Whether you are a Graphic Design student looking for potential employment opportunities or an employer looking for inters, the subject of whether applicants should carry a physical or digital portfolio is a hot topic in the industry. There are benefits and disadvantages to having either, therefore most people say that you should have both. There are a lot of opinions shared about this subject, so this research project will examine both sides of the argument as well as express opinions on the matter.
Jessica Hische serves as a huge inspiration to me as a designer, someone who I look towards for creative direction. I would describe my personal design aesthetic as simple, feminine, soft and minimalist. I appreciate Jessica’s talent for hand-type and ability to create something amazing out of a simple letter. Her attention to detail and creative imagination is both fascinating and encouraging. Coming out of university, it is always a worry graduating with a creative degree because of the job market (see number 12). However, it is always so inspiring seeing a designer such as Jessica who started at the same exact place I am at today. This gives me hope that I will one day be half the designer that she is.
A group of designers called The Society of Design feel the same way that I do about Jessica. However, they have taken their appreciation to a whole other level. SOD, or The Society of Design, is a 501(c)(3) charitable non-profit organization dedicated to multidisciplinary design education and community service. The organization provides opportunities specifically pertaining to the discourse of design while providing inspiration to its members and the general public through an annual speakers series, tours, exhibits, and other initiatives.The organization is also committed to serving the community and participating in fundraising efforts to support other non-profits.
SOD started a social action project called “Inviting Hische” in order to convince Jessica to come speak for them at an event. For this project, the designers came up with an unorthodox invitation that would be too large to be sent in the mail. The designers found 27 people agreeing to change their license plates so that, when put together, they would spell out an invitation to Jessica asking her to speak at a SOD event in Pennsylvania. Responding through a tweet, Jessica accepted the invitation and spoke at a SOD event. I find this very interesting because my favorite part about it is how SOD came up with such a creative way to ask Jessica, rather than just a letter in the mail or an email. It shows that anything is possible because while creating the license plates, four of them were turned away because individually, they spelt something that was deemed inappropriate. The designers overcame that problem by re-writing the entire invitation to fit on the exact same number of license plates. This also shows the nature of the design field, we are paid to solve communication problems effectively while maintaining an overall pleasing aesthetic.
In the videos I have chosen to include in my discourse, since I am profiling a current, living artist, most of the videos are categorized as interview or documentary style films. These videos profile Jessica’s work as well as give us background information about Jessica herself. Through the analyzation of Porter’s five topois of delivery, these videos may be analyzed in the following categories; Body/Identity, Distribution/Circulation, Access/Accessibility, Interaction and Economics. In this article, Porter explains a framework for digital delivery and the essential components or chief features of the theory. These examples express the style of rhetorical delivery.
In the videos that I pulled, they are mostly interview style. Therefore, the body/identity role is very prominent and important. Jessica is very friendly and open, so her oral delivery is more comfortable and informal rather than a strict, corporate style interview. Pathos is very evident while she’s speaking to the camera, you can see her passion and love for her work through her words. She talks about how typography is what she wants to do in life and how she could never see herself doing anything else. She also relates it to how it has brought her to different places that have changed her life, bringing in even more pathos. Ethos is also evident in the videos when she talks about where she has gone to school, her history and awards that she has won for her work as well. This builds her credibility as a designer.
With regards to the digital distribution of the videos, it is evident that Jessica’s fans help distribute her videos and share them with others because it also exposes her work to more and more people, which is essential in the Graphic Design industry. For example, in one of the videos a group of designers called SOD, or Society of Design, created a campaign to get Jessica’s attention and ask her to speak to them about her work and type in general. The group decided to find 27 people willing to change their license plates to spell out an invitation to Jessica, asking her to speak at an event for them. This immediately caught Jessica’s attention, considering it is well designed, well thought out and planned as well as quite extreme in measures.
When it comes to accessibility, it is a huge struggle for Graphic Design students on a budget. It is arguably the most expensive major, we are constantly having to physically create projects and without spending the big bucks, your design will fall behind and you will receive a bad grade. This relates to the price of the nice paper to print your hours of work on, the more expensive ink and printing opportunities, the better your project will look. This also relates to Jessica in the aspect that she obviously spends the extra dollar to use more user friendly programs, better pens to trace with and proper ink that doesn’t blotch. It is not only about the money, it is also about being rich in time as well. The more time an artist spends on a project, the better it looks as well. The production is cleaner, there are less mistakes and the quality is overall of a higher variety.
Interactive design is huge in the design industry, it is a big attraction on a resume. Like web design, interactive design is a technical art that few can actually perfect. Interactive design is a fusion of design and computer science. Similar to the act of coding for iPhone apps, interactive design requires coding and understanding the right placement in the layout. It makes devices useful, fun and efficient. Jessica Hische offers a form of interactive design, she hosts a class online through Skill Share to teach average artists like myself to hand letter. Skill Share classes revolve around completing a project and collaborating with fellow students to give and get feedback on their work. Students use Video Lessons and the Project Guide designed by a teacher to complete the class project.
