I’ve written my third piece for Let’s Be Brief. I’m having so much fun writing for them in my spare time. Sometimes they send me a story to write and sometimes I suggest something. So far, they haven’t asked me to edit anything I’ve handed it which I find so refreshing. No censoring here.
Next week will be my last week of my five month internship with LIVESTRONG. While I really struggled at first with my role I have learned so much. While my other internships were more focused on concept generation this internship was exactly what you would expect from a ‘graphic design’ position. I spend most of my days on Adobe CS6, which I loathed in the beginning. Now, I feel really confident with my skills (and don’t have to google search tutorials so often).
Now, I’m working on my dissertation proposal since I have decided to change my topic. I plan to explore how spending more money on advertising can help the charities and causes we love. Today I emailed, LIVESTRONG CEO, Doug Ulman to see if he would have time for a small interview on the subject. Hopefully he will and I can get a great first hand resource for my dissertation!
Here is the second piece I’ve written for Let’s Be Brief. It’s been a lot of fun freelance writing for the site. They really care about my opinion and are interested in pieces with an American view point. After writing for Glass magazine (which was basically just re-wording press releases) it has been a really nice experience writing about things that interest and having an unedited voice.
Meanwhile, I am still interning at LIVESTRONG here in Austin, Texas. Living here has been such a drastic (but fun) change from living in London for the past 4 years. It’s also the first time I’ve ever lived by myself which has been really nice (except after watching a scary film). The work environment here in the U.S. is very different from London. In London, I got very used to having a few pints after work with my superiors. In the U.S., companies are a lot more worried about appearances and what is appropriate. My internship with LIVESTRONG has been a great learning experience, especially on the tech side of things. While learning how to create an in house paper system, update email graphics and set up print specs isn’t very creative it is something I need to know if I am going to be employable after uni. I mostly work on updating existing advertisements and web elements, along with the occasional event invite. None of the work I have done will be good for my portfolio but it has improved my adobe skills significantly.
I’m excited to finish up this May and my required seven months of DPS will be completed! I plan to use the month of May to write/design my DPS essay. In June, I will relax and prepare for my five week expedition to Costa Rica with Raleigh in July!
The first week of my internship was a big week for LIVESTRONG. That week, Lance Armstrong officially parted ways with the Foundation he helped build and was strikingly honest with Oprah. Since then, the LIVESTRONG FOUNDATION has undergone a major re-brand and has not stopped working for the people they support, survivors. CEO, Doug Ulman gives an accurate and honest answer to what it’s been like here at the HQ in the above video for Wall Street Journal.
While many may think this was the worst time to take an internship with LIVESTRONG, I believe it was the best time to! Not only has this ‘crisis’ shown me the strength and integrity of the Foundation, solidifying my passion for their cause, but it has given me an amazing learning opportunity. As designers, it is our job to communicate a brand’s message to a community of consumers. It’s easy to do that when a brand is beloved. It’s when times get tough and life doesn’t go according to plan that our job gets challenging -and much more fun! Being able to witness the birth of their rebrand has been a huge opportunity for me to see how a brand can not only survive, but thrive with careful and considered design. As a creative, I often want to make BIG STATEMENTS, LOUD DESIGNS and IMPACTING MOVEMENTS. Being here, I have learned that quiet and slow doesn’t have to mean boring. In fact, it is the thoughtful design that reflects LIVESTRONG’s brand values so well.
Our Voice: Michael, Volunteer & Internship Programs
This past weekend I volunteered at the LIVESTRONG Austin Marathon Expo. I helped set up our area for the Expo and I also worked the Merchandise Trailer. Spending time volunteering at the Expo was such a special experience. Not only were so many people there to complete the arduous and inspiring task of running 26.2 miles but many used the opportunity to fundraise for LIVESTRONG, joining the fight against cancer. Whether they were cancer survivors or supportive friends and family members, running for the cause they were all united by a common goal. It was awe inspiring to be a part of the marathon even if it was in such a small way.
The LIVESTRONG brand and graphics contributed to the event as a vehicle to attract supporters, both old and new. While none of my designs were used for the event, it let me see how my designs would be used for future events, how people would interact with them and how I could contribute to a better user experience.
While designing for LIVESTRONG can sometimes be frustrating, constrained by brand guidelines and a strict budget, it is ultimately so rewarding. As the daughter of a cancer survivor and someone who has been so affected, I feel so blessed to be a part of this organization and help in any small way I can.