Spring tends to be the season of interviews; students are seeking internships, graduates are trying to line up employment, and often times people are exploring their options to get closer to something—family, their true passion, their significant other. Regardless of who we are talking to a theme that comes back around again and again is the idea of genuinely loving design.
We have been known to get snarky, hop into the hating on certain fonts and ad campaigns, but the stronger emotion for us is always the appreciation for an effective message. Sometimes it is in the design, other times it’s the copy, other times still it’s the marriage of form and function. Appreciating design doesn’t have to mean tight kerning and sexy die cuts, it also means respecting those who take the time to learn the trade.
Doug Bartow taps us each year to participate in portfolio reviews like the one last night at Proctors. We always find a way to go because without the participation of students and professionals the design community weakens; together we really are stronger. This year it was Derek and Will who made the trek.
They sit at these long tables with their portfolios ready, it’s an incredible leap of faith. Students can be very confident, but there is also the potential that they won’t hear praise, or that their favorite pieces won’t hit the mark. It is a process in getting to know the subjective and critical reality of design. It’s also a moment when the door is cracked, designers, studio owners, and other professionals extend a hand and talk about how it can be everything you dreamed about and a branded cap to boot.
We are reminded of that when we get to talk with other professionals, as was the case (literally) on Monday. Sean was in Boston judging the Higher Education Viewbooks category of the CASE Circle of Excellence Awards. The other judges represented UMass Lowell, Worcester State University, and Bentley University. He was sending texts to the entire office about the innovative design tactics that were used and also about the different things agencies were using in higher ed. There may also have been a bit of budget envy, again, nothing uncommon in working in the design field.
Loving design is rooted in continuing to learn, which make higher ed, both its constituents and its purpose, an incredibly fertile source of inspiration. We’re willing to work for it, drive for it, and live for it.