Economics are key in my discourse, even more specifically, for artists like Jessica Hische. This is because it is the foundation of the rhetoric tool, ethos. When Jessica proves to her followers that she is creating with a purpose, it shows to her consumers that she actually cares about what she puts out there, its not just a hobby. Her friendly nature and personable interviews bring the viewers in and makes them feel that her work is more accessible and more relatable. Designing with a purpose is also important because Graphic Design is communication problem solving. When assigned a project, there is a problem at hand and a designer must communicate a solution in the most effective way possible.
Jessica Hische, a Brooklyn native and professional illustrator and letterer, serves as a huge inspiration for me. She is most well-known for her “Daily Drop Cap“, a project where she hand-lettered an illustrative capital letter of the alphabet almost everyday for over a year.
The passion first began in college when she began illustrating letters, not long after she ended up working for Louise Fili Ltd. Her pieces have been displayed in design and illustration publications both locally and internationally. She was named one of Print Magazine’s New Visual Artist (20 under 30) an ADC Young Guns and a GDUSA Person to Watch. Now, she hosts online classes to teach fellow designers the art of hand lettering.
In my Graphic Design class, we were given an assignment to profile a typographer that we are inspired by. I designed a magazine cover and two spreads that was inspired by Hische’s design style. Through this project, I was exposed to her highly illustrative and whimsical yet classic designs. My design style is quite feminine, as is hers, so she is really a huge inspiration when I am thinking about typography in my design work. When researching Hische for my paper in my Graphic Design class, I was shocked to see that she didn’t have a wikipedia page. So, for my wiki project, I am going to collaborate with my peer and fellow designer Danica Hays to create a wikipedia page for Jessica Hische.
The top search when typing in ‘Jessica Hische’ into google is ‘Jessica Hische Bio’, this is a sign that people want to learn more about her, so this wikipedia page would serve as a resource for people to find out more information about her. She deserves to have her work featured on wikipedia and let other wiki users be exposed to her world of lettering and illustration.
In the Graphic Design industry, connections are a very important aspect when acquiring jobs and collaborating with other artists. Who you know and who you have worked for can definitely shape how your portfolio and resume are viewed. When an artist is looking for a job, has had no work experience and their portfolio is stellar, they are more likely to be hired than someone who has worked for the biggest design firms but has a weak portfolio, it is all about creative potential. Creative potential and the way that you brand yourself is how you measure your success as a designer. There are many different organizations and interfaces that designers may meet and connect through. These include, but are not limited to, AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts), Facebook, LinkedIn, Behance, etc. Designers heavily rely on the connectivity of these programs to get their work exposed and respected, as well as the younger generation of designers to network themselves in the professional world. Designers also use the online community to share their work as well, usually they will have their own websites that they have designed and then post their work on there. Through the use of social sites such as Facebook and Behance, they will post a link of their work from their website, therefore if potential employers like what they see, they may click on the link to the designer’s website to see more work from that specific designer. This also ties in the idea of hypertextuality, through the use of pictures of ones work on a website, it may link to another website to see an online portfolio from that artist. This is a main reason why artists use their own websites to post their work on, because it is a way of containing their work on one platform, therefore it is a pure representation of themselves on a single interface. This is also an example of the evolution of technology, before an artist would have to either mail their portfolio or show up in person carrying a portfolio, but now it is as easy as forwarding a URL to one’s portfolio site that a potential employer may look at at their own leisure. During that time, the potential employer may also look at the site on the go, like on an iPad or their mobile phone. The act of being able to adjust on mobile devices is a key feature for websites these days, taking this into consideration will also impress other designers as it shows you pay close attention to detail and keep up to date with today’s technology. It is very important to be constantly connected with the Graphic Design community, not only to maintain current professional relationships but also keep up to date with the current programs, techniques, styles and technology. Many popular sites, such as Pinterest and Facebook, have certain groups or categories where design is praised and shared as well. For example, on Facebook you may join, create and administrate groups that cater to interests and hobbies of many different users. Personally, I am a part of the Chapman University Graphic Design Club group on Facebook because it is a great way to share cool articles, new fonts, Graphic Design news and discuss topics related to Graphic Design.
This is also a great tool to connect with other designers and fellow students as well. If I am ever struggling to find a certain type of paper or need ideas on what box template to use in my packaging class, I can simply post on the group and fellow, educated designers and professors can help me solve the problem. Pinterest is also a good example of interfaces relating to the Graphic Design Community. Pinterest categorizes links to websites and pictures to relate to certain interests.
Users may then “repin” them onto their own “boards” on their profile. One of those categories that may be found on Pinterest is “Design”. On this section of the website, other Pinterest members that share interests in design may post and share engaging articles and design pieces on the interface. Personally, I have posted my own design work on Pinterest to see if I could gain exposure by getting “repined” and noticed by other designers in the Pinterest community. This is important as a designer when looking for internships and getting your name out there, because the more people who have heard of you and seen your work, the more people that appreciate your designs, the better. The design world is so competitive, but through the use of social networking and artistic interfaces, designers may develop more professional relationships and share their work in order to gain more exposure and embark on potential employment opportunities.
