Practicum: Who Am I?

And here we go again!

Ah—finally. A new semester, a new computer… same old annoyances with some projects and more exciting aspects for other projects.

what isn’t to love?

Practicum is something I’ve been needing for years, it seems. I haven’t had the chance to pump my design into an organized way. Based on my experiences at my internship back in 2017, I realized that they simply did not prepare me for how to design in a professional manner/setting. I’m hoping that this will change with the Hive.

My Personality

Yeah, couldn’t agree more.

I found that being an ENTJ-T fits me quite well. I am a leader, and I have been a leader for so long…but the problem is that I haven’t been a leader in so long. I’m rusty, but I am engaging and eager to sharpen and hone my skills.

My Creative Process

My creative process is a mixture of traditional means juxtaposing some more contemporary aspects. I believe in “The Creative Process” that my old teacher Jim Colbert made as well as my own adjustments, which sort of has three steps:

  1. Initial Sketches/Concept Development: When working with a client, I begin by having an initial meeting to get a gauge of the scope of the project at hand. I look at the aspects that they are looking for, and I talk about what their vision of the project is. During this step, I also voice my vision towards the client’s needs and my reactions. I do this because I believe it is important that the person/team that a client hires understands who they are hiring. Before beginning step 2, it can be a good idea to write down some key aspects that the client is truly needing as well. This could help support claims later on when you are making the guidelines.
  2. Drafting and Creating Execution: After that meeting, it is important to begin sketching and drafting. This is the longest step, as you must go through every single facet of the project scope: typography, color, design, and concept execution. A designer must utilize every aspect that the client discusses in their prompting—unless you’re ready to explain why you didn’t use that aspect. Several meetings throughout this process may be necessary depending on the client’s attitude. Mainly these can be for progress reports or any changes, but again, depends on the client. in some circumstances, a guideline could be ideal to create during this time rather than in step 3, as the guideline should be worked closely with the subject so that there is more time to revise as needed.
  3. Proofing, Refining, and Revision: The proofing and revision is the most important. Revise, revise, revise. Sometimes it may be important to get a fresh set of eyes depending on how long your work is. For publications, this step will be for editorial (which hopefully is given to you full-proof already but hey—we all make mistakes). For branding design, it is of the utmost importance that you make sure that everything is flawless during this stage. This means all files are cleaned up and ready to go internally (as in through Illustrator or Photoshop) and externally (proper file paths that the client may need access to when you send all of the file info out).

During the final step, I also like to make sure that the brand guidelines are fully chalked out and ready to go so that any designer can work in the same mindset as you. This also makes your work much more professional, which can make happy clients. Happy clients mean the potential for network opportunities, recommendations, and repeats.

What are my Strengths and Weaknesses?

I believe that I am a multifaceted designer with experience, which may put me at an edge, but I also have learned through my work that it is of the utmost importance to humble your abilities to a degree. It is okay to flaunt, but not okay to push others down to make yourself look better. I don’t know—I personally wouldn’t hire a person pushing others down to make themselves look better. Would you?

Strengths: Well, certainly come in the form of leadership and conceptual development, but I also believe myself to be a strong designer. I am strong with my concepts when I hit the nail right, and I am diligent at making sure that I complete satisfactory work. If I am dissatisfied, then I know my client more than likely will be as well. I am always eager to start new things, and even more eager to create something that I can see out in life at random moments.

I am a bit of a dreamer, but if I need to come back to Earth, it doesn’t take me too much time to realize that something is going in the wrong direction. I’m super extraverted, which helps me talk to clients easily. Sometimes I may get a little flummoxed with the delivery, but overall I find myself learning each time I present. It just takes time, and so I think patience assists in making my strengths palpable.

Weaknesses: I am a strong believer in a line from Bhagavad Gita, which essentially translates to “My Mind is My Biggest Enemy”. I get so in my head sometimes. I think it stems from a whole lot of lacking support from my family, of which are disappointed in my journey to become a designer. It’s always “why weren’t you a doctor or an engineer or hell, even a nurse” or “wow Alex! I never thought you would amount to anything”. Yes, those are literal quotes from my family members. Truth be told, I am very insecure as a person, with a tasteful hint of self-loathing to a degree. Comes with trauma, ya know.

But as a designer, I rush into things without doing what the client wants sometimes, which bites me in the ass. It’s hard when I cannot hear them or misinterpret what they say. I would like to become a better note-taker, of which I find myself weak with as well. I think my biggest weaknesses also stem from client organization skills. I have gotten better with file organization, but I am god-awful with keeping my invoices and my time management aspects in-check.

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Alex Herr

Alex Herr

Graphic Designer and Graphic Design Student