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I am a relatively new American and a graphic design student currently living in Texas.
This is a final mark for Ten Thousand Villages. During the research stage I realized that I would like to incorporate the meaning of the name and a circle into the identity mark to show the essence of the brand.

This is a final mark for Ten Thousand Villages. During the research stage I realized that I would like to incorporate the meaning of the name and a circle into the identity mark to show the essence of the brand.

BRANDING IS A PROCESS:

Branding is a pretty complex process. This semester we were assigned our clients again and I got a long named client that is working on a great humanitarian purpose of reducing poverty in poor countries, by creating a chain of stores that sell artisan crafts and arts, produced by artisans who would generally be underemployed.

I start my process with lists and mind maps, and I often highlight the words that come to ming and seem promising. By promising, I mean that they may have a potential to be expanded into a strategy. 

Then I start sketching. Its a monotonous process, when I write the name of the brand in many different ways and think of different identity marks. It is very much a deductive process, where I start with a wide array of possibilities and narrow them down to the final one.

The little O’Henry House in Austin is as cute as it can be!

The little O’Henry House in Austin is as cute as it can be!

Dream job

Aaaahh, that is even harder to write about. I am absolutely not picky. I would be happy working in a design agency with different clients and dynamic atmosphere and creative and fun people, and that would satisfy my right braininess, but at the same time, I am seriously thinking of applying to, say, Interstate Batteries, because, to be honest, working in a great company with strong moral values, with good people around has a great value and it can be even better than working in a design agency. Or I was thinking about trying to get hired as a designer at SMU or DTS. I don’t know if it is possible, but I would like to try, because they offer great working conditions. I would be happy working solo as a freelancer if I can make a decent living. I just saw a documentary about a lady who started making hand painted martini glasses and who is a millionaire now. I mean, she makes very tacky happy party wear that everyone likes and she is happy and loves what she is doing and her family is well provided for. Pretty swell if you ask me.

Now I spend soooo many years in college and have received this wonderful education, that it might be disappointing to just go work for some boring company that sells cereal. So, of course, working for a creative firm would be my first choice. I would really like to go work for Richard’s Group. They have great clients, they do different things and I think that they would be a great place to grow for me as a designer. I have met a designer that worked there for a few years, and he was one of the best designers I have met and he said great things about the company. One thing that scares me, is that I have seen a documentary on Richards’ Group and they want an absolute literacy. Even if they see a mistake in the inter-company email, they correct it promptly. So we will see, if I could get in.

In my search for a perfect job I am limited. I am limited geographically and nationally. I am married and my husband, who is very-very American has a very local business, so I don’t see myself moving. In the imaginary world, I would love to go work in England, Germany or Sweden or Singapore or even Japan. The world is big and there are great design firms all over it such as Minale Tattersfield in UK, Creaktif in France and many others. 

As my schooling is coming to the end, I have been thinking intensively about my own brand. How do I want to be perceived? How do I want to market myself? What is the most effective way?
To be honest, I haven’t figured out all the answers yet. I surely want to be perceived as a good designer, but I realize that this definition is too vague. So it is easier to start with what I know about myself and my design skills. So far I have figured out that I am pretty stubborn, and if something is not working, I try again and again, until I come up with a viable solution. I can draw well and I very much like packaging and editorial design. I am lacking skills in composition and sometimes my English seems very “immigranty”, as I am indeed an immigrant.
My values are based on the idea that no matter what I am doing, I need to strive to do the best I can. Not more, and not less. I enjoy and value my family, good design, books and horses. I love my dog and my two cats, I love traveling and discovering new things. I can be cautious but I can be a daredevil. My favorite country is Norway and I could argue that the Scandinavian design is the best! I see design as a profession where I can make an honest living while doing what I love.
The good aspects of my brand is that I am a foreigner, that I have some knowledge about different things, that I can look at Scandinavian, English, German etc. design for inspiration. I can draw type well and I can come up with good ideas. The bad aspects are what I mentioned earlier. They are writing and layouts. The only way I know of dealing with these two, are to actually write and to make layouts. I mean when you practice something for a long time, you get better at it. It was encouraging to see what Jessica Hische did in college, because I remember my first logo very well. It contained a good idea, but it was horrendously ugly. I have improved in logotype creating and I will improve in layouts and writing. The side of my personality that I don’t like, is that I am shy. Now, I am a LOT more confident now than I used to be 3-4 years ago (those who know me can imagine how horrible it was). I surely, absolutely one hundred percentadly don’t want to be perceived as shy!
I haven’t really interviewed professionally in the US yet. I know it sounds very childish, but I felt like I am not good enough and that my design is not ready. So it will be a learning experience, which I am looking forward to. I would like my brand to be quirky and fun and well designed. This is the way that I would like to be perceived. There is plenty of rationality in me, and I don’t want it to be an overpowering feeling, which is easy. I want my clients see that I have a healthy balance of both and that I can deliver according to their expectations.