In the Graphic Design industry, there are many mediums and career paths that a designer may follow. This includes, but is not limited to; packaging, web design, branding, print and advertising. There are basic ground rules and regulations that a designer follows no matter what medium they are working in, but it is no secret that there is a population of designers that stretch these limitations. This break from the norm can be seen in different shapes or forms, but one of the most popular techniques is in advertising, specifically Shock Advertising. Shock advertising, or Shockvertising, is a type of advertising generally regarded as one that “deliberately, rather than inadvertently, startles and offends its audience by violating norms for social values and personal ideals.” Shock Advertising comes in the form of commercials, print ads, billboards or guerrilla marketing. The end goal of a Shock Advertising campaign is to trigger a reaction from the audience, initiate a call to action.
An example of Shock Advertising in the form of guerrilla marketing was created by the UK marketing company, Leo Burnett. In order to try to raise awareness about the harms of drunk driving, mirrors were placed throughout bathrooms in pubs across the UK. While men were washing their hands or grooming themselves, the mirror randomly shatters and a bloody face appears as if someone had been thrown through a windshield in an accident. This tactic of shocking the pub goers makes sense, the men are in the pub to drink and the campaign is aimed to stop them from driving home intoxicated. But, did Leo Burnett take it too far? Is this too invasive and scarring? Or is that the point? Are these drastic measures needed in order to prove a point? I will let you develop an opinion for yourself;
This is an example of a controversial topic in Graphic Design because, with regards to the previous example, it is said that this technique is too invasive and that it may cause people to have a heart or panic attack. Personally, I would be more upset than inspired if this happened to me because I don’t need something as drastic as Leo Burnett’s technique to persuade me not to drink and drive.
Another example of Shock Advertising that is commonly seen is in print ads. These may be found in magazines, newspapers, bus stops or on billboards. A prime example of controversial Shock Advertising is a series of print ads developed at Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy by creative director Paul Briginshaw and Malcom Duffy. In these ads, there are images of people being pulled away by giant fishhooks in their cheek as the text below reads “The average smoker needs over five thousand cigarettes a year. Get unhooked”. These series of ads are to raise awareness about the dangers of smoking, that if one would start, you would be “hooked” and addicted.
Now, it has been said that this may have been taken too literally, which I agree with, although it is creative and memorable. That is the positive aspect about these Shock Advertisments, although they are very gruesome, these ads are the ones that you will remember and talk about with other people, which is what the goal of these ads are, to spread the word about the consequences of drinking and driving or smoking cigarettes. These print ads were timed to release to coincide with new year’s resolutions. Although controversial, these ads were proven to be very effective. The research, led by Dr. Ekant Veer at the University of Bath, studied 200 long term smokers when shown two different advertising techniques. One of which was the previous example, Get Unhooked, and the other a more subtle British Heart Foundation ad showing a cigarette filled with fatty deposits to show the damage smoking does to the arteries. The end result found that people who were on the verge of giving up were 22% more likely to quit after seeing the Unhooked ad than the Heart Foundation ad. One of the most effective aspects of this controversial ad campaign was the fact that the smokers could relate to the feeling of being hooked, making them want to be set free. Although the technique of Shock Advertising pushes the ethics of designers and the brand, it has been proven that they work.
A Graphic Designer is only as successful as their portfolio and client list. When applying to jobs, a designer relies heavily on their talent and skills on the computer, sometimes the interview is not even close to the top of the list. Designers are constantly using inspirations and influences to create new pieces of work, drawing a fine line between originality and design plagiarism. We strive to please our target audiences and clients, to solve communication problems effectively, to convey information in an aesthetically pleasing way and aim to persuade through the medium of print. These are some of the reasons that Graphic Design is a prime example of “techne”, the Greek root for technology and refers to the art or craft of writing. It is the “set of rules or method of making or doing, whether of the useful arts, or of the fine arts.” Similar to writing, designers get anxiety just staring at that all intimidating blank screen. The ability to produce pieces of work and solve communication problems at the same time from that blank document is an art that can only be mastered through years of practice. What designers use to produce art are of a vast variety, starting with pen and pencil, leading to multiple design applications, they may include photography or original artwork and finally the actual material or medium that they print on. All while doing this, designers must also remember visual principles and semiotics to abide by. This includes but is not limited to; color scheme, typography (kerning, leading, etc.), hierarchy, overall layout and visual cohesiveness if it is a series.
A designer’s attention to detail is very important, for example, if they are creating an ad campaign to raise awareness about obesity and use a color palette including red and yellow, it will work against them. This is because when those two colors are together, they induce hunger, which is why many popular fast food companies use these in their branding. Symbols may also alter a designer’s original intentions, for example, Seattle’s best coffee rebranded from a classic coffeehouse logo to a minimalistic, modern identity system. This was quite controversial because they were criticized for going from a warm, comforting look to something that looks very similar to a blood drive, due to the use of color and symbolism.
Keeping in mind not only the overall look as the first impression but also the fine details that could completely alter your entire message of the piece, it takes a craftsman, a rule follower and a risk taker, a designer to create the “techne” of Graphic Design.