Coming to an End

Well just one more week of class then finals, spring break and on to my final quarter at UCC.  This quarter I will be carrying 15 credits.  All but one are design type classes – two online and three in class.  It will be a hard quarter but an exciting one too.  A mix of emotions after three years of balancing home life, family, work and studies, the struggles and the headaches, and the joys and pain.  I couldn’t have done it without the help and support of my family, instructors and fellow classmates.

To my family:

My Equator…The Center Of The World

© Jackie D. Karp
You are the meaning of strength
at its highest peak.
You have courage
when the rest of us are weak.
You inspire me
to live for the now.
And to never give up
Because you don’t know how.
I’ve learned from you
why family comes first.
its because when you need them,
they’re there when you hurt.
No matter the pain
It all hurts the same.
And family you can count on
to always remain.
When the road gets rocky
you seem to take each bump
and walk over them smoothly
hump after hump.
You have no idea
about the affect you’ve made
and with the lessons I’ve learned
my life’s made a change.
Not just a change, also a growth.

To my instructors:

Imparter of Knowledge

Teacher and advisor
Counselor and friend
Imparter of knowledge
Which never has an end.
All these things you were to me
And I am thankful to this day.
I have now succeeded
And you helped show me the way.

To my fellow classmates:

Define Yourself

Author: Karen Mortensen
You are a part of all that surrounds you.
Celebrate your connection to life as you step into the future.
Your abilities can take you to the top,
but it is your character that will keep you there.
Build your character well for it is the foundation of your being.
The adversities you will face will not build your character
– they will reveal it.
Unlock your potential.
Every moment has a hidden gift.
Discover. Dream.
You will create your tomorrows by what you dream today.
Dreams are the touchstones of your character.
Imagine the unimaginable.
This is your time. This is your life.
Seize the moment. Delight in your (time).
Life is your canvas and no one can paint it but you.
Inside you is the key to everything you can imagine and more.
Learn from yesterday, live for today.
You are the hope for tomorrow.
Congratulations on your graduation!

Vita, Artist Statment and such

I have spent the last few weeks creating a Vita, revising my Artist Statement and updating my Resume.  You would think that being this close to graduation I would have a better understanding of who I am as a graphic designer.  I do, but I feel as if I have only just begun to scratch the surface of who Sandra Riley really is as a graphic designer, which is why I have labeled myself “…an artist in design.”

I love going to school and the challenge of thinking outside of the box.   I am a bit sad to see this journey end, however looking forward to the next journey.  I have to admit a bit nervous though.  Do you ever wonder, what if….   What if they don’t see what my instructors have seen?  What if I can’t do it in the real world?   What if….what if?!  Funny how we will second guess ourselves.

I may not know exactly who I am as a graphic designer, but I do know that I have received excellent instructions from some very knowledgeable and inspiring Instructors, completed a ton of projects under some very strenuous circumstances, have worked with a team of amazing and talented students, and am now aware of numerous resources to further develop my skills.

Although I may still have some things to figure out, I am excited for the future and all that it brings.  How about you?

Seeing With New Eyes

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscape but in having new eyes.”  Marcel Proust

John Paul Caponigro combines his background in painting with traditional and alternative photographic processes using the digital platform.  He asks himself a series of questions when he finds himself photographing at locations where many have been before him.  Although he is speaking of photography, these questions can be applied to graphic design as well as any other art.

  • What’s been done before?
  • What made it work?
  • How could it be improved?
  • What hasn’t been done before?
  • How have things changed since that work was done?
  • What could be done to reflect that change?
  • What’s unique about this moment?
  • How many ways could that be made clear in images?
  • What’s special about my perspective?
  • How many ways can I make that strongly felt?

The right set of questions can help generate many ideas as well as guide and focus your work.  You may read the entire article and more at   Seeing With New Eyes.

Mind Mapping

Mind mapping is a way to express ideas and concepts graphically. It is a visual tool that helps structure information in a way that helps you analyze, comprehend, synthesize, recall and generate new ideas.  The power of mind mapping is in the simplicity, the color and how fun it is.  Mind mapping engages your brain in a richer way since it is an activity that is analytical and artistic.  Mind mapping can clarify your thinking in just about anything and can be used for:

  • Note taking
  • Brainstorming
  • Problem solving
  • Studying and memorization
  • Planning
  • Researching and consolidating information
  • Presenting information
  • Gaining insight on complex subjects
  • Jogging your creativity

Here is an example of a mind  map on “Having enough time to do it all”.

What is a Graphic Designer?

