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Biodiversity Internship Spring 2017

Throughout this semester I faced various challenges as a graphic designer for the UW Biodiversity Institute (BI). With the first task I took on, a few things I learned was to make sure all sponsors of an event are known, not to go with the first successful design, and not to spend too much time on a design. Other things included remembering to outline fonts, check spelling, making sponsor's logos larger, and printing out a proof before the final printing occurs. As I dove deeper into the semester, I started taking these things into account with each project. Sometimes I would forget to do something such as failing to check spelling and occasionally forgetting to outline fonts. I started running spell checks after I finished each day and duplicating fonts so that I had an outlined one and one with live type.

With the "Bee A High Flier" Bumble Bee project, I had finished making both the floor sticker and the poster (which took quite a bit of time). I found out a couple weeks later that the person collaborating wanted a "realistic" rendering of the bumble bees, so I spent another couple weeks making more vector graphics. I learned that, no matter what, to create scientifically-accurate graphics and drawings.

I took on an old project from one of the previous interns; The Mussel Guide. This consisted of making edits, adding and subtracting images, and adding some more content. This project lasted at least a month and a half with all the edits and proofs. I was privileged enough to go to Modern Printing and meet with Jay, who gave me a mini-tour of the facilities and presented the process of printing the mussel guides.

Before the first half of the Spring semester ended, I had to create a poster for an event called "Sense of Place." For some reason, I could not for the life of me, create a design would I like and that my supervisor would like. My mind went completely blank on this and one could see the result of this if they looked at this poster. What I learned after this conundrum was that you need to do what you think is best and that you don't HAVE to listen to requests, because they're not always necessarily better for the unity of the design. I learned to be the designer.

After returning from Spring Break, I felt refreshed and inspired. One of my supervisors had me create a poster for two different events; "Edible Plants of Wyoming" and "Wearing Wyoming Microscopic Perspectives." I went through different edible plants online and created a watercolor for this event of Ipomoea Pandurata and killed it with the serif and script type. I loved the simplicity and unity of this poster, but I found out that Ipomoea Pandurata isn't a native edible to Wyoming. The poster was approved anyways. I felt awful about this and I learned to make sure that images correspond with the event. In addition, I learned that too much is better, because then you can deal with the negative space when information is taken out and that your own artwork makes posters. The Wearing Wyoming Microscopic Perspectives poster wasn't difficult to create, because images were given to me, but the amount of options was almost overwhelming. I learned, yet again, to not give so many options to a client; just narrow down what you want them to see.

Science Cafe (SC) and a Raptor Show (RS) were coming up quickly and so I was asked to create poster for them. I had most of the SC churned out when I was told that a different organization already had a poster made. So I put this poster on hold and began work on the Raptor Show poster. A couple days after working on the RS, one of my boss's asked for the SC poster and I began to panic. So I whipped out the rest of the SC poster and sent it off. The next week my boss realized they asked for the wrong poster. Again, I whipped up a RS poster with little time to spare. With these two posters I learned to clarify everything before continuing to move on and work. With the Raptor Show poster, I learned to make sure that the photos given to you to use are okay (with the photographer) to manipulate beforehand. With the Science Cafe, I learned that it is okay to finish something that isn't needed, because it will end up expanding your own portfolio.

As the semester began to wrap up, I took on a couple more projects; the Laramie Audubon Society logo revamp, digitizing a font/logo (Bug Boot Camp), and creating the Adopt a Catchment poster. The LAS needed a logo revamp because the one they currently had was hard to read and quite pixelated. It took awhile to vectorize the entire drawing, but it was worth it. With this project, though time consuming, was not difficult. I learned, though, to not take on more than you are able to.

The Bug Boot Camp wasn't difficult at all, but I did learn that if you create a font by hand, make sure you vectorize it yourself before completing it. It will make other designer's lives easier. Finally, before the spring semester ended, I quickly finished the Adopt A Catchment poster. This was an enjoyable problem because not only was it a last-minute project, but I already had ideas flowing through my head. I created two vector-graphic lily pads and a lily pad flower. Then I used they frog silhouette from a previous poster. In the background, I had a ball with the drop shadows and creating a slight depth to the poster.

After evaluating this semester, I realized my style is very minimalistic. I, myself, tend to be claustrophobic and I believe this fear is reflected in my designs. I do not care for a busy poster unless it is well organized. Which brings me to another understanding; I love organization in general and if a design is not uniform and organized, I go crazy.

Another thing I realized is that I have to find the balance between too little and too much, because sometimes I come to a road block when working on a design. I've noticed I favor the combination of a script + san serif/serif or only the combination of different san serif's.

To see my work from Spring 2017, look at my Internship page under Design.

I am currently in the middle of my summer semester internship at the UW Biodiversity Institute and I look forward to learning more lessons.

Sierra Morrow

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