A Graphic Designer’s Guide to Designing & Projecting a Professional Image

Carol Woodruff, from the Career Center.


It’s More Than Design

• Design Talent + Professionalism

• As a designer you will be a key partner or collaborator who can help the client, agency, department, etc. meet professional goals.

• “You’re not a monkey with a pencil”-you are a partner and they need to know that you GET IT.


Components of Professionalism

• Branding: designing the image you want to project

• Appearance

• Professional Savvy

• Communication Skills (Speaking by Phone, Person, Skype, Writing, E-mail, Web, & Networking)



• Business Attire

• Hair, Nails, Teeth, Tattoos

• Hygiene

• Be perceived as a collaborator and a design-DON’T shock people and distract people with your appearance; Instead, attract them with your work and look as professional as possible when presenting it.


Professional Savvy

• Dress the part

• Think of yourself as a PARTNER

• Meet and greet with confidence

• Listen well (Hear beneath what they’re saying and get to the context of what they really want)

• Understand the client’s goal

• Take critical comments with grace


Communication Skills

• Approachable

• Listen Well

• Develop the ability to discuss your ideas and work in a compelling and understandable manner

• Don’t hang with the slang: Use proper English

• Use field terminology when appropriate

• Look people in the eye when you speak with them

• Unplug yourself

• Answering message

• Email Address

• Email as a formal mode of communication


The Ultimate Skill

• Networking (Face to face): making contacts with all types of people (your sphere and their sphere) to forward your professional career and also to be able to provide assistance to someone else

• Know how to give a correct, firm, and professional handshake (very important in face to face networking)

• Elevator speech: talk of your credentials and what you did during your school time


No Need To Wait


• Targeted

• One page

• Error Free

• Attractive but not over-designed


• Research Company

• Anticipate and prepare for questions

• Power Greeting

• What to Expect

• What to Wear


HD Project Progress…

After narrowing down our main concept for our Health Disparities project, Lizzie and I have made PROGRESS.

We both decided we are going to create 3 posters each, which share the same common theme, message, and approach.


Here are the three “Funny Lies We Tell Ourselves” I am portraying in my posters:

• “That workout deserves a reward…with whip cream…and chocolate.”

• “On vacation, calories don’t exist.”

• “If you eat it with your fingers…it doesn’t count.”

All 3 are being portrayed with a pop art approach: that is including the color choices and the portrayal of the girl characters, as well.

I’m pulling inspiration from Lichtenstein, however I am not copying the characters from his work; I’m manipulating them in a way that they are my own creation. They are utilized in a sense that helps communicate the chosen theme.


I spent my time today really focusing on the illustrations.

I am aiming to have them complete by tomorrow so I can scan them onto the computer, make them digital, and start adding color, as well as finalizing the layout with typography, etc.

For right now, the size of my posters are 11×17 and are vertical. Lizzie taking on the horizontal layout.


Oh! And we finally did narrow down which programs/locations we are advertising on our posters.

It’s a “Here’s the first step in taking control of your health” kind of tool addition.

The Student Rec Center (both Fall/Spring and Summer hour schedules)

The Wellness Program (hosted by the Rec Center…promotes and provides great tools that are health beneficial)

Art That Really Sticks With You…

Incredible Tape Art

This a really interesting set of pictures to look at: not only as a common viewer, but as a designer.

It’s a REALLY great reminder that magnificent design and creation can come from the most unexpected ideas or mediums.

Designers and artists should always remind themselves that just because it is strange and hasn’t been done before, it doesn’t mean it can’t be wonderfully creative and brilliant.

Always strive to think outside of the box, and always strive to be different.

If not, then you’re…just…the same as everyone else.

And what’s memorable about that?

National Geographic: Titanic Cover

Happy Birthday to meeeeee! I love this day 😉

Okay, back to design.

