Sunday, August 26, 2012

digital by design

My high school aspiration was to become a graphic designer. I played with Adobe PageMaker a lot and tried my hand through our high school newspaper and yearbook. Interning at a design firm taught me the importance of knowing WHY. Why this color, that font, these columns. Nothing frivolous, as our supervisors would certainly demand the rationale behind a chosen arrangement of elements.

I thought I could practice graphic design within advertising, my college focus. As an ad agency intern, however, I learned that agency art direction is pretty different, more about impact than typography or color theory. It was not the kind of design I wanted to practice, yet I have spent the last five years in this industry.

My advertising focus has been digital marketing. Our work must not only disrupt, but educate, guide and lead to action. As a strategic planner, I feel that this discipline marries the creative function of divergent thinking to find new solutions while directing communication toward an end-goal achievement or “conversion.” This is something I thankfully get to practice and teach everyday. I see my team as a stealthy group of Information Designers who set directions that steer our creative output not toward (just) flash or attention, but usability, clarity, relevance and function.

It may sound like I sacrificed my design dreams by staying in advertising, but it is has become clear over the years that what I enjoyed most about graphic design was its problem-solving focus through directed creativity. I may not be practicing the way I originally projected but I am realizing my design aspirations in ways I never expected.


That was the autobiographical statement in my application to Parsons School of Design Strategies. Though the school's equity is founded in fashion (thank you, Project Runway), its offerings span a holistic design expertise including Architecture, Urban and Environmental design, Interiors and Product Design.

A new offering: Business Design, specifically for those in the design and creative industries.

I have been looking for my next educational venture since completing a Digital Marketing certificate at New York University. It felt like it was time to move from mechanical (the how's) into conceptual thinking (the why's) to figure out the principles that drive not just the digital space but digital business. It comes at a great time, as it looks like most ad agencies are doing various forms of restructuring in order to "integrate" with, around, and through the new media landscape. Maybe this way I'll find some ideas about the best way to do that.

Class starts this week, hopefully, if I can submit all my records so that they will finally allow me to pick my classes. I've come across so many new questions about our work in the last few years and this should be one way to formulate a few answers. Am very excited!

Here we go.


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