Career sunriseI just celebrated my fourth year as the Graphic Design Coordinator at Nossi College of Art. Looking back, there are times that include confusion and confidence with my decision to accept this position. In all, I’m thankful today that I can reflect in both cases with a humble heart and consider how I have grown.

My creative passion as an art director and creative director are still as intense today as when I started my career nineteen years ago. As a young designer at my first ad agency, I couldn’t wait to achieve it all. Fifteen years later and reaching my goal as a creative director for my fifth ad agency, I realized that there had to be something more for me, I just didn’t know what–after all, reaching a creative director position was the pinnacle of my career. When I left my last agency, I thought running my own business was the answer, but God had already opened another door.

It’s funny the way God works in my life. He’s already many steps ahead of me and his path is usually something I can’t see when I go looking on my own. If you would have asked me ten years ago if my career would eventually lead to a coordinator and teaching position at an Art College, I would have laughed. I mean, “those who can’t, teach.” After four years of being part of this college, I’ve learned that cliche’ is totally a farce. Try standing in front of  a room full of college students for four hours at a time and see what I mean. Not only does it challenge everything I know, but being able to teach it to others successfully depends on my very success as a professional. Add to that the ability to mentor these young people in how to mature as an adult and understand what it’s like to be a creative individual in life and I’ve got the biggest challenge in my entire career. Oh, and did I mention that I couldn’t do any of this without still being active as creative professional? And why wouldn’t I include this, my passion is still for art direction and creative direction.

I still run Care To Create and I’m always working with new clients on projects that involve both of my creative passions. Being a creative professional is less of a career than it is a lifestyle. I can’t just turn it off. If you know someone who can, I’ll argue whether that are really successful at what they do. The only difference for me is that I don’t have to fill fifty hours a week doing it. I now have the freedom to work with people and projects that inspire me. Without knowing it, I walked through the door God opened for me. Because he knows me best. All I did was have the willingness to walk though it. The rest was a four year experience that I would never give back.

Today, I can reflect back on my ad agency and teaching carer with both good and bad experiences. All of it has humbled me and God has blessed me with this understanding. I’m very grateful. Thank you all who congratulated me and who have endured both my successes and failures through it all. I look forward to the doors God will open for me next. Amen!

 

 

 

ChameleonCreativity is communication. Plain and simple. From the time cavemen painted on cave walls humans have been communicating to each other through the things we create. Try creating something without desiring a response and see what I mean. Better yet, create without the desired response and consider it even more.

Today’s graphic designers and art directors are faced with understanding how to communicate creatively in a world that has evolved through technology – allowing for cross-culture messaging in an array of new media vehicles. If there ever was a time to break down the walls of stereotyping, prejudices and empathetic sincerity it is now. Recently, AIGA and Adobe partnered to define the designer of tomorrow, specifically within the next two years. Their findings, through several years of research, are six major trends that will shape the designers of tomorrow. Basically, the development of visual, verbal and visceral communication is much deeper than mere design.

As an educator to college design students, the biggest challenge I face is convincing young creatives to abandon creative trends and develop a clear understanding of deeper communication strategies. “They must understand the social sciences and humanities in order to understand the content they are asked to communicate and they must understand how to work collaboratively with other knowledge and practice specialists.” – AIGA, Designer of 2015 Trends

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A chameleon blends in, finds safety in looking like its environment and doesn’t attract any attention. Finding the “unique” in design is nothing new. So slaying that Chameleon has been put to rest. However, in terms of today’s communication channels, jumping on the latest technologies designed for short attention spans and redundancy of content can be catastrophic to design without considering how to narrow your audience, design within a believable context, customize messaging that aligns with other social conversations and relying on engagement strategies based on cultural realities. In other words, media complacency has watered down creative executions and messaging into a pool of swirling color. Slaying that chameleon will take a deeper knowledge in design thinking than ever before.

Educators are speeding to offer the latest software and technology training without teaching the bigger understanding of how to use these new medias in a unique way. Just having an “app for that” is no longer the goal. Recommending creative solutions with these new resources, including possible considerations to product evolvement by designers, will be the key to success. Tackling creative issues within a bigger perspective outside the designer’s capabilities will now become their responsibility.

Just because a new technology is available to a designer’s creative strategic tool belt, doesn’t make it necessary. Discerning between what’s needed and what is not will be key. However, when it comes to today’s new design education practices, understanding the skills within these new capabilities will be imperative. For example: the creative development of print and e-medias will be essential to tomorrow’s designer. The creation of visual content is completely different with each user. Furthermore, adopting a “student mentality” will be the norm. Meaning, self-growth in continued education, wether on your own or within the confines of an educational institution, will be necessary to maintain continued success. In a recent article by Katia Colucci with The International Council of Communication Design, she states, “According to some experts the current half-life of personal knowledge is five years. In other words, in five years, half of our personal knowledge will be outdated. This means that to be competitive in future professional environments, we need to renew our knowledge by investing in continuous education.”

Slaying the creative chameleon has always been the challenge of graphic artists. Being unique and standing out from your surroundings is heresy to the existance of the chameleon. In contrast, it is essential to the survival of the designer. The term “cliche’ “ will now be applied to new technologies and how we use them to communicate in a transparent world.

To find out more about the future of graphic design, visit AIGA, AdobeThe Bureau of Labor Statistics or contact Bruce Stanley, Graphic Design Coordinator, Nossi College of Art.