Today I wanted to publish a picture of National Geographic’s new April 2012 cover. It’s not only starring a topic that I’ve always found immensely interesting (the Titanic…WHICH is coming up on its 100th anniversary in April…probably an appropriate cover then), but it also, in my opinion, is very strongly designed. In terms of the graphic, I think it is extremely well placed and developed as it DEFINITELY tells a tragic story and depicts a very scary reality. I LOVE the breaking of the border; it really creates a dynamic composition and it doesn’t feel so stuffed in a traditional rectangle. This break of border is also repeated in the fill of the actual water, which stretches across the top as if the entire page were immersed in the ocean. In reference to the type at the top of the page…I think there is too much. However, I’m not sure how they could even avoid that because there is always mandatory information that HAS to be included AND you wouldn’t want text to really interrupt with the illustration depiction. I do really enjoy the type placed behind the Titanic; although they are partly covered, it is still evident of what it says…especially due to the popularity of the subject. One thing I’m not really fond of…is the yellow border. It’s thick…bright…and it kind of interrupts the overall attitude of the Titanic depiction. However, I guess that’s a usual addition for National Geographic Magazines. For me, it doesn’t sit well with the rest of the color scheme. Yes, it makes the cover stand out…buuutttt I think there are other colors that would have sit much better.

Overall, however, I think this is an effective design and I’m very impressed by the depiction and the handling of the composition.

HD Project Process

Lizzie and I have been brainstorming more about our health disparities project.

We’ve narrowed our ideas down to one common theme:

“The Funny Nutritional Lies We Tell Ourselves”

It’s a way to not only provide a laugh, but give a reality smack to people and let them confront these weird excuses that they THINK hold any amount of truth.

Although health disparities aren’t funny, it’s important to look at our audience: College students. We are drawn to light-hearted things and, in a sense, shut down when things get too serious. In a way, we’re the ones that think we’re invincible…telling people, “YOU’RE GONNA DIE IF YOU EAT THAT” might just cause some people to shrug it off or ignore it. It’s something I’m guilty of. Besides…they’re posters. If I saw a poster that said I wasn’t being healthy or making the right choices, I’d say, “THAT POSTER DON’T KNOW ME!!” Maybe with a little better grammar, but definitely around that concept.

So here’s our plan:

Examine and display those nutritional lies we continuously tell ourselves.

Partner that with some REAL facts (short and too the point).

And then accompany it all with another common theme: MAKE TIME FOR YOUR HEALTH, while providing the hours to the Student REC center, Nutritional center, etc. We want to make sure we can accompany our posters with ways in which people can take control of their lives and beat those excuses.

The style? We’re thinking…pop art. It’s colorful, it’s noticeable, and it won’t get lost within the MILLIONS of posters hung around campus…or at least we hope not.


Common excuses.

Well…funny or naiive common excuses.

*”If I put a lot of lettuce and tomatoes on my triple cheeseburger, they’ll essentially cancel out the calories.”

“Dark chocolate is healthfood.”

“If you eat it with your fingers, it doesn’t count.”

“If a cookie is broken…all the calories leak out.”

“Eating while standing burns off calories faster.”

“What do you MEAN there’s no such thing as a Cook Out diet?”

*”I’m on vacay…I left all the calories at home.”

“My daydreams of being skinny always get interrupted by the sound of my chewing” -ee

*”A great workout deserves a great reward…with chocolate…and whip cream.”


Ok, I’ll continue my search for some more later.

We’ve definitely gotten to a great foundation for the project.

Next up: artifact for Monday’s class!

Beginner’s Guide to Pairing Fonts


Typography is important.

And should remain important for the goodness of all graphic design (in which type is utilized, of course).

Take note of these…err…notes.


And DEFINITELY these mentioned by Craig:

• Don’t combine two sans serif or two serif families together in a single layout. Helvetica and Univers will clash if combined. So will Centaur and Bodoni.

• A primary rule of thumb is that opposites attract. Combining a well-designed sans serif with a serif face will nearly always create a good and compatible pair.

• And then, avoid excess. Two over-the-top typefaces will look like a collision. A more decorative display face should be paired with a quiet, neutral and readable text face.

Rebel 55

Lizzie and I applied to be the new Editor for Rebel next year.

Wanna hear about our competition?


I’ve already mentioned them all in this post.


and I.

Sooooooooo, from what I can assume…one of us is going to be the Editor. And without a doubt, the other is going to be a designer in the Rebel team (along with 2 others of our choice).

It’s pretty exciting, nonetheless, to know that we will be involved with such an important publication at ECU. I have always dreamed of working on a magazine publication–totally spilled those beans to Keon in my first graphic design survey class. When I was little, I even created my own magazine…A, because I wanted to copy Mary-Kate & Ashley’s newest magazine publication and B, because I have always loved designing things…down to my roots. I even begged my brother to teach me HTML at 7 years old so I could practice designing web pages (including, of course, my many dog-themed random geocites and personalized website for my neopet…I know, so so professional). BUT it does kinda show my continued curiosity and drive for design.

