. What would that word be, and why? 

The word would be ‘YES.’ It’s a positive word, and people respond well to the affirmative. The first runner-up would be ‘WHY,’ because it gets people thinking.

Share a fact about you that might surprise people to learn.

My portraits and cartoons have been featured/included in seven books. Most recently, The Illinois State Museum was looking for Illinois stories about COVID 19, so I submitted an original poem and graphic design. It’s part of the Illinois Digital Archive.

Also, when I was working in Milwaukee, I was a frequent guest curator and co-host for the “80s at 8:30” program on WMSE radio in Milwaukee.

What job have you held (besides ECC) that was the most fun, interesting, or difficult? Explain why. 

I’ve worked in the media as a visual journalist for decades. I was working at Modern Healthcare magazine (Crain Communications) during the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010 and the SCOTUS ruling in 2012. We had a reporter in the courtroom when Justice Roberts saved Obamacare. There were at least 37 Congressional repeal efforts while I was at the magazine. I was creating editorial cartoons about healthcare and getting letters to the editor about them. I also created many healthcare infographics, including a timeline of healthcare reform that stretched back to Germany in 1883. We were part of the national conversation. Those were exciting times to be in a healthcare newsroom. 

Name someone you admire and explain why.

Ed Paschke was Chicago’s preeminent “Imagist” painter. He taught at Northwestern while I was a graduate student. He was encouraging and wished me success in all my endeavors. I visited him in his studio a few times after graduation, and he allowed me to take photographs of him to use for a portrait. When I had an exhibition of portraits (including his) at a gallery in Old Town, Chicago, he and his wife came to see the show. I always appreciated his teachings, friendship, and support.

What was your most valuable life lesson?

In my mom’s final days, she told me to “Live your best life.” That’s pretty good advice, and I’m trying to follow it. I was on a tour bus in Rome when I heard an old man from Georgia say: “If you don’t do anything, you never will.” And my last Editor-in-Chief used to say to the newsroom: “Don’t bring me problems, bring me solutions.”

Complete this sentence: “I enjoy working at ECC because ….

the people I work with genuinely care about and support the mission of the college. It’s a pleasure to be around like-minded people.