As my schooling is coming to the end, I have been thinking intensively about my own brand. How do I want to be perceived? How do I want to market myself? What is the most effective way?

To be honest, I haven’t figured out all the answers yet. I surely want to be perceived as a good designer, but I realize that this definition is too vague. So it is easier to start with what I know about myself and my design skills. So far I have figured out that I am pretty stubborn, and if something is not working, I try again and again, until I come up with a viable solution. I can draw well and I very much like packaging and editorial design. I am lacking skills in composition and sometimes my English seems very “immigranty”, as I am indeed an immigrant.

My values are based on the idea that no matter what I am doing, I need to strive to do the best I can. Not more, and not less. I enjoy and value my family, good design, books and horses. I love my dog and my two cats, I love traveling and discovering new things. I can be cautious but I can be a daredevil. My favorite country is Norway and I could argue that the Scandinavian design is the best! I see design as a profession where I can make an honest living while doing what I love.

The good aspects of my brand is that I am a foreigner, that I have some knowledge about different things, that I can look at Scandinavian, English, German etc. design for inspiration. I can draw type well and I can come up with good ideas. The bad aspects are what I mentioned earlier. They are writing and layouts. The only way I know of dealing with these two, are to actually write and to make layouts. I mean when you practice something for a long time, you get better at it. It was encouraging to see what Jessica Hische did in college, because I remember my first logo very well. It contained a good idea, but it was horrendously ugly. I have improved in logotype creating and I will improve in layouts and writing. The side of my personality that I don’t like, is that I am shy. Now, I am a LOT more confident now than I used to be 3-4 years ago (those who know me can imagine how horrible it was). I surely, absolutely one hundred percentadly don’t want to be perceived as shy!

I haven’t really interviewed professionally in the US yet. I know it sounds very childish, but I felt like I am not good enough and that my design is not ready. So it will be a learning experience, which I am looking forward to. I would like my brand to be quirky and fun and well designed. This is the way that I would like to be perceived. There is plenty of rationality in me, and I don’t want it to be an overpowering feeling, which is easy. I want my clients see that I have a healthy balance of both and that I can deliver according to their expectations.

One of the very important lessons that I have learned in my life so far, is that if you want to do something right, you have got to have a plan.

Even when I am doing something relatively small and mundane, like, for example, going to the grocery store to buy food for my family for the week, I have noticed that I am far better of, if I spend a few minutes to write a plan, inspect my options and consider nutritional values. And design requires even more organized approach. To me, graphic design is defined by design process and research is the backbone of the design process that determines the end result. To put it simple, the better and the more extent the research is, the better the end result is going to be.

I usually start my research by answering questions about the company and gathering information. Sometimes, this stage may seem to be tedious, but the importance of this action should not be underestimated. I read companies’ histories, research their missions, visions and target audiences, etc., and it is all done in order to be able to pin–point the company’s specialty, it’s innate and unique value that would allow me to create a successful visual solution, to make it memorable and relevant to the company’s customers and as a result, improve business.