My first first bright idea. I take it back, it was my first bright idea as an official designer. It happened a few weeks before my college graduation, and it was our final exit assignment. In the world of design, we are graded in a first and foremost by the general audience and our peers. As an exit “exam” we are assigned to create a marketing campaign for a real or fictitious company. Many opt to improve the current brand of an already established business whether it be a public business or a friend of a friend’s business that could use the improvements from a designer fresh out of college. Another option, is to create a brand for a non-existent business. Herein lies the beginning of a puzzle, the daydream of owning a business, what services it would sell and how this business would look like to the public. Without judgement, I can say that those who opt to create a business brand from scratch take the path less traveled as it challenges the mind to CREATE something where nothing exists.
My first bright idea was to take neither of both of these roads. You see, to create this MANDATORY exit project, you have to invest time and money into it. I wouldn’t call my self stingy, but I couldn’t see why so many resources had to be spent to the benefit of another business other than my own. I was, after all, a broke college kid. Whatever resources I had, I wanted to invest them on myself. Once you walked away with a diploma you had nothing but a sheet of paper to showcase your credibility. I decided this would not be my case. I told my professor that I wanted to “sell myself” as company. My professor had a hard time understanding me since it had never been done before. This was a path that had never been traveled. It was agreed that I could only carry through with this project if I had a buy-in from the rest of the department committee. I can still remember the faces as I ultimately decided to create a “Graphic Design Shop” where everything was packaged as a grocery store, each box of cereal displaying a poster I had previously designed, each can of food displaying a different logo, how there was a shopping cart, skew bars, and every Nutrition panel contained detail information of the project, and the cost of the design. I designed t-shirts, mugs, and business cards all displaying my Klever Design & Function logo that is STILL good to me 11 years later.
Needless to say, I felt that I walked away a winner. Every marketing tool that I created then, is something that I still use in my portfolio today. Good design is exactly that: effective, creative, innovative, and cost-effective. This kind of thinking is what has driven my career to success for the last 11 years (gasp!)
Moral of the story: Never be afraid to create new paths in your life or career. Just because no one has ever done it before, it doesn’t mean YOU can’t do it, or that it’s not the right way to do it. It may be, after all, the BEST way to do something.
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Much love and respect, Klevergirl
On the twitters: @klevergirl