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Communications Design Industry Discussion, Inspiration, & Tutorials

May 22, 2014

From Lunch and Learn to Webinar

By On 16:07
Adobe Connect Virtual Meeting Room
Many of you know about the TechTalk lecture series that I spearheaded last year. I got a lot of great feedback on the design from the PubDesign groups on FB and LinkedIn!

What you probably don’t know is that after much deliberation my cohort and I have decided to switch the format from an informal lunchtime conversation to an (Adobe Connect) webinar. There are some good reasons for this.

  1. While the fall and spring events were captured using Panopto, Connect, and (once) a digital video camera.  The recording method was not formalized and a bit ad hoc in the earlier days. Each one offered different pros and cons.
  2. Second, the lunch option was a great idea, but became impractical later in the semester. A lot of the faculty (and a couple TAs) who attended were busier by the later weeks and ended up no-showing; food was wasted. These busy folks ended up catching the recorded session after the fact.
  3. Lastly, one of my goals in starting this professional development series was to–eventually—open it up to the larger university community, reaching professionals at schools like Hopkins, Bowie, Maryland, etc. The webinar format allows for others to easily join the conversation without having to drive to my school. We had several colleagues from Notre Dame make the trip for several of the sessions. Webinars can be watched as they happen, OR after the fact.

The added benefit is that Adobe Connect allows participants watch the recorded session on demand and also to download webinar materials (like PowerPoints, PDFs, and Docs) that were used in the session. That’s a major bonus. I got several requests for links to TechTalk materials days or months after the talks.

That said, Sue and I—that cohort I mentioned earlier—are now planning the upcoming fall sessions, and creating the marketing plan for the next year. Whew! More designs to come.

Check out the posters for 2013/2014 

May 19, 2014

This Week: Planning DPS Mobile App

By On 03:30
Late last summer I got the proclamation from on high that my team was entering the mobile app business. After purchase of DPS we’d be tasked with creating a digital mobile app to distribute to our various constituent groups. And I’d be in charge. It was an exciting prospect and the time has finally come for this work to begin.

This community technology mobile app—that drops in a few months—will be written by me, designed by me, tested by me, and marketed by me. Sound like fun? In the past week I’ve created a rough outline, listed existing and necessary assets, and worked out an editorial schedule; that’s right, I’ve got to create copy for a couple dozen articles of varying lengths. My calendar has already been blocked out and the editorial process begins next week. Following that, I’ll visit our marketing department to scour their image database for photogenic people interacting with technology to liberally pepper the app pages. Then the real work begins.

Also in the last week I checked out some fantastic DPS apps for inspiration. That was a fruitful endeavor. In addition to seeing how developers market their completed creations, I also downloaded several of the design and played with the functionality. Skylife is my absolute favorite!

More to come!

May 13, 2014

This Week: Logo Design

By On 10:44
I just completed 2 back-to-back logo designs from folks that I love working with.

The first is a university initiative focused on reducing paper consumption. The second is a clothing designer/website. The time I spent on both projects combined is about 8 hours; from industry research, to preliminary sketches, to comp submission to finals (roughly). I effin’ LOVE when clients/projects are easy and fun!!

I know that several freelance designers have run through the spectrum of difficult clients. I've been lucky in in my near-decade to not have had too many of these folk (barring one freelance photography client and a website for a notoriously difficult and dishonest pothead in Fells Point). Great clients make this job the best job ever.

Take a look at what the abridged process for one of these clients:

May 7, 2014

More Job Search Advice for new Grads

By On 07:21

A new graduation season is upon us, and feel the need to revisit this topic. When I first wrote this article I was a recent grad-school-grad and introduced the topic using a conversation with a former school-mate.
Original 2010 article

Guess what. It's even tougher out there now than back in 2010. As a new grad you should know what kind of design job or work environment you're looking for. Casting a wide net and applying for any open position, that either a.) doesn't interest you, or b.) doesn't fit with your goals, is a recipe for high stress. Be selective and take the time to go after jobs that you actually want. It'll make you happier in the long run.This is something I've always believed and it hasn't let me down yet.

If you've already identified your ideal work environment, start your job search now. This means:

  1. Keep your Resume Updated: This is a good practice for everyone. However, I must stress that each resume you submit in application for a job should be tailored to more closely reflect the stated requirements. Don't lie. Instead choose specific words and phrases from the posting to include in your copy. Here's why it's so important...
  2. Regularly Update your Portfolio site: For creatives, the website is usually an employer's first contact with you. Be sure that your best work--and recent work--is showcased. Once or Twice a year is sufficient.
  3. Network and make inquiries: This is a must for all professionals in all fields. Keep connected with folks on LinkedIn, say yes to the alumni happy hour invitation from school, give your college friends a call. I can't stress this enough; ask these people questions! 
  4. Assess your Qualifications: Once you've found a job opening that's interesting, look at it critically to see if it's really a good fit. Be sure to look at the duties AND also the industry (or type of business). Some very talented designers work best outside of agencies. Be sure that you fit the bill and the employer fits yours. 
  5. Apply Early: With this current job market, positions are posted and taken down before you know it. When you see a position that suitable, don't waste too much time procrastinating. Instead, take a day to: format your resume and letter, have a peer proofread your efforts, make your revisions, and apply.

May 2, 2014

Graphic Designer Salary Update

By On 12:23
I've discussed this a couple times here on the blog and also in forums on LinkedIn and Facebook. New graphic designers and recent graduates want to know! The truth is that salary ranges continue to drop for graphic designers and those in related fields. I know what you're thinking, "I should have studied engineering."

Not so. Experienced and multi-talented designers still garner higher salaries than our less- experienced counterparts. So, don't let these numbers discourage you. Use them as incentive to grow your abilities!

Average Graphic Designer salaries for job postings nationwide are 8% lower than average salaries for all job postings nationwide.