When I tell people I am going to school to become a Graphic Designer, they almost always ask what is that or what will you do with that.  Well below is a great explanation of what a Graphic Designer is and does.  The following information came from

Graphic designers—or graphic artists—plan, analyze, and create visual solutions to communications problems. They find the most effective way to get messages across in print and electronic media using color, type, illustration, photography, animation, and various print and layout techniques. Graphic designers develop the overall layout and production design of magazines, newspapers, journals, corporate reports, and other publications. They also produce promotional displays, packaging, and marketing brochures for products and services, design distinctive logos for products and businesses, and develop signs and signage systems—called environmental graphics—for business and government. An increasing number of graphic designers also develop material for Internet Web pages, interactive media, and multimedia projects. Graphic designers also may produce the credits that appear before and after television programs and movies.

Graphic designers determine the needs of the client, the message the design should portray, and its appeal to customers or users. Designers consider cognitive, cultural, physical, and social factors in planning and executing designs for the target audience. Designers gather relevant information by meeting with clients, creative or art directors, and by performing their own research. Identifying the needs of consumers is becoming increasingly important for graphic designers as they continue to develop corporate communication strategies in addition to creating designs and layouts.

Graphic designers prepare sketches or layouts—by hand or with the aid of a computer—to illustrate their vision for the design. They select colors, sound, artwork, photography, animation, style of type, and other visual elements for the design. Designers also select the size and arrangement of the different elements on the page or screen. They may create graphs and charts from data for use in publications, and they often consult with copywriters on any text that accompanies the design. Designers then present the completed design to their clients or art or creative director for approval. In printing and publishing firms, graphic designers also may assist the printers by selecting the type of paper and ink for the publication and reviewing the mock-up design for errors before final publication.

Designers who run their own businesses also devote considerable time to developing new business contacts, choosing equipment, and performing administrative tasks.  The need for up-to-date computer and communications equipment is an ongoing consideration for graphic designers.

In addition to postsecondary training in graphic design, creativity, communication, and problem-solving skills are crucial. Graphic designers must be creative and able to communicate their ideas visually, verbally, and in writing. They also must have an eye for details. Designers show employers these traits by putting together a portfolio—a collection of examples of a person’s best work. A good portfolio often is the deciding factor in getting a job.

Because consumer tastes can change fairly quickly, designers also need to be well read, open to new ideas and influences, and quick to react to changing trends. The abilities to work independently and under pressure are equally important traits. People in this field need self-discipline to start projects on their own, to budget their time, and to meet deadlines and production schedules. Good business sense and sales ability also are important, especially for those who freelance or run their own firms.

Where do you find your inspiration?

“Encourage your child to appreciate the inspiration that surrounds him. Marvel at the power of the wind, the immensity of the ocean, the perfection of a snowflake, the night sky, or the rugged beauty of a mountain range.”  Brenda Nixon.

The above quote was written to adults to inspire the children around them however applies to all of us.  Inspiration is all around us.  By keeping our eyes and mind open at every possible source we are less likely to miss those beautiful moments.

This morning I received a call from my daughter, Amber, asking me if I had seen her most recent blog post.  (Yes, my daughter is a blogger.)  I hadn’t so I immediately logged on to find her post from yesterday titled “The ‘D’ Word.  In this blog, my daughter speaks of dealing with depression.   “I struggled with posting this mainly because I wanted to be strong enough on my own. I wanted to believe that I could get through this time without being depressed or needing medication.”  She continues, “…it is [easy] to become completely and totally consumed by depression if you aren’t willing to admit there is a problem. That becomes even more likely for folks who think that depression is a sign of weakness.”

To see  this in writing tugged at my heart. But I know she will be o.k, better than o.k.!  My daughter is an amazing young lady.   She’s very outgoing, optimistic and an encourager to everyone around her.   Even during her darkest times she continues to stand firm in her faith, finds strength to continue on, and reaches out to others.  Her transparency in hopes to help just one person is an inspiration to me.

If you struggle with depression or know of someone  that does check out her blog at Heat Escapes

The very same day my daughter posted her blog I found a note in the bathroom at school.   On the  front  it read “Hey!  Listen”  with two arrows pointing to the bottom.  On the inside bottom it read “You are not alone. You are loved.  You are amazing!” and on the inside top it read “pierce the darkness 2012 Jan 17“.   I found myself smiling and wanting to know more.  When I got home I googled it and found that pierce the darkness is a world wide event to “…make someone smile, give them hope, encouragement…and pierce the darkness that has overcome our world.”  A source of light by doing simple things that help others.

What an awesome idea and how interesting that these two things would come to me on the same day.  Check it out if you are interested in helping

Just two examples of where I find my inspiration.  So where do you find yours?

Hello world!

Hi, my name is Sandra, welcome to my blog.  This is my first attempt at blogging and to be honest I have started this as a requirement for a class.  Although I have read and enjoyed a variety of blogs, blogging just wasn’t something I wanted to do.  This particular blog will be based around my portfolio and the work that will go into it.  I will also include some of the steps leading up to my work.  I will be blogging at least once a week for the next 8 weeks and after that… well who knows.  I hope to learn some things along the way about my work and myself.  If you  happened to find my blog, well I hope you will follow along.  I think it will be fun.