Book Resumé

In 2014 one of my friends became an author. She’s also a professional portrait photographer and one of my many inspirations in life, so when she asked me to help her layout the resume for her book to sell to publishers, I said yes.

I like to think that this project, though short and sweet, was a culmination of all the layout knowledge I had gained while at University. She sent the pictures she wanted me to use, and the wording, and I was asked to make it look visually appealing. Within the 48 hour turnaround she gave me, I came up with this:

bookresume_janell_draft1

I’ve redacted her personal contact information for privacy’s sake, but feel free to check out her website- it’s filled with loads of blog entries filled with helpful advice and observations.

This version is not actually the final one she took to the writers conference she was headed to, but it is the version that I was most pleased with. I don’t mind that clients have different ideas than I do about what looks good, I will always create versions to my liking and theirs, because more options is never a bad thing. Often times I find that we’ll end up combining the two concepts.

The UW SERU Survey & Learning From Mistakes

One of my all-time favorite novels is “East of Eden,” by the great John Steinbeck. Near the end of it, one of his characters states:

“And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.”

I like to think that he means that if you admit that you aren’t perfect, it allows you to be a better person. Or put more bluntly, if you learn from your mistakes, you will succeed.

In the spirit of that quote, my first ever freelance project was while I was a student at the UW for the UW Department of Education. They knew me from my work with The Dream Project as both a student leader, coordinator, and head of publications.

I was unhappy with the quality of work that I produced for them. Part of it was my lack of knowledge that I wouldn’t obtain until 2 more years of school had passed, but the other part was my total unpreparedness for the amount of dedication it takes to work with a client one on one while continuing on with other parts of your life. As a student, I had a prioritization problem, and that didn’t come to light until I took on this project.

Not only did I not give myself enough time to produce multiple options and drafts for the client, but I didn’t plan on meeting with them multiple times, nor did I anticipate they would be unhappy with multiple drafts and have to go back to the drawing board. This was a huge problem because I have always kept a meticulous schedule. I plan out my day from start to finish and at this point in my life I was having a hard time adapting when that schedule was forced to change.

We ran out of time in the end and were forced to print and canvas the campus with these signs:

lawnsign-final

Lawn Sign- printed on cardboard and staked in the grassy areas of campus.

I learned a lot from this project. As a person who strives to make mistakes only once, I’ve never underestimated time and effort in a design project again. As a student, you are taught how a “good design” is supposed to look. Then you go out into the real world, and it turns out the average client doesn’t necessarily agree with what you’ve been taught. Neither person is wrong, it’s just that a designer has to be adaptable. Experience can be a rude awakening sometimes, but it always makes you better.

I now create a timeline before every project, and it always has plenty of room for change and going back to the drawing board.

There is a stark difference between how I handled this project, and all future projects. I learned from my mistakes quickly and took the time to reflect on why they happened and how I could prevent them from happening again. This evolution in work process and quality can be seen in the difference between this project and the one described step by step in the How I Work tab, which is the assignment I took on directly after this one.