Wrapping Coolers: C-Store Wall Art

The first thing that happened when I got hired as a Graphic Designer for Anheuser-Busch, was the loss of Constellation brands. Constellation owns many of the popular Mexican beers such as Corona and Modelo, so we had to quickly replace those brands’ decor with signage from another of our brands. This involved creating more than 60 separate cooler wraps- wall signage meant to be permanent/stay up for at least a year that surrounds the coolers in convenience stores. Below are some of my cooler wrap designs that went up around the Seattle area:

 

Digital Design Internship

Straight out of college, I took a graphic design/technical writing internship with cable company Northland Communications. There I worked alongside a marketing team of 4 other people to create their web and broadcast marketing campaigns along with a a few for print. I was treated like just another employee, but with the opportunity to ask for feedback and gain expertise in marketing for a large corporation from the Lead Designer on the team.

Tools I learned to work with during this internship included image database websites such as depositphoto.com, and also how to create ads for tv- motion graphics and plain zap ads.

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.

Dream Project Marketing

One of the core duties as Publications Manager was to help out the recruitment team. With new students arriving every quarter, and mentors graduating, The Dream Project relies on recruitment of new college mentors to be able to guide their students’ path to future success.

Materials used often included lawn signs, and pamphlets/bookmarks to hand out to students as they walked to class. Below is a sampling of my final year’s marketing materials.

The Dream Project Workbook

I was a member of the UW Dream Project all 4 years I was a student. This unique not-for-profit organization was not run by the UW, just located on its campus. A student-run organization, it is a mentorship program where over 700 college students work in area schools helping high school juniors and seniors prepare for the future after graduation. Mentorship mainly involved college applications and career planning.

As a sophomore, I saw the need for someone to take over publications/marketing for the organization. At the time there was no cohesive brand. Materials we either gave out to students or used to recruit mentors weren’t looking as professional as they could. I saw this as the perfect opportunity for me to help out. Within a month I had gone to the governing body and created the position of Publications Manager. I remained there until a few months before I had to graduate. That was when I interviewed new people for the position and hired a successor to train before I left the campus for good.

The main project I took on during my tenure was the workbook we provided for every student we worked with. Updated on an annual basis, it is a step by step guide for a student to get through their senior year of high school, including worksheets, a lot of information on the various options they have, and how to go about planning to pay for their future education- whether that be community college, military, technical school, or a 4 year degree.

Above is a gallery of some of the workbook pages from the 2013-14 workbook.

When I began my tenure as Publications Manager, the workbook obviously already existed. The program itself was 7 years old. It became my biggest responsibility to collect feedback from the 700+ student body to better the latest edition for the next year. Collecting feedback in and of itself is a full time job, but I then went ahead and created new pages people thought were needed and changed those that had been assessed to be faulty or misleading.

In summary, there were many other projects I completed for The UW Dream Project, but the workbook was by far the most important and time consuming.

*The Dream Project is still creating these workbooks. If you know of a high school student who would benefit from having one of these, or wants to be a part of the program, you can contact the Dream Project directly.

 

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.