As we wrap up the event planning stages to begin implementing communication plans, sending out the invitations, and preparing to host the first annual Bright Idea Symposium, I reflect upon the nature of the event from conception through the planning stages, noting how effective the exchange of ideas can be when difference meets to find the common thread of interest, shared purpose and value in the bigger picture.
Founded in research by GSL faculty adviser, Dr. Tim Davidson of the Human Relations program, Bright Idea is a never-before-seen event aiming to bring graduate students from all corners of campus together for a fun and energetic Friday night, developed in collaboration with the Graduate Student Life team and Graduate Student Ambassadors, a diverse cohort of graduate students equally interested in representing and supporting the interdisciplinary graduate student body at OU. Aside from the live DJ, free wine, and hors d’oeurves, this event will be headlined by eight key presenters. All of the presenters will be current OU graduate students that will engage attendees with fast-paced presentations in four different areas: wellness, time management, money management, and balance of life. For example, a student in business might present some easy tips on forming a budget, or an art student could present some ways in which art relieves stress.
Within a large campus forum setting, we are transforming the academic lecture context into a fun, energetic, yet chill environment where students from all backgrounds can enjoy sharing their Friday evening mixing, mingling, meeting new people, and hopefully learning something new along the way. To enliven the atmosphere, we chose a festive neon color palette, incorporating show lights, and glowing neon bistro tables and chairs. And to add a touch more energy and movement throughout the dimmed space, we will distribute neon glowing bracelets and necklaces to attendees upon entry.
To brand and help market the event on campus, I began conceptualizing the visual identity with the aesthetics of neon lights, signs and glow accessories in mind. Sketching concepts based on neon signs, a coworker shared the idea of capturing the commonly identifiable style and colors of a neon Open sign to convey that we are open to new ideas. I loved this concept as it paralleled with the open sign suggestion an establishment makes when it is open to outside business, but couldn’t refuse the buzzing call of the ubiquitous light bulb symbol. Committed to the challenge of effectively merging the light bulb symbol in a fresh way with the neon Open sign and other typographical elements to work in tandem and read as a single neon sign, I am confident in chalking this one up to a success and branding the event with a single brightly lit neon sign flashing like a beacon, “Bright Idea”.
I returned last week from my second trip to Phoenix, AZ this month. The first time was to stand next to my dear friend, Angela as she united in spirit and law with her husband, George. That was a beautiful and wonderful traditional Greek wedding with a flare of modernity, but I am sickened to say, I don’t have any of my own photos from any of it.
The second trip was to attend the annual University & College Designers Association conference. It was an amazing trip. Not only did I get to spend some more quality time with my newly wed friends, but I learned a lot of useful things during the conference, met awesome people who do what I do, and even had some extra time to lounge by a couple of the 8 pools at the conference designated resort. Needless to say, the trip as a whole proved to be a very well rounded experience, leaving me inspired and rejuvenated, just as I had hoped.
When I find more time, I’ll write in greater detail about some of the things I took away from the conference and the trip as a whole. In the meantime, I’ll let the photos do the talking.
When I started this blog in 2008, one of the first subjects I wrote about was my taste and what I am attracted to as compared to what I create and how different they are. I noted that I felt it was just part of the process of becoming that separated the quality and aesthetic style of my work from what I am attracted to and aspire to be. Since this particular post, while my work has improved, it still is no match to my own taste. This does frustrate me quite often and at times, I question myself and my path as an artist/designer. But my passion for both leaves me no choice but to remain patient and diligent, so I try to continuously remind myself that I am still on the path of becoming or of measuring up to my own taste preferences and that as long as I remain practiced, with my goal in sight, I will, one day be what I’ve always admired in some of my favorite artists/designers.
I have never really been able to explain this whole idea very well and how I feel when I see artwork/design that is at the level that I wish my own work would be in terms of craft and execution…until today, when I came across a quote, that when read, caused an involuntary, “YES!” (with fist in air) to echo from my office. The quote was apparently said by Ira Glass from This American Life and was posted by a commenter on the Logo Design Love blog.
“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”
Thanks, Ira. And thanks to David Airey of Logo Design Love for posting on the subject. And thanks blog comment “AVL” on 8/24/2011. I appreciate the encouraging reminder that I’m not alone. My hopes and faith have been, once again, renewed so that I can keep on fighting my way through. Here’s to the journey!
My uncle, EW Greenlee is self-publishing a trilogy, The Chosen One of Allivar so he asked me to design a logo for Allivar Creative, an llc that “was created to protect all the intellectual property rights of the author”. Although he made it easier on me to design by producing a concept sketch, I helped to refine it in Illustrator and added a few embellishments.
Client Concept Sketch & My Sketches::
What I thought was so cool about his concept sketch is that he was trying to marry the A and C of Allivar Creative and by doing so, birthed an E for Edward, and completely by accident.