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Communications Design Industry Discussion, Inspiration, & Tutorials

Nov 25, 2014

This Week: Editing Video(s)

By On 08:12
In the past half-year or so I’ve lamented the fact that I have little time to do in-depth video production. That drought is over.

With growth on the horizon for my department and an organizational push toward getting the most from the technology tools that we now employ, I’ve been called upon to interview some folks. I got the assignment and the deadline last week—these need to be done really soon. Luckily I grabbed my favorite campus personality about a year ago and recorded a 30-minute interview and B roll of him strolling across campus and teaching his online course.

This week is dedicated to editing down 2+ hours of interviews, and an hour of atmosphere/B-roll into three, under-five-minute snapshots of how our faculty use technology in the and out of the class. The upshot of this double-quick assignment is that I get to hear the individual stories of how these folk approach the tools. What I’ve learned—and this is important for us in IT departments to hear—is that they are open to using these tools and pushing the limits of the technology to best fit their needs. They’re experimental and they’re open.

My goal is to have my final cuts done by Friday.

Then sometime on Monday, next week, my committee reviews them for content and offers any edits or input. And I spend that afternoon editing--if necessary. Then the final cuts will be hosted on our website by next Tuesday…


Nov 10, 2014

Productivity: There’s an App for That

By On 04:42
Actually, there isn’t.

Image Source : Owl ToDo List by ByGirlParty,
Building my weekly to-to list has never been a chore. As I’m the first person in the office, I take 30 minutes on Monday of each week to compile, audit, and edit my list before moving on to the next 60 minutes of social media management, then the next 60 minutes of research, then a snack, then an afternoon of graphic design, or trainings, or trouble shooting various software, etc. before my bike ride home.

This Monday morning list often proves to be the most important component to my productivity.

All of my past communications directors figured out that trick, and planned weekly team meetings early in the week, first thing in the morning. We’d meet briefly, add or subtract from our lists, and transition smoothly into the work week. This team activity also meant that we all got 30 minutes of weekly face time regardless of the workload. It was an excellent way to stay on track.

Now that I’m in IT, the tables have turned. In lieu of that important team building time we’re experimenting with building online to-do list boards (think Pinterest), and sharing these virtually with other team members. In essence, my Instructional Designer can login to this site, and view my tasks and schedule. She can add to or subtract from my list, and make notes on my boards. This App virtually * eliminates the need for us to ever meet again.

An online board that tracks lists, progress, and responsible parties on a project is a cool idea. It has the potential to streamline the way that both me and my team work, view progress, and remain accountable.

That said, losing the face time element of brief weekly meetings means losing these moments:

  • “I almost forgot to tell you,” or “thanks for reminding me of…”
  • Team members A&B attended a conference, and this is what they want to share with the team…
  • I’ve run into that problem with X before, this is how it’s resolved…
  • Did you know….

Today was my first day of using this app board to build my list. I took me more time than usual, as I’m transcribing from my paper notes into this tool, Trello. While not 100% optimistic of it’s efficacy, I’m interested to see what potential long term benefits this app offers…

...to be continued

* That was sarcasm

Nov 7, 2014

Visualize The Audience

By On 07:24
In building my design course for spring 2015 I just got an acute reminder of the most important part of the design process: Research. Specifically the part where we identify the target audience, looking at this group as an individual...giving him/her a face, a job, an annual salary, living quarters, friends, acutely specific demographic information.

Here's how I learned it in my first design class, Introduction to Print Design with Professor Bert Smith. For my semester-long project for his class, I chose as my client a fashion design collective based in Baltimore. This collective included artists, fashion designers, theatrical costumiers--all in school or recent graduates. Their Avant Garde, and diverse styles brought to life the imagination of their generation. They did not work to make seven easy pieces, but instead couture reminiscent of 1970’s Vivienne Westwood.

My job as designer for this client was to speak directly to their ideal audience.

Research included talking to the designers about their work and audience, checking out their past events, press write ups, product lines and boutiques/retail selling them, before attempting to visualize their ideal client.

Although my Intro to Print notes are long gone, I can almost precisely remember my description of this ideal client:

  • she was someone with a fair amount of disposable income, an interest in music and the music scene—someone who could travel two states away to catch her favorite band. 
  • She considered herself a bit of an artist too, and would also travel to show her work and see the work of other young artists—a bit of a scenester. 
  • She's physically slender, but not emaciated. Her appearance is important and could reach the level of obsession if she gains/loses too much weight.
  • Professionally, she works in fashionable industry- the arts, design, gallery, theater, and is considered knowledgeable by her peers. 
  • She has the potential for much increased earning in the future, but is not making that much currently—the purchase of a strategically distressed garment is prioritized over getting the car fixed.
  • Although not required, she is most likely white, 
  • and cohabitates with close friends—fellow artists, musicians, students, etc—she doesn’t live with her parents*

Note: This exercise was completed way back before the great recession where college age and twenty-somethings found it important to get out once reaching the age of majority.

Visualizing this woman helped me to create a successful identity and series of collaterals for the client!

Nov 1, 2014

The Next Best App...

By On 04:39
After the  launch of the campus mobile apps, I was approached by a potential client asking for a new mobile app that shares mindfulness and relaxation exercises. WHAT!!

It's definitely a project that I want to build. My goal in this design is to get it done quickly. I hate to say it, but I  really want to see the finished product  and have it downloaded on my device and in my hot little hands.

There are a few snags or challenges that I must overcome with this project, however:

  • the existing color palette is not wholly harmonious,
  • the client's limited time and expertise in creating media for this project 
  • the general lack of supplemental media (photos, logos, audio, video)
  • did I mention the color palette?
So far in the timeline, I  have made the general outline and creative brief--it's been approved but the client, and there are about 2 dozen preliminary sketches in my notebook (on my desk, in my laptop bag, holding my page in a graphic novel I'm currently reading…everywhere).

Scans and screen captures are coming shortly--because I'll need help and lots of critical eyes on this one.