When you get ready to meet Anne Fullem for the first time you might feel like you have to be runway ready. At the very least, accessorized. After all, she is the founder, editor-in-chief and art director of Harford County Style Magazine.
On the surface, it might appear that she’s pushing fashion, but she’s not a slave to it.
“I need just about as much help with style as anybody else,” she said.
Fullem says her style is casual, “although I am trying to upgrade a little bit, especially since I started this particular magazine,” she said with a laugh.
“You know, just trying to upgrade my image and doing my nails on a regular basis, like those are the things that I kind of cut corners with when I started my freelance design business,” she said.
Fullem’s freelance graphic design business is called MindsEye Design and she’s worked in this field for 26 years now. Working from home, Fullem has clients "I only see once or twice a year, yet I do work for them every week. But it’s over the phone and it’s an email kind of thing."
So her laid-back attire is taken care of. It's the business gear she, like many others, jostles with.
“For myself, I’m always slightly uncomfortable in my work clothes," she said. "I don’t know what to wear. And I don’t think that’s necessary. I think it’s just my lack in confidence in my own personal business style."
The more you talk to Fullem, the more you realize she’s not pushing that runway kind of fashion, although you will get to see some of that on the pages of the magazine.
"The interesting thing about this magazine is it’s a collaboration of many women throughout the county who have expertise in different areas and are sharing that with our readership,” Fullem remarked.
Her intention for the quarterly publication is to celebrate women of Harford County and she’s proud of the team she’s assembled.
“I’ve been able to pull together a lot of very talented people and they are sharing their experience with our readers and that’s what makes it work,” she said.
Of course, fashion is interspersed.
“What is in style, what is age appropriate, what are the trends?” she asks, hinting that the answers can be found in the pages.
The cool thing about the magazine is that it will not only use real-life (and some local) models to showcase the latest trends but also real, everyday women. Just like you and me. That we can run into at the post office or the grocery store or the salon.
Take, for example, the winter edition where cover model in MaryAnne Medeiros-Spurlin (owner of Salon Marielle by the Bay) who not only looked stunning but also “has five grandchildren,” Fullem said.
“These girls are real life girls, they’ve worked a while and accomplished some things," she said. "They’ve given back to their community, and they're absolutely gorgeous. They are in the prime of their lives.”
Fullem is ecstatic about this new chapter in her life. This self-proclaimed challenge junkie has always “loved magazines and art.”
She is the epitome of the right-brain thinker saying that anything mathematical, like writing code for a website for example, “I don’t know, makes my mind jam up or something.”
So what does it mean to be a graphic artist these days?
“I do everything from basic advertising to marketing packages to logo design, anything that involves print media,” Fullem said.
Though most of her clients are small businesses and non-profits, she’s worked with the Town of Bel Air, the City of Havre de Grace and the City of Aberdeen.
Growing up in Bel Air, she was editor of the yearbook and newsletter in high school for three years, showing her propensity for this work early on. But the business has certainly changed since she started in 1985.
“When I first started there was no desktop publishing so everything was done by type-setting, it was very different than it is now,” Fullem said.
Back then, she knew that desktop publishing was coming and it was just a matter of getting a job with a company that was converting. So that was what she did. And she taught herself everything she knows.
Fullem was on a mission to learn as much as she could. She worked at design houses, local printers, ad agencies.
“I pretty much worked in all the positions in my field in different companies throughout the county to get the complete experience,” she said.
She’s unabashed in her exuberance, even still: “I just love it, I love it. I worked for free. I worked in my spare time, I just wanted to be good at it. And I enjoyed doing it.”
For her, design is a lot like piecing a puzzle together: “There’s a lot of ways that things can go together but in my mind, there’s only one way where all the things are balanced and all the pieces just fit perfectly.”
Fullem’s lived in Havre de Grace for 16 years and loves it. Her boyfriend, Dominic Gasdia, which she called her "better half" is a pharmacist and works locally.
“I wouldn’t have accomplished any of these things without his love and support,” she said.
Fullem is also grateful to be living out her dreams through hard work and determination.
“I’ve been fortunate that I’ve gotten to do things that I enjoy," she said. "I have really enjoyed my career and I’m excited about where it’s going."