Whether I get the position of Editor or not, I am SO SO excited to be a part of it. It will be a great introduction to a process I’ve been DYING to be a part of since I was little.

During the interview, they did ask an interesting question that is worth jotting down.

“What would you change about Rebel?”

Obviously one of those skillfully constructed questions that really digs into your intentions, etc.

What would I change? (Or most importantly…what did I say?)

I would change the fact that it’s “under-popular.”

And I’m not talking about within the art building (almost everyone here has heard of the publication.)

I’m talking about schoolwide. The business majors…the construction, public relations, nutrition, majors…the list includes every ECU student. Rebel is a celebration of the talent that evolves from this university. It DESERVES to be way more well-known than it is. Before my interview, I mentioned to a few friends that I was hoping to become the Editor of Rebel…common response? “What’s Rebel?” As editor, I’d want to COMPLETELY demolish that so-called common question. Social media definitely can be utilized and advertisement needs to go UP a million notches. Posters need to be all over campus…not just in the art building. We can’t hide within Jenkins.


And that links to the promoting topic I had discussed in my previous post about Kony 2012. Popularity for that was spread so quickly and so much support was gained within an hour–why can’t Rebel do the same?


Wish Lizzie and I good luck!

The competition is tough 😉

Kony 2012

KONY 2012 | Invisible Children Film Campaign

The video posted is SUCH a moving 30 minute campaign to watch. Please take time to watch it and spread the knowledge of this horrible situation happening in our world across seas. It’s essential to note that just because it’s not happening in the United States does not make it any less important…or any less real. The people of the United States are so, so fortunate to be given the lives and benefits that we sometimes take for granted every day. We didn’t choose this life…just like the people who are being affected by the LRA did not choose that suffering in their life.


I posted quickly about this topic and then did some more research and found this blog entry (http://visiblechildren.tumblr.com/post/18890947431/we-got-trouble)…which critically looks at the KONY 2012 project done by Invisible Children. Nonethless, my blog post is still relevant in the fact that spreading knowledge CAN be power. I’m just a little indifferent about the Invisible Children program, now…I guess more research should be done before I make a final opinion.


I wanted to post this video not only because it is important to spread…but also because it links to our health disparities project. I definitely do not want to sound insulting while linking nutrition accessibility, etc. to a mass murdering, selfish, manipulating killer of a man…but it is powerful to see their strategy to distribute this information and give people the knowledge they have been lacking. It made me think…Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, and all of the blogs available (plus a million other resources) give us the technology and opportunity to spread the word about different issues and get more people involved in supporting the cause. Not only that, the people of this campaign have used design (with their posters, etc.) to make that knowledge more easily “spreadable”…they’ve designed graphics, posters, bracelets, etc. all for raising awareness…and they’ve been VERY successful.

I used to think that this issue of nutritional problems was a HUGE issue…and it still is…however we have larger technology connections that completely triumph whatever obstacles stand in  our way when fighting a cause. These people posted a video on Youtube 2 days ago and, already, over 4 million (and counting) people have viewed it, and even more are posting/sharing the exact same video campaign on Facebook, Twitter, and blogs like this one. We have the opportunity to tackle large issues like certain health disparities because technology has made it quite convenient to do so and gain support at the same time.

I still want to stick with my health disparities project plan with Lizzie and design posters that we can hang around ECU, because ultimately, knowledge of the issue has to be distributed.

It’s nice to be reminded, however, that the world is willing to stand together and listen when a major issue is presented.

First priority: get ECU to listen.


Advertisements and Visual Illusions

Amusing Planet | Creative Advertisements On Buildings

Love, love, LOVE these examples. So cool and definitely captivating in their visual sense.

I think the important thing to get from these is that they get people talking about what they’re representing (the brand, product, etc.) If they looked like just any other poster or billboard advertisement, maybe some people would just look right past them.

Made me think…maybe that’s how these Health Disparities posters should be designed. I have seen A TON of posters hung around ECU and yet I…couldn’t list a single one because I don’t remember them. And, then again, I would remember them after sitting through hours of numerous classes and the bus ride home. Ohhhh, and don’t get me STARTED about the people who hand things out in front of Dowdy to passerbyers…(**ON THAT NOTE, don’t give me anything. I don’t want it. I don’t have enough hands, anyways, to hold anything else.)

ECU students need something else to get their attention.


And that’ll need a graphic designer.